The whole world has come to a standstill. All people on Earth have been ordered to shelter. Gatherings and funeral services are prohibited.
In lieu of what is considered traditional, please enjoy reading
the Written Memorial for our beautiful Mother.
Elaine Harriet House
April 18, 1922 - April 25, 2020
At a state convention the woman who was introducing our Mother, Elaine House, said of her, “Elaine never sees the boundaries – she always looks to what lies beyond.” She went on to describe her this way, “she has been an inspiration to those who know her by her selflessness, her energy and her dedication. Elaine is a woman who is bountiful in her abilities and willingness to give to her community, state and her country.”
My brother, Bradley and I, Beverly “Penny”, can easily say that she always exemplified that of excellent character. She was a role model to younger women and a guide as how they should proceed. She stood for Christ in the lives of many individuals who silently suffered in need and for love. She always recognized and sensed the needs of others – and no matter how difficult it would be to meet those needs she would make it happen.
Whenever I could be her helper she would enlist me, all my life we have been each other’s helper. One of my earliest memories was when I was 11 years old. The husband of a woman that Mother knew had lost his job. It was Christmas time. To ensure that their children had a joyous Christmas morning she supplied beautifully wrapped gifts for them. Mom took me to the old J,C. Penney store just west of the Highland Theatre on Central and she bought the three kids lots of clothes for school and church. To her friends’ surprise she had brought them relief in the time of their need. Her life was full giving to over flowing.
Our Father, Paul, too loved giving. He really loved surprising others with something special. He was good at teaching, if you wanted to learn something he would make sure you were taught correctly. Not long ago Dale Dekker was here at the house with his youngest son Luke. He recalled to his son how Paul taught all the boys how to shoot with a .22 in the garage. Dale said Paul taught him how to hunt and let him use his over/under double barrel shot gun. Dale and his brothers and sister grew up coming to this house of Paul and Elaine’s.
Paul House was a man for all seasons and reasons. Dale, Tyler Huning and I have been a threesome since we were 15 years old. We are tight like family. If sharing stories of the past and people he knew, Tyler will always say, “Yeah, but he wasn’t the man like Paul House was.” Tyler saw Dad as a real man’s man. Then when it came to talking to Elaine House about old stories and history, she and Tyler could talk for hours on the phone. The two them discussed everything about New Mexico and certain people. Those conversations could last for hours.
Mom was great fun. No matter what it was she was eager to join in, but most of the time SHE CREATED THE FUN! One of many examples was as a member of Albuquerque Assistance League; she came up with the “Mystery Tours”. Open to members of League and their guests, those trips were a mystery until the time of departure. Elaine would lease the newest buses from Herrera Coaches and take her groups all over New Mexico, West Texas, Arizona and Southern Colorado, the trips lasted up to 4 days. Folks would sign-up on the day of announcement. Those trips were a hit! (“Mystery Tours” was the first and her creation, later a commercial business took her idea, I wonder why.)
Mom was a terrific problem solver and an impressive manager. You can read about her accomplishments and fully understand that from her broad range of experiences she might say, “been there and done that”. She was a perfect description of a volunteer. For instance, she was Superintendent of Sunday Schools for over 300 children every Sunday morning at Central United Methodist Church. Many times the Sunday school teacher(s) were unable to come, so Elaine would round-up all those kids and bring them down to the Chapel where she would play the piano and have sing-a-longs. She did that job for 6 years! Because she was ¾ Swedish and ¼ Noriegan she was resilient and strong. Under those circumstances she probably used the word “UffDa” a lot.
Scandinavian tradition was big at Christmas in our family and Mom’s sister Beverly’s family too. Christmas Dinner was always a full course Swedish menu that consisted of Swedish meatballs with rich gravy, mashed potatoes, hot vegetables, limpa bread, lefse and rice pudding with lingonberry sauce and yes of course, Lutefisk. “UffDa” again! Grandmother Bennett always had Lutefisk at her dinners. Uncle Bill would scoff up the fish. When Bradley’s two boys, Cameron and Austin, were full grown men Mom and I would have to make enough
meatballs to feed them and that included Dad too. The count was always 15 meatballs per man and a few for her and me. “UffDa”, it was work but blessed.
