Dorothy ‘Jean’ Elson


Oct. 5, 1926 - Sept. 9, 2012



Dorothy “Jean” Elson (nee Rosser) was born Oct. 5, 1926, the first child of John and Letha Rosser, in Columbus, Ohio. She died Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, after an unexpected, but brief, battle with leukemia. She was a dearly loved wife, mother, grandmother and friend, and will be deeply missed by all who knew her.


Jean graduated from North High School in Columbus in 1944 and from Ohio State University with a Bachelor in Arts in psychology in 1948. On Dec. 26, 1948, Jean married the love of her life, Mathew William Elson, at the Indianola Methodist Church in Columbus. They lived in Ohio and California before settling in Brookfield in 1962, where they raised three children, Chris, Mark and Sue.


Jean’s interests were diverse and reflected her keen intelligence, enjoyment of life and family and the world around her. Among her many hobbies and pastimes: She was an avid bird watcher with a life list of more than 800 birds worldwide; an accomplished gardener, who enjoyed nurturing her perennial garden; an insatiable reader of mystery books; an opera buff, particularly fond of “La Traviata” and “The Pirates of Penzance”; a crossword puzzle and Scrabble devotee, and one who never met a jigsaw puzzle she couldn’t conquer; and an ever hopeful bridge player who enjoyed her monthly get-togethers with her friends.


Jean and Matt were worldwide travelers, visiting all the European countries, including several visits to England. They had great adventures in their RV, exploring the lower 48 states and the entire length of the Al-Can Highway to Alaska, as well as all the Canada provinces.


Jean especially cherished the times she shared with her two grandchildren, Matt and Martha. She was fortunate enough to have them live nearby, so she was able to attend their concerts, plays and sporting events and to spend many holidays with them over the years. They brought her great joy in her later years and she was proud of their character and achievements.


Jean’s memory is celebrated by her husband of almost 64 years, Matthew W. Elson; her children, Christine Elson of Stewartville, Minn., Mark (Mary Lou) Elson of Brookfield and Susan (Michael) Campbell of Mukwonago; her grandchildren, Matthew (Andrea) Elson of Philadelphia and Martha Elson of Madison; her sister, Jane (the late Lester) Shipe of Seattle; brother, Jack (Nancy) Rosser of Ashburn, Va.; her late sister-in-law, Mary (the late Jack) Cook; and many, many other friends and relatives who know that, although not named, they were special in her life.


In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate your contribution to Vitas Innovative Hospice Care, 2675 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, WI 53226, whose dedicated nurses showed extraordinary tenderness and care for Jean, or to the Nature Conservancy, whose philosophy toward the protection of our natural world was of importance to her.


Visitation will be held from 1 p.m. until the 3 p.m. memorial service Saturday, Oct. 6, at Becker Ritter Funeral Home, 14075 W. North Ave., Brookfield. A private committal service will be held.


Becker Ritter Funeral Home is serving the family. For more information, call 782-5330 or visit online at