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Elaine Wenstrom

Elaine Wenstrom

September 20, 1937 – November 3, 2020

One of our favorite things about Mom was that at age 83, she was still saying that she didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up.

But she had already been so many things…..teacher, bookkeeper, business owner, adventurer, innovator, and then some.

Elaine bought a toy store on Treasure Island when we were still young.  She turned it into quite a success, developing a specialty focus on dollhouses and dollhouse furniture and décor.  She founded the Southeast Miniature Trade Association, which put on large shows at stadiums and similar venues.  As we grew up, we were put to work in the toy stores (which eventually became a small chain of 3) and got to test new toys before they were brought to market.

After meeting and marrying the love of her life, William Wenstrom, Elaine took early retirement and hit the road in an RV with Bill.  They spent many years living in that RV full time as they volunteered for a variety of interesting work that kept them in a constant state of travel and adventure.  Over time, they worked on a cattle ranch, ran a lighthouse, gave guided tours of various attractions, and in general had a blast.

When they’d come back to Florida for the winters, Elaine worked for the Follett Bookstores on college campuses.  One of her favorite locations was at the Ringling College of Art and Design.  She used to love to say that it kept her young, and that most of her friends there had tattoos and tongue rings.

Elaine loved living on Treasure Island. She adored the beach and all of the wonderful people who lived there. She used to throw fabulous Fourth of July parties.  People in boats would come anchor off of our seawall to hear the live music and watch the fireworks.

Elaine…Mom…was a good friend to many people.  She loved her daughters and her sister deeply.  She adored her little dog Layla, who will miss her terribly.  Mom was so much more than the sum of her parts.

Rest easy, Mom.  We were so lucky to have you.  Your loving daughters, Heather, Hilary, Belinda and Bonnie.  And, of course, Layla.

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  • Mary Jane Linton’ says:

    My dear friend, you are greatly missed. We spend many hours chatting and laughing about our younger years. REP my dear friend

  • Penny Jones says:

    “Mom”…fly free!!! Love and miss you always.

  • Heather Castillo says:

    Grandkids and great grandkids, I want you to know how very much she loved each one of you. She could not have been prouder.

  • Calandra Walker says:

    In hearing of your passing my heart dropped. Today, I release tears. I will miss you, and may God be with your family/your children. She loved her family dearly which includes Layla. I’m thankful that God gifted me a friend in you that I was able to share a small blessing that keeps giving: Layla. Love Calandra

  • Nicki & Mark Maddalena says:

    We are heartbroken to hear that your Mom passed away! We so loved to see her walking the neighborhood with Layla. She was a huge part of Mark’s childhood and will leave a big void where her smiling face always was. What an amazing woman! Our hearts share your pain and you know if there’s anything we can do just let us know! Heather, you’ve got our phone numbers. BIG HUGS, Nicki and Mark Maddalena

  • Lynn McCormick-McDonald says:

    Elaine was a volunteer for our Friends of the Library bookstore. She always came in with a smile. Sometimes she would come in with Layla and we all would smile. She will be greatly missed. My deepest condolences to the family.

  • Sandra Gordon says:

    Miss Elaine just this year accepted the position of President of our West Community Library “Friends of the Library” located on the St. Petersburg Gibbs Campus. She gave so much of her time and energy to the Bookstore in our library. She loved the library and from time to time would give me ideas on what program to carry to the library. We are devastated by the loss of our good friend and volunteer. We will miss you Miss Elaine, may your soul Rest in Peace! Godspeed!

  • Nancy & Chuck says:

    Our condolences to Hilary & family on the passing of your mom. It’s hard to say goodbye but glad you have wonderful memories of her. You’re in our thoughts. Love, Nancy & Chuck

  • Eleanor says:

    We met at a later period of your adventure. Your sister, Pat, introduced us at the Art Guild where we enjoyed many artsy activities. You were so generous and replaced me as W & W Chairperson directing fund raisers for the scholarship fund plus general guild expenses. I truly enjoyed our friendship and will miss your company. May you rest in peace. My love to a precious soul. Eleanor

  • Kitt Braccio says:

    Elaine was always a pleasure to see when she came into the library. A warm smile and a joy to talk with. She will be missed. RIP Elaine

  • Joyce Beattie says:

    Elaine will be sorely missed. She was active in our Friends of the Library store and group. We valued her expertise and friendship. Elaine often brightened my day at the library with her smiles and amusing little tales about Layla. Rest in Peace!

  • Mika says:

    Elaine was a special person who I was glad to meet and work with during my years at West St. Pete Library, SPC. She was eager to assist the library and community and worked diligently and dutifully in the Friend’s bookstore as if it were a paid position. She has done so much for the library over the years. Beyond her work, I enjoyed our talks when we were able to have them and her modeling of ways to get things done; whether she knew it or not, she was a guide and someone to learn from and I am glad I had the opportunity to observe and listen.

  • scott pownall says:

    Elaine was a very special lady. I remember her as neighborhood Mom, also use to visit her at the toy store & Wenstorm Chevron and later on at the Library book store She always had a kind word and smile for you. She will missed God rest her Sole.

  • Heather says:

    I missed you on my birthday, Mom. It was my first “real” birthday in my life that you didn’t make a big deal about. But I know you’re safe and happy where you are. All my love forever. ❤️

  • Darlene says:

    Elaine you will be greatly missed strolling down 6th Ave with Layla. We are the crazy clan that live on the corner. She loved my brother Roosters cooking and his fish spread. When the smoker was going she always stopped over. We could talk for hours. What a great soul. Until I meet up with ya. RIP my friend.

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