Elizabeth K Kaufki, formerly of Philadelphia, PA, passed away on August 8th , 2023. She was 80 years old.
Elizabeth was born on September 9th, 1942 in Lebanon County, PA. Her parents, Harold and Margaret Knoll, raised her as an only child in a small town named Richland. Her father, Harold, worked as the town dentist. He also spent many months at a time serving as a Dental Corps Captain in Germany during World War II. During his deployment, Margaret became Elizabeth’s primary caretaker while juggling her job as a nurse. Elizabeth and her mother formed a strong bond as they were gifted with an abundance of quality time just the two of them. Harold and Margaret’s devotion to their careers and family helped to encourage Elizabeth to focus heavily on academic success. Therefore, Elizabeth dedicated much of her time as a young girl to her education and love of reading. Her devotion to reading surpassed her childhood years as she enjoyed a lifetime enjoyment of poetry. In 1960, Elizabeth graduated from Eastern Lebanon County High School with an outstanding GPA.
Elizabeth attended Gettysburg College where she became a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. College offered Elizabeth a chance for renewal, so she began to refer to herself as Liz. This nickname would stick with many friends and family members to come. Following her graduation at Gettysburg, Liz decided to attend graduate school at Temple University where she bumped into an acquaintance from her time at Gettysburg. His name was Mark Kaufki and he later became Liz’s beloved husband and life partner. Shortly after their reunion at Temple, Mark and Liz made plans to travel together to Gettysburg’s Homecoming. They followed through with their plan and the trip marked the beginning of their inseparable bond and unconditional love for one another.
Mark and Liz were married on March 18th, 1967 and moved to the Roxborough section of Philadelphia where they would start a family.
Mark and Liz were blessed with two precious daughters and shared a loving relationship with them both. Their first daughter Alice was born on September 23rd, 1969, and their second daughter Ellen was born on November 22nd, 1973. Following the birth of Alice and Ellen, Liz decided to temporarily put her career aside and stay home to raise her two daughters. Liz absolutely adored her children and showed much of her affection to Alice and Ellen through her kind words and wholehearted support. She loved reading books to her daughters and never sent them to bed without a bedtime story. Much of her time as a mother was spent playing board games, taking her daughters to the swim club all summer long and cooking delicious recipes for special family dinners. She always made sure that the family sat together at dinner time as a way to come together after a busy day.
Many knew Liz for her outstanding talent in the kitchen. Liz’s signature dishes will be cherished and remembered by her family for generations to come. On Thanksgiving, Liz would bake her famous Pumpkin Pie and cook traditional Pennsylvania Dutch recipes like Potato Filling. Many also knew Liz for her Swedish Cinnamon Cookies and Sand Tarts as the smell of these cookies would fill the house for days around the holidays. She made enough cookies to share with neighbors, teachers, and friends. Her passion for Christmas cookies is shared by her daughters and grandchildren who fondly bake her recipes each year.
Throughout her years as a stay-at-home mom, Liz volunteered a large sum of time to the Unitarian Church where she once held the position of Board President. She also regularly volunteered at a church affiliated home for the elders called The Unitarian Universalist Nursing Home. At both locations, she led committee meetings to discuss facility needs and organize fundraising events. Her most famous event known as “The French Dinner” integrated her love of cooking into a fundraiser. Liz would spend days cooking a gourmet French Dinner in preparation for the event. Tickets to her dinner would be auctioned off to members of the church. This event was always a raving success as it raised large sums of money for the church.
Liz always had a very put together and preppy style. She loved her petite purses, perfect nails, and preppy polos. Liz wore plaid with almost every outfit, and she accessorized with tastefully simple jewelry. Her style stayed very similar throughout her entire life, and it became her signature.
Once her children reached high school, Liz decided to rejoin the working world as a social worker for the City of Philadelphia. This job gave her the opportunity to provide the neglected youth of Philadelphia with safer and better places to live. She provided counseling services to these families and worked with adoption agencies. Liz felt a deep passion for her work as helping these children filled her heart with joy. Liz took a non-judgmental approach to her practice, and many of her loved ones explain how this incredible trait carried over to her personal life as well. Liz was always there to offer a kind word, and she loved everyone equally regardless of their background or status. Twenty-five years of Liz’s life were dedicated to this wonderful field of work, and during those years she went back to school at The University of Pennsylvania and received a master’s in social work.
Many knew Liz for her love of nature. She always had lovely bouquets of fresh flowers scattered throughout her home as the smell and beauty of the petals brought her joy. She spread her love by gifting friends and relatives with a variety of flowers. Alongside her love of flowers, she equally adored small animals. Liz always had dogs and birds. Her pet Baby Bird is still talked about today by her family members as she remarkably sang happy birthday. Nobody loved their pets more than Liz and her gentle spirit would really shine in their presence.
In the year 2001, Liz became a grandmother. Mark and Liz had five grandchildren named Emily (21), Ellie (19), Alexander (14), Jack (11), and William (7). Liz, otherwise known as Mimi, absolutely adored her grandchildren. She always made a great effort to attend every dance recital and play with a big bouquet of beautiful flowers. Annually, she took her grandchildren to the Philadelphia Zoo where many fond memories were made. She spent hours and hours entertaining her grandchildren by sitting with them to watch the baby giraffes and anteaters, equally loved by all. Her grandchildren will terribly miss her patience, kindness and care.
Following their retirement, Mark and Liz moved to Dunwoody Village. During their time at Dunwoody, Liz made many new friends and connections. She and Mark would join their new friends each evening for dinner and conversation. This move also allowed them to live closer to their family, so they were able to spend more time visiting their grandchildren and daughters.
In 2020, Liz lost her lifetime partner Mark with whom she shared a beautiful 53 years of marriage. To say that Mark and Liz loved each other would be an understatement. One rarely saw one without the other. Their bond and love were felt by all who knew them and was a true inspiration.
Following the passing of her beloved husband Mark, Liz remained at Dunwoody. In her final years she was known for her loving, tender spirit. Even in her last days she always had loving words to say to her family and caregivers. She never lost her innocent nature which could be seen when she held her infamous baby doll. Her nurses took the time to understand her, and Liz really loved them all. She perked up the most from visits with her daughters and grandchildren and was even pampered with a manicure from her granddaughter every once in a while.
Although Liz has passed, her gentle, charming, and warm-hearted spirit will stay with her family for a lifetime. Her family keeps her memory alive through her delicious, sweet treats, her everlasting light and the sound of her sweet voice that will always remain in their hearts.
Elizabeth is survived by her daughter and husband Ellen and Henry Blanck and grandchildren Ellie and Alexander, her daughter and husband Alice and Michael Walsh and grandchildren Emily, Jack, and William, adoring family members, and many great friends.