Obituary for Elsie Abrams
Elsie Mae Ekstedt Abrams passed away at the age of 82 on May 3, 2017, in Lithia, FL, ending her battle with Alzheimer’s, one month after her husband, Richard walked out the door to heaven.
Elsie was born on December 18, 1934 in Nora Springs, Iowa to Rev. Richard H. and Lillian Helm Ekstedt, TEAM missionaries and world evangelists. She was the oldest of 4 siblings, and the family lived in Venezuela, Curacao and Aruba during her childhood. She had fond memories of her time in Curacao where she loved swimming with her brothers in the ocean. Elsie moved to Everett, WA to live with her aunt, Elvera Evers and her family for high school, where she graduated in 1952. She returned for one year to live with her parents first in Aruba, then back to Curacao, working with her parents in their ministry which included a month-long missionary trip she and her mother made together to Surinam. She then returned to the US to attend Simpson Bible College in San Francisco, CA to prepare for her own ministry. There she met Richard Abrams, a pastor’s son who was also preparing for a missionary career. They were married on June 21, 1958 following her graduation from Simpson. She settled into domestic life, taking a few courses here and there while Richard continued at Simpson. Their first daughter, Linda was born there in San Francisco. Richard graduated in 1960 and a few weeks later, he and Elsie were in a pastorate in Price, Utah where they served for two years, and their second daughter, Lois was born.
Elsie and Richard and their daughters went to Costa Rica for Spanish language training in August 1962, and in 1963 they started their missionary career in Peru, South America. In 1964, while the family lived in Chimbote, Elsie went to Lima, Peru to give birth to their son, Richard. The family moved to Tingo Maria, furloughed in Glendale, CA, before returning to Huanuco, Peru. In 1969, she went to Lima for the birth of daughter Elisabeth (Beth). The family lived in Chiclayo, furloughed in Canby, OR, and then in Lima, the capital of Peru where they continued to live and serve until they moved to Quito, Ecuador and eventually Miami, FL. Each move meant completely setting up house and arranging domestic help which Elsie did without complaint. She worked in the churches they served, mentoring, teaching, and hosting many people in her home. They served in Peru for over 30 years and several years in Quito, Ecuador and Miami FL before retiring to Salem, OR.
Elsie and Richard loved their time there in Oregon, being near Richard and his family and Beth and her family. They were involved in the Dallas Alliance Church in Dallas Oregon, singing in the choir and leading an adult Sunday School class where Elsie taught with the same dedication as she had taught at the seminary in Lima previously. They also were greatly honored to return to Lima, Peru in 2013 for the 40th anniversary of the Encounter with God program, a large part of their ministry in South America. In 2015 as Elsie’s health declined, she and Richard moved to Lithia, FL to live with daughter, Beth Boesenberg and her family.
Elsie is survived by her children Linda Abrams Friesen (Ray), Lois Abrams Bruton (William), Richard James Abrams lll (Tina) and Elisabeth Abrams Boesenberg (Eric), grandchildren Alan (Jennifer) Friesen, Jaclyn (Jerry) Barnes, Angela (Chris) Wright, Colin Friesen, David Artieda, Miranda (Ethan) Wilson, Jared Abrams, Alexander Boesenberg, Elisa Boesenberg, Zane Abrams, Andrew Boesenberg and Angelica Boesenberg, and great grandchildren Trulee, Blake, Gabriel, Amy, Anna, Titus and Owen. She is also survived by her nieces, Raven (Steve) Ruch, Lorna (Brian) Kohl, Lenna (Geof) Stark, Debbie (Mike) Beaudoin and her nephew Randall (Amy) Ekstedt and their families. She is survived by her brother David (Edith) Ekstedt, and her beloved cousins.
Elsie was very quiet, with a wry sense of humor, but nevertheless a passionate person, with a deep love for God, her family, and great compassion for the people of Peru and Israel. She had a gift for handicrafts, making doll clothes by hand for her daughters, crocheting, beading, doll making and cross-stitch among others, often gifting her results. She will be missed deeply by all who knew her, her spiritual children in Peru, her former missionary colleagues and her friends from Dallas, OR.
Please share your favorite memories, stories and photos of Elsie in her guestbook below, and share this page with those who knew her.
Elsie will be laid to rest at Serenity Meadows Memorial Park in Riverview, FL. Viewing and funeral service are at 12:30 p.m., with burial to follow.