Cover photo for Elizabeth  Jane Elzerman's Obituary
Elizabeth  Jane Elzerman Profile Photo

Elizabeth Jane Elzerman

October 4, 1932 — July 29, 2022

Elizabeth Jane Elzerman

Liz was born to Carl C. and Helen B. (Hale) Tanner in Kansas City, Missouri. She spent her early years on a dust bowl farm near Newton, Kansas, before her family moved to Jackson, Michigan in 1937. There she made a large circle of friends, including her life-long best friend, Pat Turner Masters. She graduated from Jackson High School in 1949.

Liz attended Michigan State College in East Lansing and graduated in 1954 with a degree in journalism. She lived at Concord House Co-op where she made another circle of life-long friends.

In college, Liz met Ted on a blind date and they were married in 1953. Her greatest treasure was her husband. Their shared values and goals, with sufficient overlapping interests, created a long, happy, loving marriage. And from their solid relationship flowed their family, her most precious legacy.

For several years after college, Liz worked at the local newspaper in Portland, Michigan, before she became a full time mother and domestic engineer. She blessed her three children with a loving and active home, clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be fun.

Ted’s career took them to multiple cities (Lansing, Michigan, St. Paul, Minnesota, Davis, California, New Lenox, Illinois, and Springfield, Illinois) before retiring to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas in 1996. Liz created circles of good friends in each place she lived. Her friends described her as friendly, welcoming, kind, intelligent, sincere, caring and fun, with a good sense of humor.

With every move, Liz got involved in her new community and took her family to explore what the new location had to offer. She taught her children by example how to embrace change and new experiences and what confidence, self-reliance and resilience looked like.

When her children were older, Liz returned to the paid workforce. While living in New Lenox, she taught sewing at a fabric store, wrote ads for Tri-Star Realty and worked for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Later she ran IBM’s guided learning center in Springfield, and after returning to New Lenox, worked as the broker’s assistant at Tri-Star Realty.

Once they retired to Hot Springs Village, Liz and Ted cultivated new friendships, enjoying dinners, game nights and symphony performances with neighbors. Liz honed her yarn spinning and knitting skills. She attended annual “Spin-ins” in Destin, Florida, and handled publicity for the Village Pine Needlers knitting club. Her leisure pursuits included reading, Wheel of Fortune, word puzzles and computer solitaire. She embraced email and Facebook, adding the new technologies to her arsenal of tools for keeping up with far flung family and friends.

Liz and Ted continued to travel in retirement, both to sight-see in the U.S. and abroad as well as to visit family and friends around the country. Liz ran “Camp Grandma” in the summer for her grandchildren and hosted the annual family Christmas gatherings. She loved her grandchildren, looking forward to visits, spoiling them and then sending them home. She was proud of each for their accomplishments, but most especially of their characters, remarking when they treated others with kindness.

Liz valued higher education, especially for women. She believed that women should be able to support themselves. She was particularly proud that her three granddaughters marked the fifth generation of women in her family to graduate from college.

Liz was a foodie before it was a thing. She loved to cook and used it as a creative outlet. She was always on the lookout for new recipes, quick to purchase the latest kitchen gadget and treated a trip to a good grocery store as a pilgrimage. Homemade meals served at the dining table were her signature. In later years, cookbooks were replaced with a growing list of restaurants on speed-dial. She would quip “I used to cook, but then I learned to make reservations.”

Liz’s love-language was service and she firmly believed that actions speak louder than words.
She cared for her aging mother for ten years before her death. After recovering from cancer, Liz volunteered on Mercy Hospital’s cancer floor. At Christ of the Hills Methodist Church, she sewed newborn layettes providing for infants in need.

Practical and authentic, Liz could have written an advice column. She knew what was important in relationships. Her advice was solid and offered judiciously. Her blackest marks went to those who were “pretty full of themselves;” and gold stars were awarded to those who demonstrated thoughtfulness, kindness, and compassion. She believed children had a right to be born to a family that wanted and loved them.

Liz will be remembered for her abiding love of her husband, family and large circle of friends, her practical advice and support, good humor, thoughtful words and kind acts, embrace of change, love of learning, adventuresome cooking, mastery of the afternoon nap, relish of a good telephone chat, and, of course, for her legendary bread stuffing and much loved potato salad (see recipes attached). Liz often said that her headstone should read “She slathered cold potatoes in mayo and covered bread in fat.” The family most certainly would have ordered the desired engraving if Liz had not also left instructions to be cremated.

Liz will be deeply missed by her beloved husband of 68 years, Theodore R. Elzerman, three children and their spouses, Sandra K. Elzerman (Martin Kopacz), Patricia J. (Gary) Sorensen, and Keith A. (Laurie) Elzerman, four grandchildren, Ciara J. Sorensen, Kathryn A. (Joseph) Curry, Skylar K. Sorensen, and Sean A. Elzerman, two sisters-in-law, Dorothea Goodson and Rosemary Tanner, 3 nieces, 3 nephews and several cousins. She is predeceased by her brother, Howard F. Tanner.

A celebration of Liz’s life will be held on Saturday, September 3 at 1:30 p.m. at Christ of the Hills Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in Liz’s honor to one of the organizations she supported would be appreciated: The Sugg Garden Railroad at Garvan Woodland Gardens, Christ of the Hills Methodist Church, Heifer Project International, Planned Parenthood or The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Her family would like for Liz’s memory to be honored by an act of kindness, particularly to someone who is in need of it.

Much Loved Potato Salad
5 cups peeled and freshly cooked potatoes, cut into 1’ pieces
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped radish
¼ cup diced celery
1¼ cup mayonnaise
Sprinkle pepper
3 hard cooked eggs
Sprinkle cubed potatoes with salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients and mix gently. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Chill at least two hours - overnight is better.
Serves 6 if they are not wild about potato salad.

Legendary Bread Stuffing
20 cups 1” cubes French of Italian bread (1lb loaf makes about 8 cups)
1 ⅔ cups margarine
1 ¼ cups chopped onion
2 ½ cups chopped celery
5 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons sage
1 ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
To taste poultry seasoning
1 can chicken broth
Cut up loaves of bread into about 1 inch cubes and dry in a 250 degree oven. This can be done several days ahead. Cook celery and onion with spices in margarine until limp. This can also be done ahead and put in the refrigerator. Day of making stuffing - heat vegetable, spice and margarine mixture until melted. Pour over bread cubes and mix to coat all. Then add chicken broth or water to moisten. This amount probably needs one can of broth. Mixture should be the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes. If it is stuffed in a turkey, it will become more moist because of juices from the bird going into it. If it is baked for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, in a covered dish, it will not be as moist.
This will stuff a 12 lb or slightly larger turkey and leave some left over to bake in a covered dish.

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