Members of the Case Western Reserve community are invited to attend a memorial service Friday in Cleveland Heights for longtime university staff member Elise Lindsay and her husband, Gregory.
The couple passed away last week in their home of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning from a furnace in their home*. They are survived by their three children, Daniel, Gillian Whittlesey and Dana; a daughter-in-law, Courtney; a son-in-law, John; and two grandchildren, Ben and Megan.
The service will take place at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at the Church of the Saviour, 2537 Lee Road, which is near Fairmount Boulevard. The university also plans to hold a separate remembrance of Elise on campus later in the academic year and will provide details as soon as they become available.
Elise joined Case Western Reserve in 1977 as a coordinator of instruction and special programs, and began working with international student programs two decades later. As the director of the Office of International Student Services, she managed myriad details and documents involved in bringing young people to campus from around the world. As efficient as she was in taking care of these critical administrative duties, Elise was far better known for the deeply human element she brought to every interaction.
“She had an incredibly giving personality,” said David Fleshler, associate provost for International Affairs. “She really appreciated differences in people, and was so open to other cultures and interested in people.”
Those who knew Elise described her as a quiet, caring woman who always looked for ways to make sure international students experienced Case Western Reserve as a place that provided encouragement, support and a warm sense of welcome. Li Chen, a senior from China and president of the school’s international club, said Elise always wanted to know how she was doing—not only in classes, but in every aspect of her life in Cleveland.
“It’s amazing how much she cared about everything,” Chen said. “She was such a mom to me and, I believe, many students.”
Fleshler added that Elise’s husband, Gregory, often attended international student programs and even took photographs to help record different events. The mutual respect and affection between the two was always evident, he said, and invariably touched those who saw them together.
One of the last emails Fleshler received from Elise included a photograph of the children of one of the program’s Libyan graduates. Even with the relatively impersonal nature of electronic text, he said, “You could just hear this pride in her note, this ‘look at what our students are doing with their lives,’” Fleshler said. “She just loved that… that was Elise.”
The family will hold private calling hours the evening before the funeral, and asks that students attend only Friday’s service. In lieu of flowers for the memorial, Elise and Gregory’s children ask that well-wishers instead “please enjoy life and send flowers to your loved ones.”
*This article has been updated to reflect that the source of the carbon monoxide was a furnace, not a stove.