Obituaries & Tributes
date of birth June 25 1922
date of death January 1 2020
Elsie lived 97 (and-a-half!) long and full years, and had a “really good ride.”She is survived by her four children (Pat, David, Dennis, and Russell); two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Elsie (Pokorny) was born and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She met Frank Ruzicka after high school, and they married in 1941.She waited at home while he was in Europe fighting in WWII, and after the war they welcomed 4 children (one girl, three boys) over the next 20 years. They stayed married to each other for 68 years; Frank passed in 2009.
Elsie was so much more than a “homemaker.”She was the glue that held the family together. She kept us all organized, planned the vacations and travel trips, mediated disputes among the siblings, gave us each a shoulder to cry on or a boost of confidence when we needed it.She studied astrology, and was a student of the energies of the universe. All of us kids had our own private discussions with her about what the planets were doing, what aspects were in our favor or going to be challenging, whether or not the time was looking right for big moves (finances, job, life!). Many of her friends enjoyed deep discussions with her about life issues and how they were affected by the principles of astrology.
Elsie was also a business woman who spent her summers in northern Wisconsin, managing a family business of summer vacation cabin rentals on a pristine fresh-water lake. She raised her kids to enjoy the outdoors, and the Northwoods, andto understand responsibility and hard work through tasks like bailing boats, cleaning cabins, keeping up the grounds, and running errands (for everyone!).But there was also fun, in planning special activities for the guests, and ultimately enjoying, for years to come, all the enduring relationships that were formed during those summers.
After Elsie’s mother (Gram Pokorny) died, she was able to buy a condo in Kona Hawaii.She and Frank had found “paradise” through a few vacation trips to Hawaii, and now were lucky enough to spend the entire winters in Kona, far from the Wisconsin snow! And oh did she (they) have good times in Kona! Swimming, sun bathing, parties by the pool.Many, many people got the “Mele Kalikimaka” cards from Hawaii every Christmas! When traveling back and forth finally became too difficult for Elsie, she settled in Portland, Oregon, in assisted living facilities close to her daughter Pat.
Elsie always enjoyed traveling, both in the U.S. and internationally. She was part of a foursome of women friends who periodically left their spouses behind and went off on long weekends, or driving trips, or special trips (a “wine” cruise on the Rhine River).Elsie also traveled with Frank on planned trips with their Wisconsin friends: to Ireland, the Black Forest in Europe, Branson Missouri.There were several memorable Elder Hostel adventures (in Alaska, Mexico, the Colorado Rockies), and a few cruises with the Hennings and the Frischmanns.Elsie sure did get around in her almost 98 years!
Elsie was physically small in stature but had a lively and vibrant spirit. She would always flash you a smile or give you a witty remark.(“I love you, don’t run away from home”). She had her “go-to” jokes (“How did you sleep last night, Els”?“With my eyes closed”). She played cards, and bingo, and loved going out to lunch and having “coffee and” with her friends (and adopted daughters), right up until the end.
Those of you who knew Elsie will know that she is not gone—she is floating around in the universe keeping tabs on all of us she loved.And those of us who love her will know that she will always be “right here” as long as we carry her memory and love in our hearts.
Oh Elsie…. Oh mom… we will miss you, so-o-o much, Sweetie Pie. We will never run away from home.
12 tribute candles have been lit
Candle lit by Staff at Autumn Funerals, Cremation & Burial Our sincere condolences.
Candle lit by Marina Yu My sincere condolences to you and your family, Pat, on the loss of your beloved mother. May both of our parents rest in peace now.
Candle lit by Maureen Flanagan Elsie was an inspiration to all us “kids”❤️
Candle lit by Maureen Flanagan Elsie was an inspiration to all us “kids”❤️ and her humor will be missed.
Candle lit by Jennifer Ruzicka Thank you for writing this aunt pat, it has me in tears. She was the most incredible woman that guided me through so many hard times with her talks. I know she is with me everyday. She believed in energy and I feel her energy everyday.
Candle lit by Pat Ruzicka Rest in peace mom. We will carry on. Thank you for letting me be close to you and look after you these past several years, on the "last leg" of your journey. I love you. Patty
Candle lit by Sheila Bernson I will never forget you Elsie. Thank you for your love, friendship and life lessons. I always smile when I think of you, me and Pluto. You are in my heart forever ❤️
Candle lit by Phyllis Darnell Will never forget you having me for lunch with Pat when we attendant grade school in Lyons. You were so gracious and kind. Your memory will always be in my heart. Love you beautiful Lady!
Candle lit by Pat Dillon Remembering all the fun times you and Frank had with my parents Dell and Wally Henning! So glad my sister Kathy and I got to visit with you this past fall. Pat Henning Dillon
Candle lit by Gretchen A. Yost A Force of Nature. That's Elsie! Elsie will be missed by many. I was one of her "adopted" daughters. She had many but really, we adopted her. I knew Elsie for many years. A long and wonderful life for sure. She had so many of those years! She was fun and vibrant always. She'll be missed for her humor, twinkle in her eye, silly little smile...and wise advice. She'd want our memories of her to be happy ones...no sad ones. She'd say she had so many good years, great family and friends. A great long interesting life. She'd want us to celebrate the love that lives in our hearts, to have a good life, to remember her as she loved life. We need to carry that on. She's now at peace.
Candle lit by Christine Wagner One of my most memorable times with Elsie was on the day we met. At 80 years old she was a still a force to be reckoned with, there was no doubt about it! I feel privileged to have spent so many happy times with her & her family, in Wisconsin & Hawaii, since that first day 28 years ago. Aloha & Mahalo Elsie, for all you gave us. With love, Christine
Candle lit by Dennis Dear Elsie, Thank you for raising me up. With love, your son, Dennis. P.s. Frank too.