Our beautiful, beloved Mother left this earthly world on May 13th 2022 surrounded in the love of family, 10 days short of her 74th birthday.
Cheryl Elaine Vallejos was the 2nd child born May 23rd 1948 to Lloyd and Sylvia in Renton, Washington but became the eldest of 8 siblings after her older brother Leroy passed away as an infant. 7 more siblings followed, Ed, Yolanda, Geno, Diane, Sandy, Geri and Lisa.
The Vallejos clan moved to SLC, Utah for a time where Elaine would attend school, graduate from South High, meet her 2 soul sisters Olivia and Charlene, then meet Loni DeLand.
Lloyd and Sylvia moved the family back to Auburn, Washington and in 1967, purchased the home they would reside in for the next 50 years. Elaine would continue her courtship with Loni for the next couple of years while Loni was in Korea, serving in the US Army.
During one of his leaves, Loni came to Auburn and soon after, found out he would be a Daddy. They planned a wedding, mostly through letters and with the help of both families, settled on a date.
Loni and Elaine were married in December 1967 at Walt and Wilma DeLand's home in SLC when Elaine was 5 months pregnant. Loni was on leave from the US Army but soon after, they moved to Colorado Springs. Angela Marie was born in April of 1968 at Fort Carson Army Hospital where Loni was stationed. The new family moved back to SLC and in December of 1969 son Nicholas York was born, their 2nd and last child.
The couple divorced when Nick and Angela were very young but maintained a lifetime of friendship. They raised their kids with endless amounts of love and nurturing without the boundaries of parenting and custody plans. Our childhood memories included driving games we would play, introducing us to beef noodles at the Chinese restaurant and her creative way of keeping us occupied if ever a dull moment. Her love of music also filtered into our lives. Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley, Abba, David Sanborn, Rachmaninoff and Julio Iglesias were just some of her favorites.
Her loving heart led many of our friends to become part of our family. She considered Angela's best friend Kerry her second daughter as she has remained a daily and consistent source of support. She also remained close with her former in-laws and was part of the Outlaw group Wilma created from all the DeLand ex-wives and her own single daughters. This was a loving friendship that lasted throughout their lives.
It seems that whomever Mom encountered, if you met her, knew her or spent any amount of time with her, you became part of her circle.
Elaine lived in San Diego for a brief time, then back and forth between Salt Lake City and Auburn, and often Nick and Ang along with her.
Washington was always a place she wanted to be, and in the summer of 1985, Elaine made her way back to Auburn, Washington, with Angela in tow, to reside with her parents. That same year Elaine began her 25 year career as a Systems Analyst with Boeing, earning multiple accolades and praises for her work. Her many suggestions were implemented into her field and she received Employee of the month more than a few times. Many of her friendships today are with coworkers. For her 70th birthday, several of them got together with her to celebrate and reminisce. She spent some years living on her own, but eventually settled back in with her Mom and Dad. They loved that she was there and the family greatly appreciated having someone to be around for them.
During her off time with Boeing, she attended City University, earning her Bachelors in Science Degree in 1999. This was something she was very proud of and we were honored to watch the moment she was presented with it.
She loved traveling with family, usually her sisters, and friends whether in a car, boat or plane. Every Thanksgiving night the 5 Vallejos sisters would pack up their biggest trucks and head to Oregon for tax free Black Friday shopping. The stories were endless and hilarious from those adventures.
Those trips also included Hawaii, a Caribbean cruise and the California coast. The most notable was to France and Italy with cousin Pauline. They were delayed by the events of 9/11 but finally made it to her dream destination. Raised as a Catholic, she was deeply moved by seeing the history of Rome and seeing the Pope. Although she was not a practicing member of the church, she still found peace and solace through the beautiful art and witnessing the faith of those who came for healing prayers. In her journal she wrote " The experience filled our hearts. After that, everything is just secondary".
The latest trips she made were to Florida where Nick and his family lived and first class to SLC to visit family and friends.
Another favorite pastime was her Sunday movie dates with another lifetime friend Vicki, lunch outings with family, daily conversations with her sister Yolanda and shopping at Costco.
The first recipients of the Grandmother doting were Cameron and Jennsyn, Angela's children,then Nick added Taylor and Donovan from Nick's 2nd marriage.
