Jill Grace Elkins Gustafson passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours of Oct. 10 2012, from breast cancer at the age of 53.
Jill was born July 18 1959, in St. Louis, Mo., to Arthur and Wilma (Walker) Elkins; baptized (full immersion) as a teen. She graduated from Ritenour High School in Overland, Mo., in 1977. Jill then went on to study theater at Webster University and worked in television advertising.
Jill was a person who was well acquainted with loss; during a ten-year span beginning in about 1980, she lost to death: her grandmother, Beulah Walker, who was like a third parent; a boyfriend; her sister and both parents. Though adverse, these circumstances shaped her mentally and spiritually, creating a most attractive personality.
In 1992, Jill took a job offer that relocated her and her cat to New York City. She met her husband-to-be, Eric, through a series of circumstances not wholly unrelated to goats, in 1995. She left behind a lucrative career, to the distress of her friends, for a life of poverty and parenthood in Minnesota.
She worked a variety of part-time jobs in North Branch, including bookkeeping in the family nursery business; home-schooled her daughters over a four year period; was active in her church community, and continued the pursuit of a theatre arts education.
Jill was preceded in death by her parents Arthur and WIlma Elkins, and by her siblings Joan Sciortino and Christopher Elkins.
She is survived by numerous friends in Minnesota, New York and St. Louis; by husband Eric and daughters Emma and Tess; in-laws Allan and Carol Gustafson, all of North Branch, Minn. She is also survived by her sister and brother-in-law Diane and John Aldrich of Luck, WI; by Minnesota/Wisconsin nephew and nieces Michael Gustafson, and Justine, Alyssa and Maia Lehmann; by nephews Deric Page of St. Louis and Nicholas Sciortino.
A Missouri memorial get-together for Jill has been tentatively planned for the last week in December. Jill’s ashes will be interred at Fish Lake Lutheran cemetery at a later date. Memorial gifts should be directed to the Jill Gustafson Theatre Arts Education Fund.
There have been so many who have prayed, sent cards, visited, nursed, sat with Jill, driven, cooked and cleaned for our family during Jill’s illness. Though we would like to recognize here certain individuals for all they have done for our family, we will resist the temptation, knowing that we would pass over many who deserve it. We hope that you will know who you are when we say “Thank You”, and we are sure that your efforts were out of love rather than recognition.
Rev. Conrad Warner officiated at funeral services for Jill Gustafson; Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012 at 11 a.m. at Fish Lake Lutheran Church in Stark. A time of visitation was held Monday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Grandstrand Funeral Home in North Branch.
Funeral arrangements for Jill Gustafson of North Branch were entrusted to the Funeral & Cremation Service of Rush City Olson Chapel www.funeralandcremationservice.com.