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Elise A. Church

1921 - 2011 Obituary Condolences
Elise A. Church Obituary
Elise A. Church, a longtime resident of Palos Verdes Peninsula, passed away after a brief illness in late March, just fifteen days shy of her 90th birthday. She lived in Palos Verdes for over 46 years and in California since the late 1940s. Elise was born in Kweiteh, Honan, China on April 10, 1921 to Einar and Mathilde Andreassen, medical missionaries for the Lutheran Free Church who were charged with constructing and operating a hospital in the Honan province. Joined 18 months later by her younger brother Rolf, Elise spent her first five years in China. The two children were equally at home speaking Chinese and English, and were cared for by Chinese Amahs. The family returned to the US in June 1926, and lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the remainder of her childhood. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1943 with a BS degree in medical technology. Her first professional job was in Chicago and before long the climate and culture of Southern California beckoned. She continued her medical technology career in California, where she met a young, dashing aeronautical engineer, Stan Church, also from Minnesota. They were married in July 1951, the start of an incredible lifelong partnership which lasted 56 years. Their two daughters were adopted while they lived in Long Beach, and Elise took time off from her career to take care of them. As Stan's career in aerospace progressed at both Douglas Aircraft (now Boeing) and Northrop Aircraft Co (now Northrop Grumman), the family moved several times within California, finally settling in Palos Verdes in 1965 where they designed and built their dream house. Elise then rejoined the workforce, working at Little Company of Mary for many years in the clinical laboratory. Elise lived a very active and engaged life throughout her 89+ years. She was a member of Schola Cantorum at Long Beach City College, served as chairman of combined arts of the American Association of University Women and was president of Symphony Juniors. Once in Palos Verdes she became an active member of Los Cancioneros Master Chorale. A longtime member of the League of Women Voters, she served as vice president of programs for many years, representing her chapter at the national convention in 1964. She was recently recognized for over 50 years of membership in the league. Both she and Stan were avid skiers and sailors, purchasing their first boat as a Christmas present in 1961. Members of the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club since the early 1960s, the pair raced their Lido as frequently as possible well into their 80s, rarely missing an opportunity to sail. After retirement, she and Stan traveled extensively visiting the China of her childhood, Russia, Norway and the family retreat in Minnesota at Lake Wabedo. Her love for learning never dissipated, and these trips always involved education, often under the Elderhostel umbrella. Her beloved Stan passed away in 2007. An active member of St. Peters by the Sea throughout her time in Palos Verdes, she served as deacon on several occasions, worked in the church office, and was a staunch supporter of the music program. Until her death, she remained heavily involved in the activities she was passionate about, including utilizing season tickets to the philharmonic, the League of Women Voters, and spending quality time with her family and many friends. She was a fervent Lakers fan, and watched as many games as possible, certain that this impacted the outcome. She was famous for her love of red suits, dresses and cars as well as her upbeat approach to everything. Elise was passionate about everything she did, and instilled the same love of life and sense of responsibility in both her daughters. She and Stan were powerful role models and she is deeply missed by her family. Elise Church was a loving and dedicated mother and grandmother. She is survived by her brother, Rolf; her two daughters, Andrea Church Kreisa and Catherine Church Trapp; her three grandchildren, Justin, Brandon and Kristin; and several great-grandchildren. A musical memorial service will be held to celebrate her life on June 18 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Peters by the Sea Presbyterian Church located at 6410 Palos Verdes Drive South in Rancho Palos Verdes. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the Music Ministry at St. Peters by the Sea Presbyterian Church or to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, 920 E. 28th St., Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN. 55407. Please sign the guestbook for Elise at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.

Published in Daily Breeze on June 5, 2011
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