- 67 years old
- Date of birth: Aug 24, 1943
- Place of birth:
- Date of passing: Mar 8, 2011
- Place of passing:
Santa Cruz, California, United States
|May the memory of Elke's cooking tickle our taste buds, and the warmth of her smile live within our hearts forever!|
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 70 YEARS!
I wish you were here today so we could have a huge celebration!!! We would try to cook for you but I know you would want to do it yourself. At least the cake. I'm picturing the one you made for Opa on his 70th with the martzipan rose that you spend hours creating. You were so proud of it and he was beaming with joy that you did that for him. I'll go pick up some Irises today and light a candle for you. I still think about you several times a day. Sometimes dozens. I'm so sorry I took you for granted. I wish I knew then what I know now. It's strange, I feel like I'm getting to know you better now that you are gone. I'm actually appreciating and understanding things that used to upset or confuse me. Thank you for that gift. It is teaching me how to better appreciate the people I love.
I'll give the boys a kiss for you. I love you so much. Forever and ever!!!
Hi Mom. It has been two years since you passed away. Wow. Two years. It seems like yesterday and also forever ago. Although this was the worst day of my life, I don't want to remember it that way. I know you wouldn't want me to be sad today--or any day for that matter. So instead, I am going to use the date of March 8th to remember all of the beautiful, amazing family and friends who surrounded me with love and comfort. People brought me flowers, dinners and thoughtful cards. I received phone calls from my friends and yours that I hadn't heard from in over 20 years! People you worked with 30 years ago called to let me know they still thought of you and remembered your kind heart and warm hugs. Everyone shared such wonderful memories of you. Even the principal of the boys' school showed up on my doorstep with a meal he cooked for our whole family. My world was ripped apart that day, but it was instantly filled with grace and love. I have to hold on to and remember these moments. If I think about what I lost, it's unbearable. If I reflect on all of the amazing people in my life who showed up when I needed it most, I can get through days like today.
I love you so much and I think about you every day.
It is now November and the holidays are upon us. It was so difficult last year to sit at the Thanksgiving table without you. It didn't even seem like it was Thanksgiving, but just some weird Thursday that no longer made any sense. I had your last jar of Cranberry sauce that had been sitting in my fridge for this special night. I couldn't even bring myself to try it. I knew it was the last one and if I had some, I would solidify that. I just stared at the bowl. I wondered what you were doing when you were cooking it and what songs were playing in the background. I wondered what other dishes lined the counters in your kitchen as you hummed along to your music and cooked for hours with love in every stir, whip, and addition. So, what do I do now. I try to make your sauces, and cookies but they simply don't compare. They're good enough, after all, you DID teach me a few things, but they lack that spirit that went along with it. Your giddy smile as you handed us your wonderful creations - eager to know what we thought. Your attention to what each of us wanted in our persimmon cookies - some with nuts, some with raisins, and some with both (or for my boys...neither!). You cared about everyone and everything. It wasn't just food you handed us, but an offering of your soul. Every bite told us who you were, what mattered to you and how much you loved.
I will get through these next couple of months because of those memories. We'll make some of your recipees and remember you. And luckily, I saved one last bit of your cranberry sauce in my freezer. And if I'm brave enough, I may have it with my meal one last time.
I love you always and forever.
Happy Birthday Mama!
Today you would be 69. I wish I could make you dinner tonight. Instead, dad is coming over and we will all have a toast to you.
I made Baklava. Not EVEN as good as yours ;-)
I've been thinking a lot about your life, and how it started. You really had it rough from the very beginning. I'm now finally starting to realize and understand your true strength and how you persevered - even triumphed! I wish I could have told you how much I admired you. I'm only now becoming aware as I'm able to reflect on who you really were as a person, and not just my mom. The only comfort I get in your passing is knowing that you are finally at ease. The rest and peace you so deserved. Thank you for being my mom. You were always there for me, no matter what. Unconditional. I've heard that word a million times but you taught me what it really means.
I miss you so much!!!!
Forever your grateful daughter, Drea.
I cannot believe it has been one year. I think about you many times, each and every day. I feel like you are always with me though. The other night I wore your earrings. Yesterday I cooked from a pan of yours. This morning I made a smoothie in your cherished Vitamix blender. Also, every night outside my bedroom window, a frog croaks for a few minutes. I like to think it's you wishing me sweet dreams or "schlaf gut" as you used to always say. (By the way, Sonja and I can't figure out why you loved frogs so much! Why did you???). I bought some Irises today- your favorites- and put them all around the house. I guess these little things help me feel like you are still here. It helps a little.
But still, l would do anything for a hug.
I love you forever.....
