The Coastal Star

By Ron Hayes

    BRINY BREEZES — Elsie Silva was a single mother who reared six children by herself, made their clothes, cooked homemade meals, worked two or three jobs, and baked molasses cookies that were sweet to eat but hard on a diet.

    “She made cookies all the time,” remembers her daughter, Joanne Friedman. “Homemade bread. Swedish pastries. She’d say, ‘Want a cookie?’ when I was on a diet, and I’d say, ‘Oh, Mom, why’d you do that?’ I’d resist, but it was hard, they were so good.”

    Ms. Silva died March 27 at Pinecrest Hospice in Delray Beach. She was 78 and had wintered in Briny Breezes for about 10 years before moving here permanently in 2007.

    In addition to her baking, she was active in the town’s shuffleboard and watercolor clubs, played the card game Train and made a ritual of Wednesday visits to local thrift shops with several friends.

    “When you have six kids, I’m not sure strict even came into it,” Mrs. Friedman said. “I know you never talked back to her, but somehow she always made ends meet and ended up buying her own house.”

    Elsie Ostergberg Silva was born in Jamaica Plain, Mass., on Jan. 21, 1936, and worked as a telephone receptionist in Boston hospitals and private businesses before moving to Freeville, N.Y., with her companion, Charlie Hatfield.

    In addition to Joanne and Ira Friedman, also of Briny Breezes; and Mr. Hatfield of Freeville N.Y., Ms. Silva is survived by three other daughters, Laurie Kirby and her husband, John, of Worcester, Mass.; Deborah Deluca and her husband, Peter, of Leicester, Mass.; Cyndi Hylton and her husband, Mark, of Oxford, Mass.; and a son, James Donald McEwen and his wife, Katherine, of Franklin Mass.; 18 grandchildren, eight great-grandsons and a great-granddaughter. 

    She was preceded in death by her daughter, Denise, and is survived by her husband, Andre, and a son, Reynard, of Becket, Mass.

    A memorial service was held in Briny Breezes on April 9, with another planned at the McLean Community Church in McLean, N.Y., on June 15.

    The family asks that donations be made to a hospice of readers’ choice.

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