Elaine Carlson Dunlap, age 81, traded her earthly tethers for wings of gold on Nov. 19, 2020, in Bolivar, Missouri, surrounded by friends and family. She accepted Christ as her Savior at a young age and quietly prayed for her entire family constantly. It was her continued profession of faith during her last few days that are most meaningful to friends and family. Her loved ones mourn her passing but are hopeful now that someone else can finally win shared games of Pitch.
Elaine was born in 1939 to Oscar Frank and Signild Marie Nilsson Carlson. Growing up in the Elsmore community, she attended Elsmore Grade and Rural High Schools and excelled at women’s basketball during her high school years. She later became a lifelong fan of the sport, especially KU basketball. After graduating high school in 1957, she worked a number of jobs in southeast Kansas, including Western Insurance, Humboldt Brick & Tile, H. L. Miller Dress Factory, Farmers Discount, Yachry Construction, and finally the United States Postal Service. At the USPS, she became the first female letter carrier in Chanute, breaking many stereotypes. Elaine retired from the USPS after 31 years. Her treasured Swedish ancestry is evidenced in her strong work ethic. She loved hosting family and friends at Grand Lake in Oklahoma and Pomme de Terre lake in Missouri before settling in Bolivar, MO to be near her children.
On August 24, 1958, she married R. Milton Dunlap. Together they raised two daughters and one son, Karen (Dunlap) Kurtz and husband Ed of Bolivar, MO, Marcia (Dunlap) Quigley and fiancée Matt Penner of Leon, and Steven Dunlap of Bolivar, MO. Also surviving are one granddaughter and three grandsons, Signey (Kurtz) Akins and husband Matt of Grand Prairie, TX, Eli O’Sullivan Kurtz and wife Keely of Kansas City, Missouri, Alex Quigley and wife Amber of Hiram, GA, and Chase Kurtz and girlfriend Hana Roach of Springfield, MO; one brother, Earl Carlson of Elsmore; many nieces and nephews; and two great-granddaughters that she loved dearly, Lorelei Quigley and Atley Akins.
Elaine was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, brothers Ernest and Edward, and sisters Elsie, Esther, Evelyn and Ellen. They no doubt have many raucous and sarcastic stories and feisty games of Pitch to catch up on now that they are together again.
The funeral will take place at 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23 at the Elsmore Methodist Church, Elsmore. Countryside Funeral Home of Chanute has charge of arrangements. The graveside service and burial will be in the Elsmore Cemetery following the funeral. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Carrie J. Babb Cancer Center, 1501 NO Oakland, Bolivar, MO 65613, and Cancer Center of Kansas, 505 SO Plummer, Chanute, KS 66720. The family asks all in attendance to wear face masks and social distance during the funeral and graveside service.