Scotts Valley resident marks 103rd birthday
by Patricia Sousa
Aug 07, 2014 | 1149 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
Approximately 40 people crowded into the party room at Spring Lakes Mobile Home Park on Thursday, July 24 to celebrate the 103rd birthday of Scotts Valley resident Elaine Slighte.

Slighte, who began her life in Portland, Ore. on July 16, 1911, is the only child born to Ruth and Leo LeTissier, who owned at furniture store in town.

According to Slighte's niece, Glenda Lytle, she spent most of her childhood playing violin and mandolin for the junior high school band and later performed in the Oregon State University symphony in 1931.

After moving to Oakland in her twenties, Elaine joined the Melrose Baptist Church, where her future husband, a man named Thomas Slighte.

She spent most of her adult life in Oakland with Tom, who worked as a printer for the Oakland Tribune for 40 years.

Lytle described Elaine as a dedicated housewife who volunteered most of her time at the Baptist church, where she sang in the choir, served as the librarian, and was an active member of the Woman’s Mission Society.

She recalled spending every Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving holidays with Elaine, who kept a beautiful yard and prepared exquisite meals at her home on Kingsland Ave. in Oakland.

When we had a Thanksgiving at her house, it was a banquet with a big turkey and homemade pies,” Lytle said.

She said Elaine and Tom would go on long road trips through Oregon and Alaska, where they would enjoy camping, fishing, taking photographs, and being in nature.

The couple lived a very spiritual and straight life, free of alcohol, and were very devoted to Christianity, said Elaine’s grandniece, Janette Barrios.

Elaine has had lots of friends through the church who have been very uplifting and supportive,” Lytle said.

Elaine remained in Oakland for 10 years after the death of her husband, and now resides at Spring Lakes Mobile Home Park in Scotts Valley, where she has spent the last 25 years.

Elaine has always done a lot of yard work, always very interested in gardening.” Lytle said. “At 100, she was still doing her banking, gardening, and house work.”

Janette’s husband, Ivan Barrios, said that her longevity could be attributed in part to her strong communal ties with the community and church.

I don’t know if she has ever been lonely,” Ivan said. “That might be an important factor in living a happy life.”

Church continues to be a priority for Elaine, who attends Felton Bible Church every Sunday.

Elaine enjoys watching the news on TV along with “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.” She cannot garden anymore, but said her favorite flower is a pink rose.

We are very lucky we have had her in our lives so long, we feel very lucky and honored,” said Janette.

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