KELSO — On March 23, 2019, Elaine (Hedlund) Wilbanks, 64, lost her nearly year-long struggle with CNS lymphoma.
She was born in Ilwaco, Wash., on Jan. 27, 1955, to Clarence and Glenrose Hedlund, joining a brother, Dennis and sister, Dianne. They grew up on a small farm in Deep River and she spent her entire life sharing the history and stories of the area.
In first grade she had rheumatic fever and had to stay quiet for a year. She developed a lifelong passion for puzzles, games and crafts. One of her favorite things was helping her Dad in the woodworking shop. She went to grade school in Grays River and graduated from Naselle High School in 1974.
She moved to Longview and in 1975 married Michael Wilbanks; they had two daughters, Jennifer and Erin. She worked as a florist for over 30 years. Arranging flowers wasn’t just her job, it was her passion. In her spare time she was an artist, gardener, woodworker and collected antiques. For the past 10 years she did the museum room at Finn Fest in Naselle. She loved creating a display and showing off her antiques! She was especially proud of the Lindgren Cabin on display at Cullaby Lake her great-grandfather built. She spent many happy hours there, telling people all about it.
After her two daughters, she liked spoiling her four grandsons, Robert, Dean, Spencer and Max and great-grandson Zayden. She is survived by them, her daughters, Jennifer (Jeromy) Lester and Erin Gilbert; her husband Michael; her sister Dianne (Sid) Kogut and her dear cousin, Thelma Miller. She was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Glenrose and her brother, Dennis.
The family would like to thank the staff at Lower Columbia Cancer Center, St John Medical Center and the Oncology department at OHSU. Their skill and compassion were appreciated. A special thank you to Dr. Craig Okada.
A celebration will be held at the Deep River (Lutheran) Pioneer Church on West Deep River Rd, on Saturday March 30, at 2 p.m., with a reception following at Rosburg Hall on Rosburg Hall Road.
As a florist Elaine wasn’t fond of the phrase “in lieu of flowers” so, please support your local florist and give flowers to a loved one in her honor!