Elke Landis passed away due to an embolism on March 8, 2011, in her
home in Santa Cruz. Born Elke Niklausen in Stuttgart, Germany, on
August 24, 1943, she came to San Francisco in her early twenties after
an ambitious journey around the world with two girlfriends. She married
Kit Landis in 1971 and moved first to Ben Lomond, where her two
daughters, Andrea and Sonja, were born, and later moved to Santa
A skilled homemaker and hard-working single mother, Elke held many jobs over the years to support her family. She was office manager for the Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital and bookkeeper for many businesses, including most recently Fitz Fresh in Watsonville. Cooking was her greatest passion, and her mastery of classic French cuisine earned her a position as head chef at the Shadowbrook restaurant in the early 1980s. In 1989, she opened Elke’s Express Cuisine, offering gourmet lunches and dinners to go.
A true nurturer, Elke loved animals and surrounded herself with dogs, cats and, once, even a land otter. She grew her own vegetables, herbs and flowers and filled her home with a multitude of plants as well as a collection of anything to do with frogs. Above all, she nurtured her children and grandchildren with generosity and affection and loved nothing more than gathering friends and family to share her wonderful food and hospitality, elevating even the smallest occasion into a celebration.
A woman with a big heart, Elke loved unconditionally and never hesitated to help or listen to others, always putting their needs above her own. She is survived by daughters Andrea Hultzen and Sonja Landis, son-in-law Bobby Hultzen, grandsons Tre and Jace Hultzen, and several nieces and nephews in Germany.
If the measure of a person’s life is indeed how he or she leaves others feeling, Elke lived a life on the highest plane. Her kindness and unselfish goodness will be missed by all whose lives she touched. A celebration of Elke’s life will be held on Sunday, March 20th, at the Elks Lodge from 2-4pm
"Dear Elke, I miss you so much and am trying to be that older loving presence for your dear Andrea. Of course nobody could ever take your place. We all miss you so much. Love. Diane"
"Elke has the same birthday as my second grandchild Gavin! I will never forget Elke's birthday. We all loved and miss Elke. I can hear her wonderful voice right now. There are some very exceptional friends in your lifetime that you will hold close in your memory and heart forever. I still have stories I would love to tell her."
"Dear Andrea, I miss your sweet mother so much. She was so good to me and our entire family. She epitomized warmth, welcome, giving and love. You have these same qualities and I love you so much. Love, Aunt Diane"
"To Sonja and Andrea, I was on Facebook and found my memorial to Elke with all my children's comments just today. It is four years to the day that we commented on Facebook about Elke. We all loved Elke. She was so special to all of us. She will never be forgotten. Elke was unique, loving and wonderful. May your memories of your delightful mother bring you peace. Love from the Spencer family"
"Mom, I miss how I used to feel when you were alive. It's not the same anymore. Every day life is so different without you. I told you not to die"
"Dear Andrea, Your mother has asked me to tell you what a wonderful daughter you have been and are to her. You were a constant joy in her life and she loved having you as a daughter. She does know how much you love and miss her. She asked me to tell you to enjoy each day and be happy because life is all too short. She wants you to remember the happy times you had together and she wants you to know that she loves you and misses you very much too. Love, Aunt Diane"
"Elke was so kind, and such a loving person. And such a caring mother. She will always be missed by those who knew her, especially her daughters, who were the center of her life. She knew what unconditional love is all about. Smile at someone today to remember her, the way she smiled at everyone she met."
"Happy Birthday Elke! I can still see your wonderful smile and hear your great laugh! My nephew Gavin now shares your birthday. I was talking with my Mom about you today as we were celebrating his birthday. It brought a smile to my face thinking of you today. xo"
"This would have been a memorable birthday for an unforgettable person. Let us celebrate her life!"
"Elke, you left much too soon...
I was in Camel last November and would have stopped by to see you..
it was always great to be with you..
You were always thinking about the others, not enough about yourself..
I Love you and miss you..."
"Just the other day I was driving and thought I saw Elke's Lexus. In fact I had to do a double take as I really thought it was her driving next to me. It was so surreal as if it really was still her. I guess it was a reminder that she is missed and even though she is no longer here, she is still with us in some way. Sending love to you, Elke and to those that love and miss you."
""Elke, I feel your spirit in Andrea so strongly. I know you are still all around your family, your love filling their hearts with compassion and kindness, forgiveness and generosity.""
"My mommy my mommy my mommy my mommy my mommy my mommy MY MOMMY! MY MOMMY!!! My mommy my mommy my mommy my mommy my mommy my mommy my mommy my mommy my mommy She is MY MOMMY my mommy my. Mommy my mommy my mommy"
"Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy Momy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mama mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy I mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy momma mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy my mommy mine"
"Elke would come to the office with her mushrooms wanting everyone to try them. Her other proud specialty was her Vietnamese coconut cake. Everyone loved Elke and looked forward to her visit! We would all often go out to eat for lunch as a group. We had so many laughs. I will never forget Elke! She is so missed...."
