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Casa Rosa Food Pantry celebrates the life of its mentor: Elsie DeLara

—Sherrill Cloud

Relatives and friends throughout the Placitas community and beyond are mourning the recent passing of longtime Placitas resident Elsie DeLara. Casa Rosa Food Pantry is also saddened by the loss of its long-time mentor; however, she leaves a legacy of happy memories for the volunteers and clients. Elsie was Casa Rosa before the food pantry existed. She was “the person” in Placitas who consistently gave help to those in need in the community by providing food and many other forms of support. During holidays, she especially enjoyed setting up tables on her lawn and cooking food for all who wanted to participate.

When Casa Rosa was established in 2008, Elsie immediately began helping as a volunteer and continued until her recent illness, walking the few yards from her nearby house to the pink house. On Saturday mornings, she arrived early but couldn’t start her work until she had greeted everyone with a hug; that was always Elsie’s way of saying hello. Elsie would then familiarize herself with what food items were available that day before starting to distribute food from the refrigerator that has long been called “Elsie’s Refrigerator” and now bears her picture. Elsie knew the client households—how big their families were, what needs each had, what special occasions were on the horizon for each family—and was thus able to distribute the appropriate amounts of food. Clients called Elsie “Grandma,” not because they were necessarily related to her, but as a sign of respect for this gentle dynamo.

For several years, Elsie served on Casa Rosa’s Board of Directors to provide helpful advice as someone who intimately knew the Village, its people, and their needs. Ultimately, Elsie was elected to the position of Honorary Director—the only person to have been given that status by the Board. At Board meetings her presence and wisdom is now greatly missed.

One day a few years ago at Casa Rosa, Elsie brought us a copy of her credo for living and explained that it was the first thing she looked at every morning, thus setting the tone for how she would live each day. Since the day she gave the credo to us, it has been posted at Casa Rosa and is now in prominent display on the front of “Elsie’s Refrigerator” next to her picture. While she may no longer be physically present, her credo constantly reminds us of her example for helping others:

DO IT NOW

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it; for I shall not pass this way again.
~ Stephen Grellet


In Memorium

The communities of Bernalillo and Placitas will miss one of their premier artists—Randy Miller—who passed away on Easter Sunday.

Randy was known for his intricate mosaic inlays on his pottery, jewelry, buffalo and cow skulls. He worked at his art for well over 30 years, showed his work at the Placitas Holiday Sale for many years, as well as galleries in Santa Fe and Taos. A book about his work was published several years ago. Randy is survived by his wife Theresa (Kiki) Miller,his daughter Angela Sauers, his son-in-law Adam Sauers and four wonderful grandchildren.

 
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