Elaine Katherine Ristinen (also known as Elaine Hagstrom), 86, of Bloomington, passed away on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at IU Health Bloomington Hospital, from complications of cancer treatments. She was born February 11, 1931, in Park Rapids, Minnesota, and spent her formative years in nearby Menahga. After completing her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota, some European summer travel, and a semester of graduate school at Radcliffe College, Elaine came to Indiana University to continue graduate studies in linguistics. In March 1956, she married Stanley Hagstrom of Omaha, Nebraska, a doctoral student studying physical chemistry. After both earned their PhD’s, they settled in Bloomington where they resided for more than six decades, with several years of sabbatical travel (and many summers of recreational travel) in that time frame. They purchased a home near the IU campus, where they lived throughout those years.
Around the time the younger of their two children was finishing high school, Elaine embarked on a second career in medicine, earning an M.D. degree in 1984, completing post-graduate training and a Masters of Public Health degree, and practicing as an occupational physician for many years. She remained active as a practicing physician well into her 80s, at whatever jobs were available to her, resisting suggestions and pressures to retire while still feeling capable of contributing to the medical field.
Elaine enjoyed a harmonious and satisfying personal life, and along the way raised two independent children and enjoyed regular travel to remote places. She learned to ride a bicycle in her 60s and took horseback riding lessons in her 70s. During her lifetime, she studied six foreign languages extensively, and those skills were useful on the many foreign adventures she and Stan would embark on. For example, Elaine’s Spanish fluency allowed for the three separate month-long trips to Argentina, with car travel to distant parts of the country. She was able to combine her interest in medicine with language skills, attending tropical disease training in Latin America and Mexico.
Elaine will be deeply missed by her loving husband of 61 years, Stanley A. Hagstrom; her two children Eric Hagstrom of Chula Vista, CA, and Katherine (Rocky) Carr of Saint Peters, MO; her two grandchildren Patricia Carr of Columbia, MO, and Matthew Carr of Kansas City, MO; her great-granddaughter Eleanor; her sister Kathleen Ristinen Jonas of Athens, OH; and her brother Robert (Elvah) Ristinen of Boulder, CO. She was predeceased by her parents, Arnold and Katherine (Koski) Ristinen, and step-sisters Norma Bergstrom and Marilyn Anderson.
In honoring Elaine’s wishes, no funeral service will take place. Memorial contributions may be made to the Hoosier Hills Food Bank or Planned Parenthood of Indiana.