Obituary of Elaine A. Berk
Elaine Berk passed away earlier this month at age 97. She was the eldest of eight children and was raised in Bolton and Manchester, CT. After she graduated from Manchester High School, Elaine played a supporting role in helping her father and his partners get their new company, later named ABA Tool & Die Co., off and running. In 1948 she met and married her husband, Walter Berk. Elaine and Walter moved to Hebron, CT soon after their marriage and ran Rocky Knoll Dairy Farm on North Street (part of which was incorporated into Tallwood Country Club) for 13 years. In the 1950s, to supplement income from the farm, Elaine worked at Pioneer Parachute and Pratt & Whitney, all while raising 4 children. In her forties, Elaine attended Eastern Connecticut State College, often working during summers as an administrative assistant at Atlantic Marketing Company, and graduating in 1971 with a B.A. in education. She then taught in Manchester elementary schools for 16 years.
Elaine was instrumental in the creation of the Hebron Harvest Fair, established by the Hebron Recreation Council, the first of which was held in and on the grounds of Gilead Hill Elementary School in 1968 and of which she served as General Chair. (The rights to the expanding fair were transferred in 1971 to the Hebron Lions Club which operates the fair to this day.) Elaine was a Cub Scout den mother and taught Sunday School at Gilead Congregational Church. Her children recall that, growing up, they had home-cooked dinners together every evening with many of the ingredients sourced from the family’s large fruit and vegetable gardens, including items preserved through canning, freezing and cold-cellar storage for the winter months. She loved reading books, solving word puzzles, guessing Jeopardy questions, and following UConn basketball. Elaine also enjoyed many family gatherings at Misquamicut Beach in R.I.
Elaine is survived by her son Douglas, daughter Karen, son Walter (Trish) and daughter Laurie (Brian.) She is also survived by 5 grandchildren: Carla (Steve), Sarah (Joe), Jason (Hilary), Adrian (Charlie) and Jamie, 7 great-grandchildren: Clayton, Cooper, Chase, Annabelle, Wesley, Natalie and Leland, and numerous nieces and nephews. Elaine was predeceased by her husband Walter, her son-in-law Richard, her 7 siblings (Donald, Shirley, William, Earl, Correan, Janet, and Joan), and her lifelong dear friend, Sophie.
Memorial services will be private. Given the high value Elaine placed on the importance of education, in lieu of flowers, Elaine’s family suggests memorial donations in any amount be made to provide financial aid to future educators attending Eastern Connecticut State University. Checks should be made to “ECSU Foundation” and mailed to ECSU Foundation, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT 06226, or visit ECSU for other methods of giving. Please note “Elaine Berk Fund” with any gift. For online condolences, please visit www.tierneyfuneralhome.com.