Elaine Kelley Kalista, 83, of Wasco, Ore., went to her heavenly home September 9, 2016. Elaine was born December 28, 1932 in Omaha, Neb., to Earl William Kelley and Ruth Helen (Armstrong) Kelley.
When Elaine was 5 years old, her family moved to California to join other family members. They later migrated to Gold Hill, Ore. Elaine was 13 when her sister, Sharon, was born. Just five years later, their mother passed away from cancer, and, at 18, Elaine became a mother figure to her sister.
Elaine graduated from Gold Hill High School in 1950. While in school, Elaine played the drums, and had many friends.
Her first job after high school was at Bell as a telephone operator. She was also the singer in a band that played for dances at the Gold Hill Grange. She had the chance to go to California with the band to pursue a singing career, but turned down the opportunity to marry John Kalista, whom she had been been dating.
John and Elaine were married June 29, 1957. As John worked in heavy equipment construction, the couple traveled from job to job. They spent the next 60 years together watching their family grow.
Elaine was loved deeply by her family and friends. She was known for being caring, loyal, compassionate, affectionate, truthful, respectful, musical, artistic, giving the best hugs, and having one of the most genuine of smiles. She shared all of this with her family, for whom having her as a bright part of their lives has made all the difference.
Elaine and John were blessed with the gift of three children: Janahn Kalista Myra, Julie Kalista Schlenker Doane, and Eric Kalista. From these three came 10 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, all of whom affectionately called her Grammy.
Elaine and John purchased the Moro Beauty Salon, which Elaine ran with her sister, Sharon, after they graduated from The Dalles School of Beauty. Elaine also taught at the school for a short time. Soon, the salon in Moro was moved to Wasco, into the old bank/post office building, and renamed The Antique Mirror. Some years later, Elaine and John added the Mirror Salons of Beauty of The Dalles to their business.
After Elaine retired from hairdressing, she enjoyed oil painting, which led her to convert The Antique Mirror Salon of Beauty into an art studio, where she hosted many art lessons for the community.
When Elaine and John moved to Sherman County in Wasco, Ore., she felt warmly welcomed and encouraged by the people there, and began to be involved with the community. Over the years, that community would come to hold a big place in her heart.
She was voted to Wasco's city council, and afterwards served as Mayor for over a decade. She was instrumental in starting the annual Memorial Day celebration. Later, she and John added the tractor pull to the celebration. Elaine helped secure several grants to fund needed city repairs and to get the Railroad Depot listed as a historical site. She was a member of the State Cosmetology Board, the Wasco Cemetery Board, and the Moro Museum Historical Society.
In 1966, Elaine and her family converted to Catholicism, and she embraced her faith deeply. She spent the rest of her life as a devout Catholic. As she learned her faith, she began to pray the Rosary daily, and was always in prayer for her family and friends. A member of Saint Mary's, Elaine was actively involved with the church until her death. She was a CCD teacher, and the organist for near nearly 40 years.
Elaine is preceded in death by her parents and her two sons-in-law, Bruce Myra and Robert Schlenker.
She is survived by her husband, John; their children, Janahn Myra, Julie Doane, and Eric Kalista; 10 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; and her sister's family: Sharon, Greg, Kelly, and Sara Marvin.
Elaine's family will be celebrating her life with a recitation of the Rosary, October 7, 2016, at 5 p.m., and a funeral Mass on October 8, 2016, at 11 a.m. Both services will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Wasco, Ore. A community potluck will follow the funeral Mass. Please bring your favorite dish.
Spencer, Libby & Powell in care of arrangements.
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