Elaine Grace (Woolf) Howen was born July 5th 1950 in Iona Idaho to Parmer and Wilma Hartert Woolf. She passed from this world February 23rd 2021 after a courageous battle with recurring breast cancer.
She grew up getting picked on by her two brothers, one older and one younger both that she loved dearly. Being the only girl, she was grateful when her brothers married and gave her two sisters to adore. Bert gave her Nancy and Larry gave her Barbara.
Elaine attended Bonneville High School in Iona, Idaho. She married her high school sweetheart and to that marriage was born a daughter Julie. They moved to Boise where Elaine worked at the Fairview Drive-In while going to school to get her cosmetology license. Once she got her license, she opened her own business. The marriage ended in divorce.
She worked as a judge’s clerk while still finding time to do hair to make sure her friends and family all were stylish.
During this time, she met and married Ron Howen, who loved and adopted her daughter, Julie. From that marriage was also born, a son, Kevin. She continued to do hair in her home to allow herself to be home and active with the kids. Ron and Elaine later divorced.
Elaine was passionate about caring for others. Over the years she volunteered at St Als, was involved with Festival of Trees, and the Miss Idaho pageants. She had so much fun with the Miss Idaho pageants that she even participated in one of the Mrs Idaho pageants and was runner up. She also worked as manager of the Fred Meyer Jewelry Store on Chinden while still finding time to squeeze in friends and family for the needed last-minute hairdo.
She worked for Harmon Travel which started a lifelong love of taking cruises. When recently asked, she stated that she had gone on over 100 cruises, sometime as a tourist and sometimes as a guide. This love was so strong that she even went on 2 cruises after her final diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. Holland America was her favorite cruise line.
In 1996 her son Kevin died and her life changed forever. She held fast to her strong belief that she would see him again one day.
She had a very close relationship with her daughter Julie and it was expanded when Julie gave birth to two grandchildren, first Emily and then Tim. They were what she needed to feel joy again. She loved those two kids and they loved their “Nammy” back fully and completely. Family was everything to Elaine and not just her immediate family it extended to anyone she found might need her gentle touch and caring words.
Elaine was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 and fought through treatment diligently to the point that she was cancer free for 15 years until it returned in 2015. Again, this fighter started treatment head on and gave her one year prognosis a 5-year extension.
When asked to find words to describe Elaine/Mom/Nammy her family found” angel on earth; beautiful; kind; gentle; classy; funny; patient; loving, smart, but most of all brave and strong.”
Elaine had a strong faith in Jesus as her savior. The reunion with her mother and son in heaven must have been a joyous celebration!
The memories, adventures and love of this strong and rare woman will not be forgotten. It will live on through the deep imprint she left on earth.
She is survived by her daughter Julie, two grandchildren, Emily and Tim, her older brother Bert(Nancy) and younger brother Larry(Barbara). She was preceded in death by her son Kevin and both parents.
We, as a family, want to thank St Luke’s Hospice for their kind and gentle care of her in her final time.
The family requests that in lieu of sending flowers, please plant perennials in her memory. Place them where you can see them and remember the woman who loved plants and could make about anything grow. She loved flowers.
Her family will always miss her but are so thankful for having one more day, one more hour, one more minute they needed so much.
Elaine left this poem by author Bernadette Franck
As I sit in heaven
And watch you everyday
I try to let you know with signs
I never went away
I hear you when you’re laughing
And watch you as you sleep
I even place my arms around you
To calm you as you weep
I see you wish the days away
Begging to have me home
So I try to send you signs
So you know you are not alone
Don’t feel guilty that you have
Life that was denied to me
Heaven is truly beautiful
Just you wait and see
So live your life, laugh again
Enjoy yourself, be free
Then I know with every breath you take
You’ll be taking one for me