OBITUARIES: Elfie Joanne Stevenin

Elfie Joanne Stevenin

Elfie Joanne Stevenin was born August 20, 1921, in Leipzig, Germany. She completed high school and college at the Padagogesches Institute in Leipzig. After graduation she began studies in ballet and received her degree in dance from the Fine Arts Guild in Dresden.

She was accepted in the Corps de Ballet at the Nordhausen (Thuringa) Municipal Theatre. At the end of World War II she moved to Nurnberg (Bavaria) and was a dancer with the Nurnberg-Furth Opera-House.

In 1948 she married U.S. Serviceman Staff Sergeant Marion Randolph Burrell and arrived in the United States July 4, 1948, as a World War II War bride. Her daughter, Susan, was born in the Army Hospital in Fort Lewis, Washington.

Since 1957 she lived in Salem, Oregon. Elfie taught ballet in Olympia, Washington, and operated her own Ballet School in Salem from 1957 through 1999. She kept up her studies of ballet at the Lake Oswego School of Ballet under Marjorie Soriano and became a certified, registered and accredited teacher of ballet for the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England.

She retired from teaching in 1999 and entered the senior community service employment program under sponsorship of the AARP foundation with assignments as office clerk at Salem City Hall, Social Security Administration and her last job with the Oregon State Hospital in the medical doctors staff library as assistant librarian.

She was a volunteer for the Willamette chapter of the American Red Cross from 1970 to 1975 as Safety Services administrator. Elfie was involved in swimming and was a water safety snstructor and lifeguard at the Salem YMCA as well as an aerobics instructor. She also was the administrator for the Columbia Basin Swim League from 1983 through 2003.

She became an enthusiastic U.S. Master Swimmer in the U.S. Master Swimming program and had numerous recognitions, medals and plaques. She was named “All American” in 2006.

Elfie became a naturalized US citizen in 1953. She is a member of Salem’s First Presbyterian Church, an active dean and chancel choir member. She is survived by her daughter, Susan, and son-in-law Brian Case, in Salem. And many nieces and nephews in Germany.

Memorial services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church on Thursday, May 4th.


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