Elise L. Baer


Elise L. Baer passed away peacefully on April 20, 2023, at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, with her two daughters by her side. She was 92. 

Elise was born on May 27, 1930, in Fitchburg to John Emil Laurila and Elsie Rantamen, both of whom immigrated from Finland at the age of 16. Elise spoke Finnish fluently as a second language. She graduated from Fitchburg High School in 1947, and pursued her childhood dream of becoming a registered nurse. While in nurses’ training in Boston, she met her future husband, Harold, a student at Boston University Law School, on a blind date, and they married in 1955. They resided in Rhode Island, had two daughters, Cynthia and Carolyn, and spent many wonderful years motoring up and down the Atlantic seacoast with extended family on their boat. 

Elise loved being a nurse, and held positions as charge nurse in the emergency and surgical departments in Cranston, R.I. When her husband retired in 1985, they moved to the Island and built a retirement home in Chilmark. Elise continued to work as an R.N., and also for the Council on Aging in Edgartown. In addition, she did volunteer work for Hospice and Martha’s Vineyard Community Services. She “officially” retired at the age of 80. 

Elise and Harold thoroughly enjoyed their retirement years on the Vineyard, having made many friends. They especially loved going to Menemsha for seafood dinners at sunset. Elise will always be remembered for her positive outlook;, as she so often told many people, “I’ve had a wonderful life.” 

Elise is survived by her two daughters, Cynthia D. Baer and Carolyn W. Baer. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold A. Baer, and brother, John Emil Laurila Jr. 

A special thank you to Joann Vermette, her caregiver for the past two years. Elise loved her Tuesday lunches with Joann at the Plane View Restaurant, and the leisure afternoons exploring the Island by car, as if seeing it again for the first time. 

Memorial services are private.