Obituary: Elaine Beal, 1940-2023 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Elaine Beal, 1940-2023

Waterbury woman loved travel and thought nothing of making trips up and down the Eastern Seaboard in her trusty Toyota

Published February 6, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.

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Elaine Beal - COURTESY
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  • Elaine Beal

On December 19, 2023, our beloved mother, Elaine Marie Early Beal, a traveler at heart, left this world for the final adventure after a yearlong battle with stomach cancer.

She was 83 years young.

Mom was born to Robert Edward and Catherine Huyett Early in Washington, D.C. She had an older sister, Margaret Early Hall. She graduated from Madison College (now James Madison University) and married Army Lt. William Ross Beal Jr. of Brewster, N.Y., in 1964. Having lived in France and Germany during their first three years of marriage, she remained home during his tours in Vietnam, after which they proceeded to travel to the United States at the behest of the Army until Dad retired (Lt. Col.) in 1979. In 1981, the family settled on a hillside in Waterbury Center, Vt. Moving to Vermont was Dad's wish, but soon Mom fell in love also, and she came to develop a special fondness for Waterbury. After nearly half a lifetime of moving around, central Vermont became their permanent home.

Mom was a devoted daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, friend, wife, mother and grandmother. She found great pleasure in keeping a robust network and was often the nexus keeping groups of friends and relatives in contact. Her children inherited their parents’ wandering ways, and Elaine enjoyed meeting the friends her children developed in their own travels.

Elaine’s accomplishments, service, contributions and dedication are known by those whose lives she touched.

Since 2012, her biggest source of joy was her grandson, Willem Emanuel Skye Lundberg-Beal. She traveled to Sweden, often twice a year, to spend time with her Swedish family: Ross (her son), Helene and Willem, as well as Helene's parents, brother and his family.

In addition to Sweden, Mom traveled regularly, both with others and alone, and even up to her final year she thought nothing of driving up and down the Eastern Seaboard in her trusty Toyota, visiting friends and family. In recent years she created incredible memories, traveling even more of the world together with her daughter Cate (Sheryl).

Over the last year, Mom's comfort and joy was her grandson, with whom she never appeared to tire of playing cornhole, croquet and endless repetitive board games. Though the times apart were difficult, they kept up a regular text and Skype exchange that was deeply meaningful to both.

Her granddog — Cate’s dog Oliver — assumed a place on her lap during Willem's absences and throughout her illness. Never much of a dog lover, she nonetheless soon learned to love Oliver's constant companionship during the yearlong battle. During this time, Cate, Oliver and Elaine enjoyed many early morning cuddles together.

Mom was beyond proud of the incredible father her son Ross (III) had become and the life he and Helene are building with Willem in Sweden.

Feeling equal pride and gratitude, Mom was escorted through her final year with us by her daughter Cate. An ever-present friend, advocate and caregiver, as Mom had been for so many others, Cate became the rock that Elaine and the family relied on.

Elaine loved the home that she and her husband, Ross Jr., had steadily renovated over the years and took great pride in the gardens that had evolved and in being a good neighbor. And it was there she passed away in comfort, after having her final conversation with her son and grandson and with Cate, as always, holding her hand.

Mom, Mommy, Far-mor (Swedish for grandmother), Elaine ... You never knew, but now surely do, the depth of our love for you.

Services will be held in late June/early July. Another announcement will be made, and details will be provided closer to that time.

In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Waterbury Food Shelf, Re-Vitalizing Waterbury or the Wounded Warrior Project.

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