Elaine Ostergren - teacher, lover of music, friend of children, and beloved choir director at the Federated Church in Charlemont - died peacefully Aug. 25, 2013 in Canton, Ohio, after a long illness. She was 92.
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Elaine formerly lived at 136 West Oxbow Road, East Charlemont, Mass., the home she and her family call Pine Hill.
Elaine Anderson was born in Essex, Conn., Sept. 6, 1920, the daughter of Augusta (Lind) Anderson and Swedish immigrant Anders A. Anderson. She grew up in New York City, where she earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1940 at Hunter College and a master's degree in music education in 1942 at New York University.
During World War II, Elaine served as a communications officer in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Boston and Buffalo, N.Y. On Oct. 15, 1949, she was married to Clifford Bernard Ostergren of Portland, Conn., a veteran of the War in Europe. Elaine and Cliff started their married life in Indianapolis before returning to New England in 1955 and settling in Bedford, N.H.
Elaine's life revolved around family, church, children and music. She began her career in 1942 in Greenport, Long Island, N.Y., as a music teacher. Elaine spent 18 years as a classroom and music teacher in Bedford, N.H., where her lively stage productions received acclaim. She also directed the church choir at Bethany Covenant Church for many years.
Elaine pursued excellence in all she did. She not only taught her choirs music but inspired them to worship God with the passion she demonstrated.
In addition to having two children of her own, Elaine and Cliff provided loving care to many foster children. The couple had child-care help from Elaine's mother, who lived with the family in her later years.
Elaine and Cliff moved to Pine Hill, after their retirement in 1977. In addition to leading the choir and teaching Sunday school at the Federated Church, Elaine befriended neighbors and enjoyed oil painting and crafts. She gardened, sewed, did crossword and jigsaw puzzles and beat people at Scrabble. Each grandchild has a copy of a book of poignant and humorous vignettes Elaine wrote titled Grandma Stories.
Elaine Ostergren's survivors include daughter, Sharon Pierce and her husband Lawrence of Roanoke, Va.; son, Mark Ostergren and his wife Charla of North Canton, Ohio; grandson, Kyle Ostergren, his wife Erin, and their son, Landyn, of Stow, Ohio; grandson, Stefan Ostergren and his wife Elizabeth of Canal Fulton, Ohio; granddaughter, Anna Ostergren Furey and her husband Austin of Malvern, Ohio; granddaughter, Ingrid Pierce of Lafayette, Ind., and grandson, Caleb Pierce of Roanoke, Va. Niece, Sherry (Anderson) Coveney lives in San Francisco and sister-in-law, Janice Anderson resides in Pleasant Hill, Calif.
Elaine's father died in 1940, her mother in 1979, her husband in 2002, and her brother, Allan Anderson of Miami, Fla., in 1995. Niece, Christine Anderson, died in 1979.
There are no calling hours.
Friends are welcome to attend a brief graveside remembrance and burial at Arms Cemetery in Shelburne Falls at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31.
Gifts in memory of Elaine Ostergren may be made to the Charlemont Federated Church, 175 Main St., Charlemont, 01339.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home in Shelburne Falls.
Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home Inc
40 Church St Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Published in The Recorder on Aug. 29, 2013