Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Obituary Archives

June 26, 2013

Elsie Louise Rainier (Terry)

April 27, 1932-June 16, 2013

BREMERTON, Wash. — Elsie Louise Rainier (Terry), 81, a Silverdale icon and with her husband owner of the former Elsie's Restaurant passed away in Bremerton, Wash. on June 16, 2013. She was born April 27, 1932 in Bluefield, West Virginia to Clarence and Hattie (Carr) Terry. She married Howard Harrell on January 13, 1951 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. In 1958 they moved from Pennsylvania to Bremerton, Washington with two children. Two more children followed. In 1967 Elsie married her present husband Joseph Rainier.

Elsie was mom and waitress all her life. She worked at the Woolworth luncheon counter in Lebanon as well as a packaging plant for Birds-eye Foods. Later she worked at the former Flo's restaurant in Bremerton and the old Crow's Nest Tavern. But Elsie was best known as the namesake of the former Elsie's Restaurant in Silverdale. Elsie and her husband Joe owned the restaurant as well as two previous Elsie's restaurants in Bremerton for a total of thirty-seven years. Other business interests included owning and operating the former Crow's Nest Tavern in Bremerton and the former American Pie and Pastry at Kitsap Lake. Elsie retired when she and her husband Joe sold the Silverdale Elsie's in 2004.

Elsie was a dedicated mother to her children, stepchildren and grand children. She was also everyone's “second- mom”. Whether they were her employee's, her younger customers or her children's friends she was always friendly, joking and interested in their lives. She gave many people their start at Elsie's and they never forgot her. She never turned anyone away who needed a helping hand. She had sparkling blue eyes and a ready smile for all her customers who she welcomed so warmly and appreciated so much. She remembered everyone and often remembered what food they ordered years after the restaurant closed. She worried about everything and everyone. She worked very hard for as long as she could and even after age slowed her down, she did what she could. She was a cohesive force that kept Elsie's going and ultimately ensured it's success.

But she was really just a simple girl with simple needs. There was nothing she wanted more than the love of her children and husband. She never expected much out of her life except what she could give to others. She put everyone ahead of herself. Bargain hunting was one of her favorite things to do whether it was a rummage sale, garage sale, discount store or junk catalog. She could afford better but she was never the kind to spend money on her self. She enjoyed cooking, crocheting and sewing.

In retirement Elsie was an avid reader of romance novels as she had been all her life. She enjoyed tending her house plants and loved watching hummingbirds and deer outside her house. Elsie was an honorary member of the Kitsap Harley Club of which her husband Joe is a member. Always the waitress she supported the Harley club meetings serving coffee and donuts until her stroke forced her to quit. During her convalescence in the nursing home after her stroke, she was truly gratified by all the people who stopped by to wish her well. Each visitor was welcomed with a beaming smile, a twinkling eye and thanked. Years later, when she underwent kidney dialysis, all visitors and staff got the same reception from Elsie.

Elsie was preceded in death by her parents and a brother Clarence Terry. Surviving are husband Joe, sons Terry Harrell and Larry Harrell of Bremerton, daughters Debra Harrell of Bremerton and Sandra Cullen (Bob) of Sunnyslope. Stepdaughter Sherri Bravo of Yelm and a stepson Ronald Hazard of Sacramento, Calif. also survive as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Also surviving is beloved friend of the family Rick Uhinck.

Honoring Elsie's requests, there will be no services. A celebration of life will be held at the Cloverleaf Tavern in East Bremerton on Wednesday the 26th of June at 3:00 p.m. Old friends and former employees of Elsie's Restaurant are invited to attend. Mom never lost her wit to the end.

Tuell-McKee Funeral Home of Bremerton, Wash. is in charge of arrangements.

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