Elaine always said she was not someone who had many very close friends but that she had many good friends. She did not enjoy formal social gatherings, and somewhat reluctantly attended functions associated with George’s work and interests and her own. George was not a gregarious person but Elaine did have friends and neighbours she saw regularly. She also enjoyed being alone, doing her crosswords, listening to music, reading and learning. She was always very young at heart and was very close to her grandchildren. She had a fabulous sense of humour and a lively mind.
George died very suddenly on 3 April 1985. Perhaps because of his strict Presbyterian upbringing and somewhat lonely childhood he had taken a while to adapt to married life - the early years of their marriage were not always easy for Elaine - and he retained some difficult personality traits but he and Elaine had a long and generally very happy marriage. Elaine coped admirably with widowhood, with looking after her large house and garden and with managing her quite complicated financial affairs. She had the companionship of a dog, obtained from an animal refuge, and the two of them stayed with her surviving daughter and family most weekends.
Elaine was found to have cancer in 1992 and underwent a hysterectomy. After several years of good health she fell ill again in April 1997. As her condition gradually deteriorated she was eventually diagnosed yet again with cancer. She died on Christmas Day 1997, surrounded by her family, at her daughter's home where she had lived throughout her final illness. She was such a personality that her passing left a huge void and she was so knowledgeable that it was as if a library had burned down.