Elaine Birlson (nee Stopka) was born in 1930 in Chicago, Illinois, the only daughter amongst three sons. Upon high school graduation, she worked as a secretary for an insurance company at the Chicago Board of Trade. She was introduced through mutual friends to the handsome J.E. “John” Birlson in ’52, and by ’53, they were married. Elaine gave birth to seven blonde, beautiful babies—five boys and two girls, with five born in six years.
In July of 2023, John & Elaine would have celebrated 70 years of marriage.
Elaine had a creative spirit and an eye for beauty, which made her a talented oil painter. She sang in the funeral choir at St. Maria Goretti and St. Joseph’s Catholic Churches in Dyer. She loved all varieties of flowers, reading biographies & historical fiction, and celebrating her Polish heritage. She traveled throughout the U.S. with her husband John, visiting her children and spending time with her grandchildren, playing games, reading and crafting bedtime stories.
Her greatest pleasure later in life was driving down to French Lick, Indiana to the 40-acre property she and John purchased. It became their little "slice of heaven” where they spent time hiking the woods, fishing, planting trees & flowers, and spending quality time with their children and grandchildren. At their request, the peaceful rolling hills of French Lick will be John & Elaine’s final resting place.
Elaine is survived by her children: Linda (Mark) Shelson, Thomas (Alice) Birlson, Donald Birlson, Karen Ferrer, John (Rita) Birlson, Robert (Theresa) Birlson; grandma to: Jacob Sills, Geena Ward, Keith Birlson, Erica Ferrer, Mark Shelson Jr., Haley Mireles, William Ferrer, Stacey Birlson, Rhea Birlson, Olivia Sokołowska, Emily Dudley, Lucas Birlson, Andrew Birlson, Sophia Birlson, and Elizabeth Birlson; called “Busia” by her great-grandchildren: Remington Minshall, Mila Mireles, and soon-to-be baby boy Birlson, baby girl Minshall, baby girl Shelson, and baby boy Mireles. Elaine was preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Mary Stopka; brothers Andy, Albert, and Bill Stopka; husband J.E. “John” Birlson; and son, James Birlson.
Elaine was timeless beauty, a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her memory will live on fondly in the hearts & minds of all who had the pleasure of knowing her.
Visitation will be Saturday, May 20, 2023 from 9-noon at Fagen-Miller Funeral Home, 1920 Hart St., Dyer, IN. Mass of Christian Burial 12:30pm at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 440 Joliet St., Dyer, IN. The family asks in-lieu of flowers, a Catholic Mass be requested in Elaine’s name.
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