Elaine F., 95, died quietly and peacefully, at Arbor Oaks at Tyrone, St. Petersburg, FL on November 17, 2017. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Virgil Mendenhall, second husband, Paul Lincoln, as well as her father, Frank Thomas, her brother, Charles Thomas, and her mother, Nellie Smith Thomas Gray, stepfather, Jesse Gray, stepbrother, Thomas Gray, her brother-in-law, Clinton Mendenhall & her sister-in-law, Bonnie Mendenhall.
Elaine is survived by her loving family: her 4 children, Pamela (Rolland) Oselka, Bridgman, MI; Terry Mendenhall, San Antonio, TX; Donna Steele, St. Petersburg, FL; and Curtis (Veronica) Mendenhall, Orlando, FL. She is also survived by 3 step-brothers, Robert Gray and Walter Gray, Siloam Springs, AR; Jack Gray, Ruston, LA. Elaine was a loving grandmother of 11: Katharine Butler (Chad), Beth Stroup (Clay), Karla Walsworth (Eric), Keri Haskins (Erik), Kelly Oselka, Bryan Mendenhall (DeeAnn), Craig Mendenhall (Laura), Marcy Grauer (Jon), Brandy Sarrafiore (Christian), Nicole Mendenhall, Sofia Mendenhall. Elaine is also survived by 19 great grandchildren, nephew, Roger Mendenhall, niece, Shari Mendenhall Dodds & many cousins. She will be missed by all who knew her.
Elaine was born in Wichita Falls, TX, daughter of Frank E. Thomas and Nellie J. Thomas Gray. She spent much of her childhood in Ashland, KS, graduating from Ashland H.S. at the age of 16 (due to many moves during her younger life), with highest honors. She attended Park College in MO for 1 year. At age 17 she went to Business College in Wichita, KS.
Elaine met Virgil during World War II. They were married February 19, 1943 in Alamogordo, NM. They raised their children in Wichita, KS and then moved to St. Petersburg, FL in 1959. Virgil and his father developed and managed Melody Gardens Mobilhaven; Elaine did the bookkeeping for the business. They joined St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, where she was actively involved in Sunday School, Bible Study and volunteer work.
Elaine earned her Associates Degree from St. Petersburg Junior College and then completed her education at University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration, while raising a family and working full time. She worked in Technical Publications, ECI, St. Petersburg, and retired as Coordinator of Special Projects, Paradyne Corporation, Largo.
Elaine retired in 1981 and spent her time traveling, attending plays, musicals, Florida Orchestra performances, playing games and cards, participating in a literary club, water aerobics, and reading. Elaine attended 62 Elder Hostels, where she met her 2nd husband, Paul Lincoln. Paul and Elaine were married October 4, 1986.
Elaine led a full and active life enjoying family and friends.
A “Celebration of Life” will be December 29, 2017, 11:00 AM at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 4444 5th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, luncheon to follow. Elaine will be laid to rest with her family in Ashland, KS at a later date, handled by Wilkinson Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to:
Florida Methodist Children's Home
51 Children’s Way
Enterprise, FL 32725
Aging Matters, Inc.
P.O. Box 40461
St. Petersburg, FL 33743