Mom was a smart shopper, she knew where to go for a particular item and find it on sale. She was always beautifully dressed. She and all her girlfriends had style. Dad and Brad were 6’6” tall men who needed long sleeves and pant legs. She would call Brad and declare, I found blue jeans, or a sport coat and for Dad the snazziest golf attire. He looked great and she knew he had to as President of the NM Senior Golf Assn. Let her know what you needed, she would find it. A couple years after Dad passed on I opened their Bible and he had circled Proverbs 31. It was his message to Mom that she was the perfect wife.
While I was a business woman, she loved finding gorgeous dresses and fabulous shoes for me. Mom would buy the clothes and I would send her the check. She would package up the clothes and label the box to send to me. Then she would meet with the manager at Greyhound station downtown. His name was Jerry Buckner and they knew each other well. He was the Capitan of the Lobo Football Team when I was in college and he dated one of my sorority sisters. Mom and Dad were always voted by the Alpha Chi Omega’s to be our formal party chaperons, so she and Jerry first became acquainted then. He’d say, “Hi Mrs. House, you got a package for Bev?”
Mom and Dad were great fun at those dances – because they could dance! They were very cool. The guys loved dancing with my pretty mom and the girls thought Dad was so handsome and he made sure he danced with all the girls. Paul and Elaine were good dancers all throughout their lives together.
Both my folks were blessed with many friends in Albuquerque, Roswell, throughout the State and all over the country. When they were first married and moved to Albuquerque after WWII they rented an attached apartment behind the house that Lois and Gale Sievert owned on Solano NE. From there the two couples attracted a group of friends, the Dekkers, Lancasters, Lyons, Jensens, Hills, Millers, Ramshaws, and Abernathys to name a few. This lifelong gang of friends were well known around Albuquerque as a great group of young married people. They all loved dancing and they had parties, some were costume parties or any type of get together just to dance – kick up their heels. Just yesterday Mimi Montgomery, one of us daughters, reminded me of one party called The Shipwreck Party and everyone wore whisky barrels with straps as if lost at sea. Not to forget, they also had square dancing nights where the girls dressed in fiesta dresses and
the guys wore cowboy boots and hats. They would rent the Martinez Town Community Center to have their bigger parties. They started clubs. They were professionals, they were devoted church members, some were business owners and they were volunteers. They made for great parents and even their kids became good friends.
Elaine Harriet Bennett was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 18, 1922 to Hilma Sophia and Frederick Reinhold Bennett. Her sister Beverly Jean was born five years later. The family was a member of the Epworth Methodist Church. Elaine graduated in 1940 from Roosevelt High School and afterward attended Hamlin University in St. Paul where she was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. She was promoted to a junior when she became engaged. She interrupted her college at that time.
Her father, Frederick Victorson, was a Swede who migrated to the United States and enlisted into the service to fight for the U.S. during WWI. He received his citizenship as an American for serving in the war. Upon arriving to America he changed his name to Bennett. It was the first name he could pronounce from a phone book. Years later he was the Superintendent of a top national highway construction business out of Minneapolis. He was building highways all over Montana when he was called to take his company to Roswell, New Mexico immediately. Word was the U.S. government needed to quickly build what would be the world’s longest air strip.
Paul House was a junior at West Texas State on a basketball scholarship. In the spring of 1942 his basketball team had just won their 3rd consecutive national championship at Madison Square Gardens in NYC. He and his two buddies returned to Roswell that summer of ’42 and heard that a Swedish man was hiring college guys for his crew south of town. The three Sigma Chi men, Paul, Art Dekker of KU and Dick Brennaman the quarterback at CSU showed up at Mr. Bennett’s house to ask for summer jobs. “Ya sure”, the big Swede said, “but first you come back here tonight and take my daughter and her girlfriend out on a date. They just drove into town today, all the way from Minnesota and they need to make new friends.” Elaine and her friend Helen Pickel were mortified that he arranged dates for them.
