Columnists

Elaine R. Skopelja

Feb. 11, 1953 – Dec. 19, 2021

Elaine R. Skopelja, nee Noonan, 68, Westfield, passed away Dec. 19, 2021, in her home surrounded by loving family.

She was born Feb. 11, 1953, in Hammond, Ind., to the late William Noonan and Anne Razumich.

Mrs. Skopelja graduated from Highland High School in 1971 with top honors. In 1976, she graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in history. She continued her education, to obtain her master’s degree of Library Science from Rosary College. She was a consummate learner and a wealth of knowledge.

Mrs. Skopelja started her career at the Lake County Public Library as a reference librarian, and her main role was to field questions from patrons on a myriad of topics. Mrs. Skopelja was referred to by her family, as the original “Google”. She then went on to hold numerous positions and upon moving to Westfield, became a medical librarian at the Indiana Hand Center and eventually at the Indiana University Medical Center. She also served as President of the Indiana Health Science Librarians Association and received countless accolades and recognition. She conducted research and has been published in numerous medical journals on a variety of topics. Her family is extremely proud of the body of work she produced throughout the years, and the education she provided to so many medical professionals. Library Science was a field of work, which she was extremely passionate about and her passion for educating others– continued throughout her career.

To say that Elaine loved reading was an understatement. She was a voracious reader and her family is convinced that the Westfield Public Library should name a wing in her honor. The collected overdue fees throughout her 30-year residence in Westfield, should be more than enough to cover the costs. Rita at the Westfield Public library had Mrs. Skopelja on speed dial. Her family heard Rita’s voice on their answering machine for years, as she reported the overdue books needing to be returned. Mrs. Skopelja instilled that same love of reading and visits to the library in her children and grandchildren. There was not one birthday or Christmas that went by, without a book included in her gift.

Naturally, her love of reading equated to her being extremely intelligent. She loved history and all things trivia. No one ever wanted to play Trivial Pursuit with her. She annihilated anyone in her path each time she played; her family were no competition for her. Little did she know, all that information she had retained throughout the years would help lead her to an appearance on Jeopardy. After years of watching her beat everyone from our living room couch, her family couldn’t wait to watch her do it on national television. Despite missing an Indy 500 question, which really irked her, she did a great job and made them so proud.

Mrs. Skopelja also had a love of horses since childhood. She never considered herself an artist, but you could always find a doodle on a newspaper, napkin, or whatever was around with her sketches of a horse or two. She always joked that it was the only thing she knew how to draw. She loved going to the racetrack and never missed a Kentucky Derby or a Preakness. It was her “Super Bowl”. Her love of cats was just as strong, and they were the perfect companion for her as she snuggled up with a good book.

She was also an avid Indiana Hoosiers and Chicago Cubs fan, often joining family and friends at the “bucket” game tailgate and yearly trips with family to Wrigley Field to catch a Cubbies game. She loved Chicago in general: the museums, the history, the shopping–just all of it.

Movies and music also played a major role in Mrs. Skopelja’s life. You can almost guarantee that turning on the TV at her house would bring you right to Turner Classic Movies. She loved old movies and comedies. She couldn’t wait to be with her family and gather on the couch to turn on SCTV during the holidays. You could also jump in her car and upon starting have classical music, Dave Brubeck or the Beatles blaring for all to hear.

Her love of everything mentioned above never superseded her love for her friends and family. Mrs. Skopelja was kind and loving to anyone she met and was an amazing wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and friend. Her family has many fond memories of vacations with both family and friends and countless family get-togethers, throughout the years. She hosted Thanksgiving for up to 40 people every year and she was most happy when she was with her entire family. She adored her grandchildren and they lovingly referred to her as “Mimi”. They looked forward to spending time with her and enjoying what they termed as, “Mimi Days” where she would take them to the library, McDonald’s and the park. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her dearly.

Her family states that they owe everything to the outstanding medical team at the Community North Cancer Center, led by Dr. Bhatia and Megan Weaver, NP, who after learning of her cancer diagnosis, blessed them with three more years of time to continue making memories with her. The amount of support, dedication, and grace they showed Elaine and her family as they navigated this journey cannot be measured. Her family is eternally grateful and indebted to them for everything they did, as she courageously fought this terrible disease.

Survivors include her loving husband, Chuck Skopelja; children, Brooke (Patrick) Cassidy, Erin (Ozzy) Yesinnar and Mike (Christina) Skopelja; and beloved grandchildren, Rylee, Jackson and Calvin Cassidy, Eva and Luca Yesinnar and Charlie and Alexandra Skopelja; her brothers and sisters, Lorraine (Terry) Stage, Paula Bisseker, William Noonan, Mike Noonan, Jim (Gloria) Noonan, Tom Noonan and Chris Noonan; her in-laws, Lisa (Tim) Armstrong, Ron (Cindy) Skopelja, Tommy (Paula) Skopelja and Nick (Margery) Skopelja; her beloved nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, Ryan (Cate) Stage, Colin (Stephanie) Stage, Alison (Andrew) Giorgi, Sean Noonan, Kyle Noonan, Ariel Noonan, Adlai Noonan, Sheminith Noonan, Harper Stage, Brayden Noonan, Jayden Noonan, Melissa DeSutter, Vera DeSutter, Megan (Tim) O’Shea, Cortney (Jared) Mushill, Avery Mushill, Chad (Emily) Armstrong, Nicole Skopelja, Violet Diaz and Stephen Skopelja.

She was preceded in death by her nephew, Gebrah Noonan; and sister-in-law, Lynda Skopelja.

Visitation is scheduled to take place on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Randall and Roberts Funeral Center, 1685 Westfield Road in Noblesville. The funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021 at 11 a.m. at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church, 17102 Spring Mill Rd. in Westfield. Burial will be at Hamilton Memorial Park Cemetery, 4180 Westfield Rd. in Westfield.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Westfield Public Library or the Community North Cancer Center at (317) 355-GIVE (4483) or give@ecommunity.com (please designate that the donation goes to the Cancer Center) in Mrs. Skopelja’s name, preferred.

Condolences online at:  www.randallroberts.com