"To Andrea and Sonja, not a week goes by that I do not think of Elke. She was always there for me with her optimistic outlook when I was down. We would talk for hours on the phone, almost every week. I miss her sooo much! Elke was a very special person. There are those irreplaceable people in your life who you can never replace, charming, special, understanding, and unique!"
"Dre, you describe your mom so well. I can see her smile as she presents her food to us. She knew that she brought smiles and good feelings with all her delicious treats and foods. This is the time for persimmon cookies....how many batches did she make...she seemed to have enough for everyone. We love you Elke, Andrea and Sonja."
"I just bought persimmons. For as long as I can remember, November and December meant my mom would be picking the persimmons from our tree and making her coveted cookies for the next two months. We all looked forward to our bag of cookies at each gathering. I'm thinking I should make some this year. Maybe I'll even drive by our old house and see if I can pick a few from mom's tree..."
"This time of year is the worst time November because thanksgiving is coming up. The smell in the air, the temperature outside, the sun and where it sets and falls. It's all the biggest reminder of my mom. Everything seems so much more real. And the reality makes me so sad."
"Dear Elke, I am crying as I write this after reading the many tributes to you and remembering what a wonderful person you were. You epitomize the gracious, generous hostess...always including everyone and making your wonderful food as a symbol of your love for all of us. II admire you so much and wish I could cook you a wonderful meal and talk to tell you I love you. Diane and Tom"
"Happy Birthday Sweet Mama! I love you so much. Forever and ever!!!! I'll be looking for the signs that you love to send me!"
"Hi Mom. The other night, on our cruise ship, I was feeling sad and thinking about you. I stood out on the balcony and listened to the ocean, hoping I would hear your voice. I asked for you to send me a sign. I went to dinner and returned to my room. The room attendants had been making animals out of towels each night on our bed. This night, there was a frog. Thank you....."
"Mommy!!! It's my Birthday
GOD!!!!!!! Why???!!!!!! My Mommy"
"Elke - You are with me always. Such a special and thoughtful person. It's hard to not feel sadness today. I am so grateful and lucky to have known you for 30 years and sad I can't tell you this but hope you know.
I miss you so much . One year ago today was the worst day of my life.
You were such a good Mom. I feel like you loved me more than any Mom has ever loved there child. No one is ever going to love me as much as you did. I really miss that feeling. You were my best friend. Im glad you kne"
"FOREVER is a difficult concept to grasp."
I cannot believe it has been one year. I think about you many times, each and every day. I feel like you are always with me though. The other night I wore your earrings. Yesterday I cooked from a pan of yours. This morning I made a smoothie in your cherished Vitamix blender. Also, every night outside my bedroom window, a frog croaks for a few minutes. I like to think it's you w"
"Dear Elke: You were such a loving mom, and Sonja and Andrea will miss you forever. And you were a great person and friend. We will all miss you forever.
"Hi Mom. I took out the cranberry sauce that you made last year from the freezer. Tomorrow when we have it with our meal, it will be the last time I ever taste your food. I have never had a Thanksgiving without you. It's just not the same. I wish you were here..."
"I need to talk to you but i cant find you"
"My dear sister, I thought of you on your birthday and I am surprised to see more pictures from you. Well done Andrea, your mom can be proud of her family, keeping up all memories. You are so far away, but very near to my heart! Love Claudia"
"Hi Mom! The boys are watching "America's Got Talent" each week now. You introduced them to it last year and they still love it. I remember watching it with you at your house and how much you enjoyed it. Seeing you laugh was great!"
What I wouldn't give to spend this day with you. Happy Birthday dear one. I think about you so often and send much love to Andrea and Sonja."
"I miss dear Elke so much. she left us too early. Your wonderful daughter, Andrea, is carrying on your wonderful tradition of keeping the family together with wonderful family parties where we can stay together. You are with us in spirit. We love and miss you. Diane and Tom"
"To know Elke, to be a part of her life makes us feel very happy. She was a wonderful person and we have many happy memories. The wolrd has lost a beautiful soul who is dearly missed. We think of you, Frank and my family from Germany."
"Elke tonight would be one of our nights together.. we use to be together to watch Dancing with the Stars.. It was fun to talk to you about the dancing you loved so. You are so missed Love you Sandy"
"More than 40 yrs of friendship! With Doris travelling around the world, letters, phonecalls, visits: we always kept in touch. Thank you for your deep friendship and love - we already miss you so much. Auf Wiedersehen Elke !!! Rosemarie and Peter"
"Sweet Sonja & Dre...you were the light in your mom's world. Unconditional love. Her teachings came from her heart. I am so grateful to have known her, and I feel your loss. I hug you both from my heart as well."
