In memory of
Elaine Rhine Tanzer
In memory of
Elaine Rhine Tanzer
Elaine Rhine Tanzer Feb. 20, 1943 - Sept. 8, 2020 Portland lost a community member of compassion, style, culinary vision, and firm political opinions this past week. Elaine is best known as the owner of Portland's original, premier delicatessen, Elephants, which introduced gourmet eating adventures to Portland long before our town became a foodie mecca. With a vision about great food, great fun, and great décor, Elaine bought a failing deli in northwest Portland in 1979, revived it, and expanded it to eight locations in the metro area. Walking into her delis, you experience Elaine's commitment to style side-by-side with quality, beautifully displayed food. For those of us who knew her before and during her Elephants career, there is also an Elaine of quirky humor, avid gardening, distinctive reading preferences, passionate animal advocacy, and unsurpassed elegant hospitality. Born in 1943, she was the daughter of Oregon native Dale Rhine and Gussie Knight, Mississippi belle. Following World War II the family, now including brother David, returned to Oregon. Elaine attended Portland public schools, graduated from Wilson High School, and earned both a bachelor's and a master's degree at Portland State University. Her early career was spent as a teacher and social worker focused on at-risk students, an experience that created her lifelong commitment to vulnerable populations. Along with her business, her politics were always front and center. Engaged in high school as head of her Republican student organization, she continued her Republican activities in college. But that changed in the late '60s with the Vietnam War and led to work with Senator Wayne Morse and later to campaigning for a young Neil Goldschmidt. She was such a fan of Bill Clinton that she catered a Portland event for him gratis on the promise she would meet him, and when she did, to her embarrassment, she was speechless. She was overjoyed to attend Barack Obama's first inauguration. She mourned the election of Donald Trump and wasn't quiet about it. Elaine married attorney and future Oregon Supreme Court Justice Jacob Tanzer in 1974. They met at a political event at the venerable Goose Hollow Inn, and after extended dating, she informed him she wouldn't continue unless they got married. He proposed on the spot. Together, they traveled often and in style. India especially spoke to them. They returned there on several occasions and sampled Portland's bountiful Indian food offerings between visits. Elaine's last visit to India was this spring to scatter Jake's ashes into the Ganges River. Her garden was legend among her friends, a place embracing all four seasons and elegant enough to be featured on a Portland Garden Club tour. It was perfect for reflection, for reading the mannered English countryside novels she loved, and only a month ago, to host the wedding of a long time college friend. Elaine leaves as a legacy, along with her remarkable business, a model of love and commitment to her family and her beloved nephew Matthew Rhine. To her Reading Group family she leaves joyful memories of vigorous debates in her beautiful living room. A memorial gathering will be held at a later date. Contributions in her name may be made to the Oregon Humane Society, the Feral Cat Coalition or a charity of your choice. Rest in peace dear friend. Join Jake. We will miss you. The Reading Group. Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits
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In memory of
Elaine Rhine Tanzer
Elaine Rhine Tanzer Feb. 20, 1943 - Sept. 8, 2020 Portland lost a community member of compassion, style, culinary vision, and firm political opinions this past week. Elaine is best known as the owner of Portland's original, premier delicatessen, Elephants, which introduced gourmet eating adventures to Portland long before our town became a foodie mecca. With a vision about great food, great fun, and great décor, Elaine bought a failing deli in northwest Portland in 1979, revived it, and expanded it to eight locations in the metro area. Walking into her delis, you experience Elaine's commitment to style side-by-side with quality, beautifully displayed food. For those of us who knew her before and during her Elephants career, there is also an Elaine of quirky humor, avid gardening, distinctive reading preferences, passionate animal advocacy, and unsurpassed elegant hospitality. Born in 1943, she was the daughter of Oregon native Dale Rhine and Gussie Knight, Mississippi belle. Following World War II the family, now including brother David, returned to Oregon. Elaine attended Portland public schools, graduated from Wilson High School, and earned both a bachelor's and a master's degree at Portland State University. Her early career was spent as a teacher and social worker focused on at-risk students, an experience that created her lifelong commitment to vulnerable populations. Along with her business, her politics were always front and center. Engaged in high school as head of her Republican student organization, she continued her Republican activities in college. But that changed in the late '60s with the Vietnam War and led to work with Senator Wayne Morse and later to campaigning for a young Neil Goldschmidt. She was such a fan of Bill Clinton that she catered a Portland event for him gratis on the promise she would meet him, and when she did, to her embarrassment, she was speechless. She was overjoyed to attend Barack Obama's first inauguration. She mourned the election of Donald Trump and wasn't quiet about it. Elaine married attorney and future Oregon Supreme Court Justice Jacob Tanzer in 1974. They met at a political event at the venerable Goose Hollow Inn, and after extended dating, she informed him she wouldn't continue unless they got married. He proposed on the spot. Together, they traveled often and in style. India especially spoke to them. They returned there on several occasions and sampled Portland's bountiful Indian food offerings between visits. Elaine's last visit to India was this spring to scatter Jake's ashes into the Ganges River. Her garden was legend among her friends, a place embracing all four seasons and elegant enough to be featured on a Portland Garden Club tour. It was perfect for reflection, for reading the mannered English countryside novels she loved, and only a month ago, to host the wedding of a long time college friend. Elaine leaves as a legacy, along with her remarkable business, a model of love and commitment to her family and her beloved nephew Matthew Rhine. To her Reading Group family she leaves joyful memories of vigorous debates in her beautiful living room. A memorial gathering will be held at a later date. Contributions in her name may be made to the Oregon Humane Society, the Feral Cat Coalition or a charity of your choice. Rest in peace dear friend. Join Jake. We will miss you. The Reading Group. Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits
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