Charleston resident Elaine Peterson Oliver died on, Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at Edgewood Summit, the continuing-care retirement community where she resided.
Born in 1922, Elaine was the daughter of Swedish immigrants who arrived in America in the late 1870’s. At first, they had little more than dreams in their pockets, but through ingenuity and hard work they went on to build a good life for themselves and their children. Elaine’s father had an entrepreneurial spirit, and established himself as a successful produce distributor, while her mother turned her flair for fashion and sewing into a business, eventually opening a small hat shop in Ironwood, MI. Elaine, her late sister Greta, and their late brother William were raised in Ironwood.
Elaine attended George Washington University in Washington D. C., where she met her husband, the late Philip M. Oliver; Northwestern University in Chicago; and Adelphi University in New York.
Her husband’s career took her to Vienna, Austria; Caracas, Venezuela; and back and forth across the United States. While living in California she learned to ride a horse and won a blue ribbon at a local show. Elaine also began to blossom as an artist. She started carving linoleum blocks and making prints – mostly cards depicting the scenery and cultures of the places she lived. After moving to Charleston, she discovered that she had a real talent for watercolor painting. She developed a following and over the years sold many paintings.
While raising her two daughters, Elaine volunteered extensively with the Girl Scouts, running troops and summer camps. This work led to a position with the Washington, D.C. Girl Scout Council. Later she was offered the position of director of fund raising for the Black Diamond Girl Scout Council in Charleston, WV, a position she held for 12 years. She continued to live in Charleston following her retirement.
Elaine is survived by her daughters Janice Oliver of Dixmont, Maine and Tracie Oliver of Portland, Oregon; her beloved granddaughter Laurel Oliver-Gilmore of Portland, Oregon and her great grandson Tatum; her niece Nancy Held of Hartland, Wisconsin; her nephew William Jones of Arlington Heights, Illinois; and her late cousin Joy Chasty’s four daughters.
Elaine was an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and served as President of the Board and then as Treasurer for several terms.
A private memorial will be held by the immediate family. The family suggests that, those who want to honor Elaine, make a donation to the Girl Scouts of America, Black Diamond Council, P.O. Box 507, Charleston, WV 25322.
You may send condolences to the family at: www.barlowbonsall.com
Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home has been entrusted to handle the arrangements.