Elaine Scharfenberger


Elaine M. Scharfenberger of Warwick, NY, entered into eternal life on November 6, 2019 at home, surrounded by her loving family. She was 99 years of age. Born on September 12, 1920 in Dubuque, Iowa, Elaine was the daughter of the late Max Magdal and Josephine (Stierman) Magdal.

Elaine graduated from Clarke College (now University) as a registered dietician in 1941 and worked in Passavant Hospital in Chicago, then St. Francis Hospital in Oklahoma City. It was there, at a Catholic USO dance, that she met the love of her life, Ed, a first lieutenant in the US Army. After the war, they married and moved to his hometown of Ridgewood, New York, where they raised five children. Elaine’s home was a lively, creative place, often sheltering “strays” of all species. She administered first aid to local kids, became a surrogate mom to a troubled youth, and rode the subway alone to Manhattan for a part-time job after her family was grown. Holidays were always fun, and she was a great cook, conscious of healthful eating before it became a major industry, yet that never stopped her from making her famous apple pie! Elaine enjoyed music and travelling, well into her nineties. She was an avid reader and Jane Austen fan but above all, loved to dance with her favorite partner, Ed – and one might add, they never stopped dancing! She is fondly remembered by her grandkids for sharing her talent with piano lessons and for her special childcare. As her son-in-law would often say, “she’s just a great lady”!

Although she would never say it, Elaine put family before her own dreams. Past an age when many people retire, she finally got her place in the country when she moved to Warwick, NY in 1988. She had a remarkable inner strength which helped her through many challenges. Not just by words but by example as well, Elaine instilled in her children the importance of faith and family. She was a devout parishioner at St. Stephen the First Martyr in Warwick; her Catholic faith shaped her life and continues on in her children. Both she and her husband were blessed to see their eldest son, Edward, ordained Bishop of Albany in 2014.

Elaine leaves behind to pray for her and cherish her memory a son, Edward, daughter Miriam (Glenn) Muse, son James, son Dennis (Anna) and daughter, Lois (Paul) Sheptuck. Also left are grandchildren Ian, Matt, Luke, Kim, (Nathan), Amy (Alan) and Tommy and great-grandchildren Nora, Iris and soon-to-arrive Baby Girl and several nieces and nephews. She will be missed as well by her two rescue kitties, Ivy and Vader. Elaine was predeceased by her best friend and husband of 68 years, Ed, beloved grandson, Jonathan and dear brother, Bernard.  

A family statement reads: Perhaps this quote sums up her life the best:

 “What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?” -Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty. We are grateful to have been touched and blessed by her beautiful life.

Elaine’s family wishes to thank Elena, Mary and Tina from Love and Care LLC and Hospice of Orange County for their compassionate care during her final days. Friends and family are invited to gather on Thursday, November 7, 2019 from 4p.m. until 8p.m.at Lazear-Smith &Vander Plaat Memorial Home, 17 Oakland Ave., Warwick.  

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Stephen the First Martyr Church, 75 Sanfordville Rd., Warwick. at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 8, 2019, officiated by Bishop Edward Scharfenberger. Interment will follow at St. Stephen Cemetery in Warwick.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Jon Scharfenberger Scholarship Fund, 12 Windmill Lane, Warwick, NY 10990, or to the Native American charity of your choice

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