Elizabeth Westerbeck Obituary

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In Memory of

Elizabeth Westerbeck

September 12, 1935 - November 18, 2013
Visitation/Services
Obituary

Elizabeth Westerbeck, age 78, of Artesia, California, was born September 12, 1935 near Warsaw, Poland and died November 18, 2013 in Artesia, California as courageously as she lived. Elizabeth and her family, in September 1939, fled Poland taking refuge in Lithuania until after the Soviet occupation. In May 1940, they traveled to Italy and stayed until December 1941. Then, they went through Spain to Lisbon, Portugal. On January 24, 1942, they were five of 150 polish refugees who made it to "the line of the living" and boarded the Serpa Pinto docking in Jamaica on February 7, 1942, where they resided at Gibraltar Camp. Arriving in...
Elizabeth Westerbeck, age 78, of Artesia, California, was born September 12, 1935 near Warsaw, Poland and died November 18, 2013 in Artesia, California as courageously as she lived.

Elizabeth and her family, in September 1939, fled Poland taking refuge in Lithuania until after the Soviet occupation. In May 1940, they traveled to Italy and stayed until December 1941. Then, they went through Spain to Lisbon, Portugal. On January 24, 1942, they were five of 150 polish refugees who made it to "the line of the living" and boarded the Serpa Pinto docking in Jamaica on February 7, 1942, where they resided at Gibraltar Camp. Arriving in Miami on Thanksgiving Day 1943, the Brukiewicz family went by train to Montreal on Canadian visas arriving December 6, 1943. Residing in Montreal until November 9, 1945, they emigrated from Canada to the United States via Rouses Point, New York, making their way to Miami and, ultimately, Southern California in 1947. Her parents' divorce in her high school years, coupled with bipolar disorder yet to be diagnosed, and the effects of the trauma of war caused enormous personal challenges and emotional pain throughout her entire life. Despite these challenges, she graduated Huntington Park High School, Chapman College. She even worked as a counselor at a juvenile hall and as a parole agent for the State of California. Her brief marriage to Patrick Westerbeck, in December 1955, produced her only child the following December. Their divorce was painful for both of them. Nonetheless, she persevered and inspired others. She had the ability to truly empathize with others, to love those in need and to help the disadvantaged. By imparting words of encouragement that one must never give up when battling life's continual challenges, Elizabeth tried to put others before herself. Early on, she taught herself to sew and remained a seamstress until her illness forced her to stop. She loved the beach. She liked to paint and at one time could speak Polish, Italian, Spanish and perfect English.

Her parents, Stefan Brukiewicz and Janina Pecyna Brukiewicz, and two brothers, Paul and Peter Brukiewicz, preceded "Polish Grandma" in death, as did her former husband, Patrick Westerbeck.

Surviving is her son, Patrick Short of Rockwall, Texas, his wife Patricia Varner Short, two grandchildren, Patrick Ryan Short and Rachel Elizabeth Short, sister in law, Jean Brukiewicz, nephew Daniel Brukiewicz and wife, Maureen, and their son, John Brukiewicz, all of Templeton, California and sister in law, Sarah Bell and her husband Pat of Cuero, Texas.

The family would like to thank the staff of Windsor Palms Care Center for the patient and loving care given to mom over the past 30 years in her fight with mental illness. Further thanks goes to: Dr. Arnold Ling, M.D., her selfless doctor, Dr. Ron Rook, Ph.D., her compassionate psychologist and Mrs. Catherine Eichberg and Mr. John Ryan former and current administrators, respectively, of Twin/Windsor Palms Care Center whose staff minister daily to "the least of these". To all of the doctors and nurses at Los Alamitos Medical Center who never quit trying to get her physically well, thank you. And finally, to her caregivers at Palm Terrace West and her three Evergreen Hospice Care nurses who helped her transition this mortal life the last seven days to be with Him.

Graveside service will be at Rose Hills Memorial Park, 3888 Workman Mill Road, Whittier, California, 90601 on Thursday, November 21st at 3:00 p.m. Enter Gate 1 to Morningside Garden. Online memorials can be made at www.rosehills.com.

Memorial funds should be given to your charity or ministry of choice combating mental illness or to Lakepointe Church, Rockwall, Texas; Saddleback Church, Lake Forrest, California or Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas. Or you can contact John Ryan at: jryan@windsorcares.com.

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September 12, 1935 - November 18, 2013 Elizabeth Westerbeck, age 78, of Artesia, California, was born September 12, 1935 near Warsaw, Poland and...

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November 2, 2014
"Thank you for loving me Elizabeth when I was such a young girl. I loved you. I loved what you taught me about love. Love to Patrick always. Tina"

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