Elaine Davis, 59
July 31, 2015
Elaine Davis, 59, of St. Cloud, MN passed away on July 31st after being diagnosed with cancer in January 2015. She is survived by her children: Cassie, Andrea and Mathew. Parents: Orrin and Catherine. Siblings: Gary, Tom, Tim, Mitzi, Nita, Cathy, Bill, Becky. She is preceded in death by her brothers, Russell and Dan.
One of eleven children, Elaine grew up on a farm in Lake Park, MN. She received both a B.A. in Business and an M.B.A. from St. Cloud State and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Elaine married and had Cassie 34, Andrea 31 and Matthew 27. Elaine taught at SCSU for almost 30 years. Her students describe her as intelligent and inspiring, and valued the workplace skills she passed onto them.
Elaine's biggest passion was travel. It began as a girl on the farm, pouring over an atlas, following along as older brothers traveled the world, racing to the mail box to read the National Geographic magazines. At 16, she studied abroad in Venezuela. In her life, she traveled to an astounding 80 countries. Whether it was renting an apartment in Paris for a month, riding camels in Egypt, hiking through rain forests in South America or sitting with monks in Thailand, Elaine always had an amazing story to tell.
In her 50s, Elaine added a new passion: dance. Elaine said she found her greatest joy on the dance floor. She spent thousands of hours in class and social dance events in the Twin Cities. She excelled at many types, but her favorite was West Coast Swing.
Elaine was also an author. Not only did she pen over 40 academic publications, but two books, as well. In 2005, she wrote "Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do: 80 Years of an American Farm Family". Elaine's book about her parents was a testament to her love of family, heritage and writing. Her next book, "Minnesota 13" told the history of Minnesota 13, one of the country's greatest moonshines during Prohibition. In 2014, Elaine was approached by local documentarians who wanted to create a film inspired by her book. "Minnesota 13: From Grain to Glass" was released in June 2015. The filmmakers are finishing the film for an eventual television broadcast, and will screen it at the Stearns History Museum and other historical societies around the state in 2016.
Elaine loved theatre, film and reading. In her adult life, she kept lists of what she'd seen and read--they passed 200 each year. The chance to work on the Minnesota 13 documentary was a dream come true. She planned to pursue filmmaking when she retired near her daughter, Andrea in California.
Elaine lived life on a whole other level. In her lifetime she accomplished ten times what some do. Her friends and family describe Elaine as a lover of life, generous, energetic, determined, a fearless leader and a natural storyteller. She will be dearly missed by everyone, but no more so than her three children. They will continue to honor their mother, carry on her legacy and strive to make her proud.
Elaine had a Celebration of Life in May at the Tapestry Ballroom. 200 people attended and there was a dance following the service. She didn't want a funeral, but rather an event (she could be at!) celebrating the full life she'd lead. In lieu of flowers, Elaine hoped people would consider making a tax-deductible donation to help complete "Minnesota 13: From Grain to Glass".
Independent Film Project Attn: MN 13 Doc
550 Vandalia Street,
St. Paul, MN 55114
Published in St. Cloud Times on Aug. 8, 2015.