Nothing in life gave Elaine Goldsmith more joy than to be surrounded by family and friends. The life Elaine built with her husband Russell grew from a big heart to fill a lively dining room table, a house that was home and “home away from home” to many, and a sailboat where there was always “room for one more” on board. For decades of Thanksgivings, Passovers and family celebrations, Elaine and Russell’s table overflowed with food, family, friends, guests, discussion and laughter.
Early Thursday morning, May 27th, Elaine passed away peacefully with her children David, Susan and Judy by her side.
To her last day, Elaine lived at home in Salem, with the constant companionship of family and friends. In her final months, she lived joyously, having an opportunity to visit with family from around the country. Just weeks ago, Elaine went to brunch at the Boston Yacht Club, and after finishing her lobster roll and watching small boats sailing on the harbor, commented how blessed she was in her life. It was a moment, surrounded by family, friends, food and sailboats, emblematic of the blessings Elaine found, cultivated and shared in the life she lived for 89 years.
Elaine Mark was born in Columbus, Ohio, the daughter of the late Jule and Florence (Schiff) Mark and the sister of the late Leon Mark. The Mark family lived in the Columbus suburb of Bexley. As a teen, Elaine had gone on a family vacation to New England, and soon decided that the New England coast was where she wanted to live. She chose Colby College in Maine, where she met Russell Goldsmith, her husband of nearly 50 years. Russell and Elaine settled on the North Shore where they raised their children David, Susan and Judy in Swampscott and Marblehead.
Elaine assisted with office work in the family laundry business and was active with the League of Women Voters. She also volunteered with transportation for immigrants newly settling in the area. She was an avid card player and made long- lasting friendships in both a weekly Bridge Club with Russell and a weekly Canasta lunch group of women friends.
Elaine’s claim to fame, however, was her own and her husband Russell’s welcoming open-door willingness to share their home in Marblehead, their ski house and their beloved sailboat, Hoolimar. Many family and friends were welcomed into the Goldsmith house when they needed a place to stay due to school, moving, building and/or renovating a home or other transitions. In the same spirit, the Hoolimar was always a welcoming place for family and friends to day sail or cruise with, whether it was Marblehead, Maine, Nova Scotia, Cape Cod, Europe or the Caribbean. And in the winter, the ski house the Goldsmiths shared with another family was always open for family and friends wanting to share their company and enjoy the slopes.
Elaine was the peacekeeper of the family, as well as a mother, sister, sister-in-law, grandmother, aunt, cousin, “other mother” and friend to so many over the years. Everyone in our extended family considered themselves very lucky to have shared in Elaine’s love of life with her.
While battling melanoma, Elaine often quipped she had lived long enough for her “to become a burden” to her children, but our memories are filled only with the blessings of her company.
Elaine is survived by her son David Goldsmith of Salem, her daughter Susan Goldsmith and her husband Nelson Hockert-Lotz of Mattapoisett, her daughter Judy Matfess and her husband Michael Matfess of Topsfield, and her grandchildren Danielle and Joshua Matfess and Paulaine Goldsmith.
The family expresses its deepest appreciation for years of loving care to Dr. Joel Schwartz, of the North Shore Cancer Center, and his staff; and to the caregivers of Care Dimensions Hospice and Freedom Home Care, who assisted Elaine and her family in her final months.
A Celebration of Life is planned for later this year.
Donations in Elaine’s memory may be directed to WGBH, which brought much joy to her life for decades; and the Massachusetts General Hospital North Shore Cancer Center, which provided her with 17 years of exceptional care. Those mailing checks may address them to MG NS Cancer Center, 102 Endicott St., Danvers, MA 01923.
Arrangements were handled by Stanetsky-Hymanson Memorial Chapel, Salem.