Ashton was born in 2009 to Nick and his wife Tammi. Nick being in Utah made it more difficult to visit, but they would come here at least once a year to spend time with Mom.
It didn't stop there. When Angela and JC married, 3 new granddaughters came into the fold, Kiara, Emileigh and Halleigh. Quickly to follow, their children Khyren, Spencer, Maesen and Remy who loved to come and visit Grandma Elaine.
She loved babies and they loved her.
In August of 2012, Jennsyn gave birth to Julian who then became the 5th generation on her side. He was also the one who lived the closest, and received lots of Grandma attention.
Cameron and Korinna's children were next. Mikael, Korinna's son, already stole Mom's heart and then in November of 2020, Liam came along and Mom couldn't get enough of him. Hayden was born on May 2nd 2022 after much anticipation on Mom's part. Daily phone calls of "Any baby yet?" proved that. She saw pictures of him and was looking forward to when she could hold Hayden for the first time. Mom passed away a week before Cameron and Korrina were married but she had a front seat reserved in her memory.
Nick's daughter Taylor and her fiancé Dylan are expecting a daughter in November. Mom was so excited to once again have another great-grandchild. This new life will undoubtedly be blessed with Mama's love.
After working 25 years for Boeing, she took an early retirement which allowed her endless time for shopping, dining out and spending time with her grandchildren and step-grandchildren, who she adored and treasured. She loved visits and sleepovers so she could spoil them, even renting hotel rooms to take them swimming.
In 2015 she suffered a stroke which caused a speech impairment. Expressive Aphasia, became a new way of life and extreme frustration as she had to learn to communicate without the ability of the eloquent vocabulary she once had. This also impacted writing and slowed down her entire thought process and ability to complete simple daily activities without assistance. Her sister Geri took on all her finances even as she worked full-time and took care of her own family. Ang became the main source of care while Nick operated from afar as the one with all the answers. If we couldn't answer her question, inevitably it would be "Call Nick"! Her Sisters, Yolanda and Diane remained constant as support assisting with appointments, taking her out for shopping, trips, meals and quick getaways. Brother Ed also assisting as the computer guy!
While regaining strength and mobility back, she was also enduring countless hours of speech and physical therapy. Nothing would be the same as more surgeries, 2 more small strokes and diabetes would continue to plague her health.
Even through all of her setbacks of the next several years, her family and friends were her most valued treasures and her greatest source of happiness. She spent countless hours on the phone, no matter how frustrating the conversation and on Facebook to keep herself in the loop of the latest happenings. Mom loved to cook and was known for making the best salads ever. For some reason, they always tasted better when she made them.
On November 3rd 2017, Lloyd passed away unexpectedly at the age of 93 and 5 months later to the day, Sylvia passed on April 3rd.
Mom was heartbroken over the loss of her parents, as were all, but never seemed to process her grief. Angela and JC moved into the family home so Mom could remain at home, when her care became elevated to daily assistance.
When daily life became more of a challenge for her, we received additional help from family caregiver Josephine, a blessing in ways our family will be eternally grateful for and her nephew Derek. His stories always made her laugh and she truly loved him being there.
Mom's nurturing spirit, kind hearted ways and gigantic loving heart will be her legacy. She was a devoted Mother, Sister, Aunt, and Grandmother.
We will miss her gentle, sweet loving soul and remember the light she brought to our lives always. All ways.
Elaine was preceded in death by infant brother Leroy and parents Lloyd and Sylvia Vallejos. Her surviving family, daughter Angela (JC) Calhoun, son Nick (Tammi) brother Ed (Jeri) Vallejos, sister Yolanda (Phil) Roche, brother Geno Vallejos, sister Diane (Jesse) Fitzgerald, sister Sandy (Robert) Villegas, sister Geri (Jay) Selman and sister Lisa Wells.
Grandchildren: Cameron, Jennsyn, Taylor, Donovan, Ashton, Kiara, Emiliegh and Halleigh.
Julian, Liam, Hayden, Mikael, Khyren, Spencer, Maesen and Remy.
Nephews Tony, Derek, Dylan, Elliot, Cole and Malaki.
Neices: Kylee, Rachel, Kelsy, Taylor and Tiffani.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to The National Aphasia Association