Elaine Marie Golden, of Williamsburg, Va., known as “The Best One” to those who loved her most, died peacefully on March 9, 2020, surrounded by her family. She spent 74 years giving selflessly to others, exemplifying the Golden Rule in all that she did. Warm, caring, and forever putting everyone else first, she had a special way of making those around her feel important. She was never too busy to take time to listen or give undivided attention to anyone who needed it, which at times made it difficult to get her out of the grocery store. Along her journey, she touched countless lives and the ripples of her love extend far beyond her own beloved family.
Born just outside of Boston, Elaine had Irish blood in her veins and an adventurous and playful spirit. A graduate of Emmanuel College, she had a knack for languages and enjoyed putting her French, German and Latin to use in her many travels. She was a lifelong educator who beautifully blended curiosity with empathy and put that passion to work in many ways. Most recently, she volunteered at Providence Classical School in Williamsburg as an enrichment teacher, encouraging every student she worked with over the course of her 15-year tenure to reach their full potential. She loved the PCS family as her own, relentlessly seeking out ways to help in any way she could, always serving as a champion of others.
Elaine Marie’s greatest love was her husband of 53 years, James Reed Golden, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret.), who survives her. The two met at a Harvard mixer in Boston in 1965. He spotted her from across the room wearing a sophisticated brown suit. After one dance, he knew that she was special and that he would marry her – and he did. Their partnership was a beautiful dance to behold, and their deep love and affection for each other was evident to all.
Their life together produced three children, Jeff Golden, Heather Golden and Erin Williams, who loved her deeply. Over time, the flock grew to include nine grandchildren – Jack, Ainsley, Lillian, James, Braeden, Connor, Jenna, Charlotte and Thomas, as well as daughter-in-law, Heidi Golden, and son-in-law, Russell Williams. Elaine is also survived by her only sibling, her younger brother Steve Mahoney. The best of Grammy will always live on in the unique tapestry of family, students and friends she impacted through her unselfish love. Grammy dedicated her life to serving her loved ones and had the rare ability to be at her best when others needed her most. A cheerleader and constant voice of encouragement, she lived in genuine awe, appreciation and amazement of each person’s big and small accomplishments.
The Best One’s enthusiasm for life was contagious. She loved Golden Retrievers – particularly her beloved dog, Misty, who rode in the car with her everywhere. Among her favorite things were daisies, watching the ocean’s waves crash on the rocks, baking cinnamon bread, quoting Casablanca and singing along with Michael Crawford. She played a mean game of frisbee golf, had a wicked tennis forehand and was a typical Boston driver – never shying away from a yellow light. Winning was not an objective, but somehow, she usually managed to do so. She thrived in chaos, embraced change and lived in the moment. With her passing the world loses a bright ray of light, and heaven gains an angel with a blinding halo.
The family extends its gratitude and thanks to the nurses and doctors at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, particularly those who gave such compassionate care to Elaine during her final days in the ICU.
A celebration of life service will be held at Providence Classical School around her birthday in late July. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Elaine Golden Memorial Fund at Providence Classical School. Checks may be made to “PCS,” memo line “Elaine Golden Memorial Fund” and mailed to 6000 Easter Circle, Williamsburg, Virginia, 23188. Online gifts can be made at https://providenceclassicalschool.factsmgtadmin.com/give/.