Elise Widen Koelsch
Elise Widen Koelsch, devoted mother of Richard A. Berton and Sharlene Berton Koelsch, passed away peacefully on the 16th of May, 2016 after a brief illness. She was born February 22, 1938 in Vasteras, Sweden, to Per Elof and Lisen Widen. She spent her childhood in Linkoping together with her younger sisters, Sofi Henning and Camilla Widen. She came to the United States in 1961, living in New York City where she was a model. In 1963 she moved to Santa Barbara with her husband, Richard Berton Sr. In 1976, she married Peter Koelsch and her family grew to include Paul, Steven and Veronique Koelsch. She worked in the medical field, and was an active member of SWEA where she served on the board in numerous positions, including President for a number of years. Although she lived in the US for more than 50 years, she remained grounded in the traditions of Sweden.
Elise was known for her generosity and hospitality, and had an open door to visitors who came from all over the world. She loved to entertain, enjoying wine and great food on her deck with family and friends. One of her favorite pastimes was doing crossword puzzles in pen. She was a world traveler, and cherished her most recent trip to Sweden with her granddaughter, Alexia Berton, where she shared her love for her homeland. Her passing has left a large void in the hearts of her family and friends, but comfort is found in the memories, love, laughter, and wine shared.
Elise leaves to cherish her memory her children Richard and Sharlene, her sisters Camilla and Soft, her granddaughter Alexia, her daughter-in-law Tamara, her niece and nephew Sophia and Pontus, the Widen family from Irvine (Jan, Gunnil, Lisa, Jesper and Kajsa), her extended family in Sweden, and many close friends. The family extends their most sincere thanks to Cottage Hospital and Serenity House for their loving care in Elise’s last days. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara.
A celebration of life will be planned for later this month.