Miss Elaine Bennett and Lieutenant Paul Charles House, USMC, were married on Saturday, September 9, 1944 at 8 o’clock in the evening, at the colonial First Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia where George Washington
and Martha worshipped. Paul was sent to the Pacific and Elaine went back to Minneapolis to work until his return. After the war Paul finished up his college education at University of New Mexico with a secured job waiting for him at Sandia Laboratories. He retired from Sandia Labs in 1984. His retirement from the Marine Corps Reserves (USMCR), was accepted the day The Pueblo was captured by the Communists in October of 1969.
Their daughter Beverly Jean, nicknamed “Penny”, was born at Quantico, VA in 1952 when Paul was called back into active duty during The Korean War. They
were drawing up plans to build their house when their son Bradley Bennett was born in Albuquerque in 1954. Today their family home is 66 years old and still is thought of as a headquarters to family members and friends.
Elaine was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Paul and by her little brother Norman who was born before her and lived only a short while. She is survived by her daughter Beverly Jean “Penny” House Wilson; her son Bradley Bennett House and wife Jane; his son Cameron Michael House, his wife Camron and their son Caiden Bryant House; and Brad’s youngest son Austin Paul House. Also surviving her is her sister Beverly Jean Lancaster and her son, Elaine’s nephew, Steve Lancaster and his wife Norma, all of El Paso. There are many other nieces, nephews; grand and great grand, nieces and nephews throughout the country.
ELAINE’S CIVIC, STATE AND NATIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Albuquerque Assistance League -
President, First Vice-President, Chairman: 27 years, Bus Trips; Fund Raising; Public Relations; Arrangements; Project Research Evaluation; First Chairman of New Car Show and Silver Holiday Party Fashion Show both at ABQ Convention Center;
developed the Special Seniors Program; Member 1977-2020
General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Washington, D.C. -
Board Member 1974-76
Representative to Shell Oil and Energy; and Sears Roebuck Community Improvement;
Commission Member of the
National Traffic Safety Commission, Washington D.C.;
Bernalillo County Traffic Safety and the New Mexico Highway Safety Commission.
New Mexico Federation of Women’s Club’s -
Past State President, 1974-76; 56 Clubs, 3000+ members;
Developed statewide recreation areas in conjunction with the Bicentennial Commission of N.M. for State Hospitals in Las Vegas and Los Lunas; Built a large picnic area at the Carlsbad Area Handicapped Children’s Farm; Elaine’s State Projects were called
“New Horizon’s For The Handicapped”. She built and developed the Fort Stanton, NM Museum at the historical Fort Stanton, New Mexico. She developed the annual Christmas gift giving project for the patients of the NM State Hospital, Las Vegas, NM.
State Chairman 1982-84, Special Olympics; State President-Elect;
Past District 2 President, State Corresponding Secretary; First Vice-President;
Junior Woman’s Club of Albuquerque, President, 1959-60
New Mexico Children’s Psychiatric Center, - Executive Board Member
Albuquerque Child Guidance Center – Executive Board Member
Albuquerque Speech and Hearing Center -Executive Board Member
Albuquerque Child Guidance Center – Board Member
State of New Mexico Distinguished Citizen Award - -
Presented by Governor Jerry Apodaca
Cosmopolitan Woman’s Club, NMFWC-GFWC
President, 2008-09 and 1979-80; Member 1958-2018;
Chairman of “1983 New Day Project”, Home for runaway teenagers.
Alpha Chi Omega Sorority Mother’s Club – President
Sigma Chi Fraternity Intl. Grand Chapter – 1995
White Rose Luncheon, Co-Chairman
Central United Methodist Church –
Superintendent of Sunday Schools, 300+ children; 1956-62
Thunderbird Little League –
President of Mother’s Club – 1960
Please enjoy listening to a recording especially made for Elaine of
“Precious Lord, Take My Hand”, sung by Becky Walker a dear friend.
If you care to make a gift in kind, please consider the
Albuquerque Concert Band, the Redcross of NM. or charity of your choice. Thank you.