Mary “Elaine” Forrest, 81, of Winthrop, Washington, passed away in her home on Oct. 5, 2020. She was born Nov. 11, 1938, to Harold Creston and Vera Ridout Creston in Tacoma, Washington, and raised in Tacoma and Hollywood, California. Elaine graduated from Hollywood High in 1956 then worked at Woolworths and a laundromat to save money.
By 1958, she felt the call of adventure and asked her twin aunts Esther Cole and Edith Willis in Juneau, Alaska, if she could visit. They were happy to have their young niece join them, so she bought a one-way ticket. That summer she attended a house party where she met her future husband, Steve Forrest, whose parents were close friends of Esther and Edith. Steve and Elaine arrived with their own dates but from the moment they met, they spent the evening talking by his parent’s great stone fireplace.
In the fall, Elaine attended the University of Montana for a quarter, but thought marrying the love of her life far more alluring. They married Dec. 20, 1958, in Van Nuys, California, near the home of Elaine’s parents. Their eldest daughter, Christine Marie, was born in April 1960, shortly before Steve graduated from Stanford University. They then moved back to Juneau where two more daughters were born, Julie Alene in July 1961, and Leslie Ann on Halloween 1966.
While Elaine was “Mama” to her three girls, she was also from time-to-time a backup secretary for Linn A. Forrest Architects A.I.A. (“The best we ever had,” Steve declared). During their time in Juneau, they built two custom homes in Lena Cove. The family was very close always and did everything together including many boating adventures in southeast Alaska.
Additionally, Elaine and Steve learned sailing skills, and in 1979 when Chris left for college and Julie graduated from Juneau-Douglas High, they spirited their 12-yr-old daughter, Leslie, away on their sailboat “Flicker” for a three-year sailing journey around the U.S., via Mexico, the Panama Canal, the Caribbean, the Eastern States, and Hawaii. Upon returning in June 1982 from this marvelous adventure, Elaine helped her architect/contractor husband continue to build a number of custom homes from 1983 to 2020, always “holding the other end of the board.” In between house building, they had one more sailing adventure to the South Pacific in the late 1980s before becoming landlubbers. They never lost their love for building – they just finally had to stop as octogenarians. Elaine and Steve built homes in Juneau, Friday Harbor and Winthrop, Washington, and cabins in Gambier Bay, Alaska, and Winthrop.
Elaine loved being with her family and doing activities as a family. She especially enjoyed gardening and landscaping, birdwatching, photographing mushrooms, beachcombing, cooking, and spending time at the Gambier Bay cabin where she learned to kayak. For the family, Elaine was a Mate and Mother, the best in the world. Elaine valiantly fought ovarian cancer for more than four years. She is survived by her husband, John Steven Forrest; her daughters Christine Kondzela (Kurt), Julie Gimbel (Aaron) and Leslie Reusser (Richard); her sisters Saundra Kaye Houston and Susan Maxwell; numerous nieces and nephews; and her grandchildren Molly and Connor Reusser. She is preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Harold Warren Creston. The family may be contacted at P.O. Box 917, Winthrop, WA 98862.