Keith & Keith Funeral Home

902 West Yakima Ave, Yakima, WA


Elinor Jean Bergseth

June 20, 1917March 12, 2020

Elinor Jean Bergseth lived a full and happy life, but after 102 years, she finally decided it was time to join her loving husband Mel, of over 70 years, in a glorious place where they can again dance the polka.

Elinor was born on June 20, 1917 to Bill and Emma Sleight on a farm a few miles north of the Canadian/US border. As a child on the farm, she was her father's helper, wearing overalls just like him. Her family moved quite often during her young life and she swore that after she married she would never move again. And after she and Mel bought their home in Yakima, she never did. Elinor started college at the North Dakota School of Forestry with the dream of becoming a librarian but after contracting scarlet fever she never returned to college. But she never lost her love of reading.

Elinor worked at many jobs including waitress, butcher, head lady at the local cannery and clerk at Ace hardware, and always said she was "a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none". While working in the bakery, Elinor met a new "cookie specialist" and fell in love. Elinor and Mel were married three months later. The newlyweds drove their Model A from North Dakota to Seattle never veering off Highway 2. The plan was to work in the shipyards until Mel's draft number came up but since there were no ships being built when they arrived they drove to Yakima to pick fruit. Mel was able to get a job at the Yakima Hardware where he worked for over 30 years. Elinor found a job at Filling Station #2. Thinking she would be pumping gas she was surprised to find that it was a restaurant, her expertise.

Mel and Elinor raised their three children at their home on Ninth Avenue, and welcomed their six grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren into that same house.

She was an active member of the Church of Christ Presbyterian Church and the Edith Ferry Circle. She was president of the PTA at McKinley and a Cub Scout Leader, always serving with a smile. Elinor is survived by her daughters Patricia (David)Gilbreath and Karen Ingram, and her son, John Bergseth. She is also survived by her three grandsons Dan, Rick (Danielle) and Matthew (Courtney), three granddaughters Emma, Ellen and Erica (Ron) and her eight great-grandchildren Tyler, Ayden, Killian, Hagan, Violet, Rhyen, Branson and Emry who will all miss her very much.

She was preceded in death by her parents Bill and Emma Sleight, brothers Donald and Graham and her beloved husband, Mel.

The family feels blessed to have been able to celebrate Elinor's 100th birthday with her friends attending, therefore, the family will have a private burial with a family celebration of her life.

The family wants to thank the Seattle hospice team for their loving care during Elinor's final days. They also want to thank Elaine from ResCare for her love and help while Elinor lived in her home.

In lieu of flowers we encourage you to donate to the charity of your choice.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Elinor Jean Bergseth

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Mitch Gilbreath

April 3, 2020

Elinor was a lovely woman who was always fun and easy to talk to. I had a wonderful talk with her a couple years ago after my dad died. So sorry for your loss. Y’all are in my prayers.