Elaine Seelhorst, inspiring role model, great mom, tireless advocate for the disabled and those with rheumatoid arthritis, passed away at age 91 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on Nov. 9.

Born Francis Elaine Burke in Greenup County, Kentucky on Jan. 12, 1927, She married Donald Clarence Seelhorst in 1951. They moved to Athens in the late 1950s, where they raised three children.

Elaine is remembered by many in Athens for educating people about arthritis in an era where the mystifying autoimmune disease was not always recognized or treated properly, establishing a local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.

She was instrumental in bringing attention to the need for handicap parking spaces and curb cuts in the city of Athens long before the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Her efforts to help others were recognized with an OHIO SERTOMA Service to Mankind award. Preceded in death by her husband, Don, in 2000, she moved to Ypsilanti in 2005 to be closer to family.

She is survived by daughters Donna Lundeen (Douglas) of North Brunswick, New Jersey, and Mary Seelhorst of Ypsilanti, Michigan, son John Seelhorst (Marilyn) of Rutland, Ohio, and their families; brothers Dr. E. Lewis Burke of Williamsburg, Virginia, and Howard Burke Jr. of Greenup, Kentucky; grandchildren Joshua Seelhorst of Athens and Eva Lundeen of Tampa, Florida; many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Arthritis Foundation, www.arthritis.org.

A private interment at a family cemetery in Kentucky will be held in the spring.

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