Elise H Bigelow, 94, passed away in Medford, OR on January 3, 2022.
She was born in Nehalem May 13, 1927 to Joseph and Rosa Grab. She grew up in Long Beach WA and graduated from Nehalem High School in 1945. She worked for Title & Trust and C. Ray Johnson in Tillamook where she met Clare D Bigelow who was stationed at the Tillamook Naval Air Station. They were married on May 10, 1947 in Myrtle Point, OR. They moved to Minneapolis for two years where Clare attended business school.
When they returned to Tillamook in 1949 with daughter Susan, Mrs Bigelow was a homemaker and volunteered at Wilson Grade school. She was also a 4-H Leader and was an accomplished seamstress. Later in her life, she made all eight of her grandchildren a personalized quilt. She worked in the County Tax office for several years, served on the Tillamook Planning Commission, and was a member of the United Methodist Church. She and Clare raised three daughters, all graduating from Tillamook High School.
The Bigelows moved to Nehalem for 12 years where Clare worked for Tillamook PUD. They returned to Tillamook in 1990 and built their retirement home, bought an RV and spent time visiting their kids and grandchildren. She volunteered at the Tillamook Hospital Auxillary and was a long-time member of the Lady Elks. She loved gardening, was a Master Gardener and grew plants that thrived in the Oregon Coastal climate, including daffodils, blueberries, raspberries, hydrangeas and geraniums. She kept up her walking routine for decades and into her 80s was often seen walking a route in Tillamook.
Mrs. Bigelow is survived by two daughters: Claire Niedermeyer and husband Richard of Jacksonville, and Carol Ruggeri and husband Jim of Corvallis; sister Anna Lommen of Garibaldi; grandchildren Kate McCarthy Lott (Ethan) of Tillamook, Beth Niedermeyer of Central Point, Adam McCarthy (Staci) of Parkdale, Hanns Niedermeyer (Crystal) of Gold Hill, Laura Ruggeri of Eugene, Luke McCarthy (Caitlin) of Parkdale, Thomas Ruggeri (Claire) of Cary, NC, and Ben Niedermeyer of Jacksonville; eight great grandchildren and son-in-law Mike McCarthy. She was preceded in death by Clare in 2005 and her daughter Susan McCarthy in 2013.
Donations can be made to the Susan McCarthy Memorial Scholarship c/o Hood River County Education Foundation 1011 Eugene Street Hood River OR 97031.
Graveside service will be planned for a later date.