Elaine Ference, beloved friend and godmother passed suddenly on September 21, 2017, three days after her 73rd birthday. She was born September 18, 1944 to Joseph and Cecelia Ference of Wayne, Michigan. Possessing a superior intellect she pursued her education with fervor, acquiring a B.A. in Anthropology and English, graduating with honors from the University of California, Berkley in 1969. In 1975 she received a nursing degree from Florida Junior College in Jacksonville, Florida, and in 1992 she was awarded her Juris Doctorate, specializing in health law, from the University of Detroit School of Law. She was a member of the Michigan Bar Association. Elaine tenaciously sought out challenges in life, and, coupled with her outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, she focused her professional career in the field of nursing. She began her nursing career as a staff nurse at Saline Community Hospital, later transitioning to the University of Michigan caring for patients in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. She was a nursing coordinator at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Ann Arbor for several years before moving to Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital, initially as a nursing supervisor before taking a position in the risk management department. Combining her legal expertise and nursing experience enabled her to provide risk management support services to the health system, work closely with hospital counsel, teach educational workshops and seminars for clinical and non-clinical staff, and collaborate on policy procedure and development. In 2005 she returned to the University of Michigan as a manager for the central staffing resource department, supervising both medical and intensive care unit nursing clusters for several years before becoming a patient flow/department triage coordinator, working full time in this roll until her passing.
During her nursing career she provided immeasurable personal and professional support and guidance for nurses, ancillary staff, and administration alike. She made many lifelong friends everywhere she went, several who became family.
Elaine was incredibly curious about the world – she loved learning about other countries, traditions and people. No thought or idea was too small to explore or share. An ardent letter writer, she maintained lifelong friendships around the world, hosting friends from Britain and Japan who came to visit in Saline. She adored listening to and sharing stories, all for the joy and understanding of people as individuals and the cultural communities that connect us all. She was interested in what was happening in the world and, in her tenacious way, never faltered at sharing her thoughts about current events, politics, or her hopes and dreams for the next generation. Her own story is grounded deeply on her cherished family farm which was filled with Ukrainian traditions, arts, and hard work. She lived for her land and those she loved. These attributes, along with her substantial sense of community, enabled her to spend her adult life living in Saline and enjoying her lifelong passion for gardening, creating several gardens she planted and tended to every year. Various flowers, plants, and vegetables were enjoyed and shared with her many friends. A talented musician, she played the guitar, piano, and organ. She was an ardent animal lover as well, four-legged and winged alike. During her lifetime many a furry face was welcomed to her home; she cared for one and all. Her beloved dogs Spencer and Winston survive her.
Elaine is also survived by several lifelong friends spanning two generations, as well as three goddaughters. She was preceded in death by her mother, Cecelia Ference and her brother David.
Elaine made the world a better place for being in it; she lived a life of love. To honor her a memorial celebrating her life will take place on Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 P.M. at the Saline Area Senior Center, 7190 North Maple Road, Saline, providing an opportunity for her many friends and co-workers to share our experiences and stories of a multi-faceted woman whom we were all blessed to have in our lives. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Humane Society of Huron Valley or PETA, two organizations Elaine greatly supported.
Elaine’s generosity, loyalty, and devotion to those she loved will remain eternal. The void in all of our lives is vast, and we will cherish our memories and ensure that her stunning life force continues to live on in all of us.