Sunday, March 16, 2003

Obituary: E.B. Chambers, civic volunteer

By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Elaine B. Chambers, a longtime volunteer, died March 9 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at Jewish Hospital.

The former Indian Hill resident had been living at the Seasons Retirement Community in Kenwood. She was 75.

Born in 1928 in Cincinnati to Dr. William and Helen Bonfield Birkenbeil, she graduated in 1945 from St. Ursula High School.

She earned a bachelor's degree in social work from College of Mount St. Joseph in Delhi Township in 1949.

Mrs. Chambers worked as a county social worker for three years before marrying Ralph William Chambers of Cincinnati in 1950. Mr. Chambers died in 1971.

She was a volunteer at St. Gertrude School, Drake Road Elementary School, Indian Hill Middle School, St. Ursula Academy and St. Xavier High School, where she created the school's parent directory.

"Everything my mom did was truly not for herself," said her daughter, Debbe Rohde of Mount Lookout. "She looked out for others, not just herself. Her life was her kids."

Mrs. Rohde said her mother's house was always open to other children, who often sought her counsel.

"Grandma made it her life to have a personal, loving relationship with each of her grandchildren," said grandson Matt Rohde.

"She was famous for writing a personal, loving card or letter she sent us. Faith and family were the greatest part of her life."

She was a member of St. Gertrude Church in Madeira for nearly 50 years, Indian Hill Swim Club, and she volunteered at Tender Mercies of Cincinnati and St. Aloysius Orphanage.After her children were grown, Mrs. Chambers tutored children at the former St. Margaret of Cortona School in Madisonville.

Other survivors include two daughters, Dianne Brown of Hyde Park and Jeanne Miller of Anderson Township;five sons, Ralph of Anderson Township, Chris of Chicago, Rick and Michael of Hyde Park and Peter of Oakley; a sister, Helen Minturn of Anderson Township, and 14 grandchildren.

Services were held.

Memorials: The Ralph W. and Elaine B. Chambers Memorial Scholarship Fund, Xavier University, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati 45207 or St. Xavier High School, 600 West North Bend Road, Cincinnati 45224 or the Association of the Miraculous Medal, 1811 W. St. Joseph St., Perryville, MO 63775-1598.E-mail

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