Elaine (Kerstiens) Golonka Born December 16, 1928 in Kellogg, Idaho, Elaine entered Heaven's gates on October 22, 2013. She was the third of six children. The family, parents Karel and Nina Kerstiens (deceased), brother, Bob, sister, Dorothy (Hart, deceased), Elaine and baby brother, Bill, relocated to the Red Bluff area in the 1930's. Sister, Sherol Ann (Whitton) and brother John were born while the family resided in Tehama County. Growing up post depression era, her strength of character became clear early in life. She was raised through a childhood that was built on love, hard work, God's word, and a spirit of resilience during hard times. As a child, she was shy but spirited. That childlike innocence and wonder was a quality that was never lost. Elaine attended Cone Grove School, Mercy Academy and then Saint Joseph's Nursing School in San Francisco. Upon graduation from nursing school in 1949, her heart of compassion and caring lead her to serve those that stood for our country. Elaine entered the Army Nurse Corps in 1950, first assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas and then Letterman Army Hospital at the Presidio in San Francisco. With gentleness, empathy and respect she cared for many young wounded warriors. Elaine was united in marriage with Joseph Golonka, on July 1, 1952 at Sacred Heart Church, while home on a 10 day leave from the Army. Upon discharge from the army in 1953, she returned to Tehama County and worked at Corning Hospital and Tehama County Hospital. The couple made their home in Tehama County until 1957 when Joseph's position with the California Division of Highways required relocations throughout the stateliving in Beckworth, Redding, Desert Center, Boulevard, Alameda, Fresno and Susanville before returning to the Vina/Red Bluff area in 1978. Elaine, once again, came back to her roots and was employed by Tehama County Health Center as a nursing supervisor until her retirement in 1995. Elaine will be deeply missed by Joseph, her husband of 61 years, son David, (Teresa), daughters Ann Calista (Mike), Mari Jo Ellis (Craig), Jim Allwardt, (late daughter Jennine), 13 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She also leaves her brothers, sister, sister/brother-in-laws and numerous nieces and nephews. Her love and generosity for her family had no bounds. She possessed endless energy and always showed a special "spirit and spunk". She survived and beat lung and breast cancer. She had an attitude of kindness and compassion for those less fortunate. Her warm and caring concern and countless thoughts and deeds done for others throughout the years will surely continue to endear her to the hearts and minds of all who knew her. Elaine was a very faithful woman who prayed the rosary daily. She knew what is was like to walk through difficulties with faith and what it meant to have an authentic relationship with God. It was belief, love and family that helped her endure the last few months with her failing heart. A Rosary service will be held at 7 PM on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at Sacred Heart Church. Funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 AM, Monday December 16, 2013 at Sacred Heart Church. Graveside services will follow at St. Mary's Cemetery. Memorial donations can be made to Sacred Heart School.
Published in Daily News from Dec. 13 to Dec. 14, 2013