"We are sorry to hear of Elke's passing.We have such fond memories of her especially her wonderful cooking. She fixed antelope stew for us, we bartered mushrooms for black bean enchiladas. She graciously shared her stew recipes with us.We miss her."
"I am so grateful that we had seen each other last year in October. None of us had thought it would be the last time. Thanks for sharing your most secret recipes with me. I will keep them in honor. I will miss you, not only in skype. Love, your nephew"
"Elke, with a smile from the time you came to work in the morning until you left for the day, a kind and thoughtful person, you were always ready to help others. Your cooking in the office was always a treat! Thank you for being you. You are missed."
"I was walking Charlie this morning and stummbled upon the most beautiful single Iris flower in the middle of no where. I suppose you were telling me hi. Thank you, I needed that. I love you MoM xoxoxooxoxoxoxo"
"Mommy!!!! I miss you Soooooxoxoxoxxoxox Much. I know you know. My sisters Birthday today!!!"
"Dearest Elke..It has been a long time. Always on my mind. Shocked I was! My dear friend. I remember the good times. Ben Lomond, The babies, the always vivacious you, the fun times, the crazy times, your food, the caffe, your support."
"Elke, you were so kind and gracious to me. Thank you for inviting me to your family celebrations with all that great food and love. I will miss our lunches. I loved laughing and sharing our common joys and sorrows, always about family.Love always!"
"Liebe Elke, Thank you for always making me and my family always feel so welcome every holiday. You and Andrea were the glue that brought the family together every Christmas. You always cooked with such love. I miss my "foodie" pal.Love,Diane Woodruff"
"Linda and Robert Hirsch Leticia Villarreal lit a candle on 16th March 2011 Your a wonderful lady. Great time when the girls were young. I will always rememeber your smile and that great hug you gave. Love you"
"Doris Weyer, We traveled the world together, it was the most wonderful time. She was full of energy and a lot of fun. She was an artist in the cooking department. I love her and will miss her. She will always be in my heart. Good by Elke, I love you"
"I am so sad that we have lost Elke - I will always remember her enthusiasm for life & her joy of cooking. We took a tennis class together about 7 years ago & she was just as enthusiastic about tennis as she was about cooking! Miss and love you, Elke."
"Elke was more than a stepsister to me. I was suffering when hearing Heide passed away, but now I am feeling really lonely. Thank you for sharing your life with me. I will remember and miss her for lifetime. Love Claudia"
"Elke was my bookeeper for the last 4 years and my dear friend. We would always end up talking part of the day about what had been going on with both of us.I cant believe she is gone. The world has lost a beautiful soul who is dearly missed."
"Elke, one of the most special and precious persons I have met in my travels through life. Friends since her time in Ben Lomond, I am so thankful for that. Lover of life, daughters, friends.. always a smile.. all that and much more !!"
"To Elke, always upbeat, you were a joy to be around! You became my bookkeeper and then my very good friend, confidant and great optimist! You could handle Jim and his payroll, for that you can go straight to heaven! You gave such compassionate and straight forward advice and were filled with love for your family and friends, totally unique and irreplaceable! Rest in peace, with love Janice"
"Elke.lets watch tv tonight i will bring the fixings for a Lemon Drop.. Missing you a bunch. Love Ya!"
"My Dear Sweet Elke,
I miss you so much, it's hard getting through the days without you in them. You were my best friend, compadre at work, and like my Mom EVERYDAY! I miss being able to call you at any time and talk to you. We have shared so many memories together in our 9 years of friendship, and many secrets too :) You taugh me so much in life, I am a better person having know you. LOVE"
"Elke was a dear friend of mine. My heart was broken when i got the call of her passing.We lived across the street form one another. She was a real strong loving lady. Who would do any thing for her girls. They were her life. It was nice when she could relax and do a few things for her self later in life..She worked so hard just to make ends meet.. She was always there for all her friends."
"I'm so heartbroken! We had spoken about getting together many times. It saddens me that we won't get that chance. I have nothing but absolutely wonderful and beautiful memories of Elke. She was a bright spirit with so much to give. She LOVED her girls and grandchildren, always sharing lovely stories of motherhood and how proud she was of her family. I will miss her immensely!"
"Elke is one of my oldest friends. We met when my former husband and I rented the smaller cottage on her property in Ben Lomond.
I have so many happy memories that include Elke. She was my only attendant at my wedding to my former husband. She taught me how to cook, she taught me how to mother my kids and she taught me what a friend really is. I will remember her with love for my lifetime."
"Mom...you should hear all of the wonderful things people are saying about you. I can only hope you knew how adored you were. I will always remember, honor, and love you. I miss you so much already....love, dre"
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