Elaine R. (Jackson) LaCombe, 64, died peacefully Feb. 19, 2010, surrounded by her family after a courageous battle with cancer.

Elaine was born in Belfast Sept. 13, 1945, the oldest child of Albert and Ruth (Clark) Jackson. Elaine could brighten your day just by walking through the door. With her warm, engaging smile and deep brown eyes full of interest and vitality, she personified friendship. In her family circle, Elaine played the special role of keeping the family connected. Get-togethers at the family camp on Lake St. George, as well as holiday celebrations, were made more special by Elaine’s infectious friendliness and obvious joy in those family gatherings. She made each family member and friend feel special and loved.

“Home” held special meaning for Elaine. Whether that meant coming home to Maine or coming home from the hospital to enjoy her last Christmas with all her favorite traditions — decorating the tree, enjoying Auntie Jean’s bread pudding and watching her much-loved grandchildren open their Christmas gifts.

From an early age, Elaine showed a passion for caring for animals of all kinds. Growing up on a dairy farm, she helped with all the chores involved in that endeavor. Elaine spent happy hours riding her horse, Stranger, as well as enjoying the company of more unusual pets brought home by her father, including Willie, a fawn who quickly grew into a very large deer. She had a special dog, Shannon, her protector during difficult times.

Elaine had a very special relationship with her grandmother, with whom she spent her summer vacations. She loved her late Uncle Berkley and her Aunt Jean, her only aunt, of whom she said, “She’d be my favorite aunt even if I had a hundred aunts.” As a grandmother herself, Elaine availed herself of every opportunity to participate in both the everyday and the special events in her grandchildren’s lives. Being “Nana” to Abby, Maddy, Jack, Ethan and Caeleigh brought special joy to her life.

Elaine was respected and valued for her intelligence, her honesty and her strong work ethic in her professional endeavors, both in her career choices in Maine and in California. While living in California, she introduced her East Coast relatives to the Pacific Coast, sharing her home and special sightseeing excursions.

Elaine leaves a legacy of enduring friendships and memories that extend across the country. Elaine’s most vital roles, and the ones for which her loss will be most keenly felt, are the roles she filled as wife, mother, daughter, sister and grandmother. She raised each one of these roles to a level that made her both exceptional and irreplaceable.

Elaine would want all those she loved to stay connected and close to one another. She wanted her loved ones to know that she felt very lucky to have such a wonderful family and friends. She will be greatly missed as wife, friend and soulmate by her devoted husband, Clay, who was by her side as her advocate, her protector, her comforter and her voice when she was no longer able to speak.

Gloria Bonin was a very special friend throughout her life. The family is very grateful to the staff at Eastern Maine Medical Center for their excellent care. She thought of many of the staff members as family. A special thank-you to her latest employer, Robert Foster, and the employees at R.H. Foster.

Elaine is survived by her husband, Clay LaCombe; a son, Ricky Woods; a daughter, Kimberly (Woods) Elkins, and her husband, Baxter; two stepsons, Deryn LaCombe and his wife, Lynda, and Travis LaCombe and his wife, Jenn; her parents Ruth and Albert Jackson; five grandchildren, Abigail, Madison and Jackson Elkins and Caeleigh and Ethan LaCombe; three brothers, Wayne Jackson and his companion, Janice Lathrop, Glenn Jackson and Dean Jackson and wife, Nancy, and their families; an  aunt, Jean Cunningham; and a beloved dog, Frannie, and two of her most recently rescued kitties.

Friends are invited to a memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 6 at Crabiel-Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast with the Rev. Canon Mary Ann Taylor officiating.

Those who wish may make donations in Elaine’s memory to Lafayette Cancer Center, 33 Whiting Hill Road, Brewer, ME 04412 or their local humane society. Online condolences may be offered at ripostafh.com.