Else Marie Schlueter passed away January 2 in Pacific Palisades at the age of 82 of a sudden and unexpected heart attack.
Else was born on December 1, 1936, in Bergen, Norway, to Sigurd M. and Alvilda (Lohne) Birkeland. She grew up in Oslo, Norway, attended secretarial college and worked for a car importing company for two years before emigrating to the United States in 1958.
After visiting her great-aunt Anna and her family in Seattle for a month, Else moved to California to live with her aunt Gunvor and her husband, Tony, the three of them planning to move to New York together the following year.
However, at a dance in Los Angeles for international arrivals, she met her future husband, Clinford “Cliff,” and the rest, as they say, is history. Her aunt and uncle moved to the east coast as planned, but Else stayed in California, marrying Cliff on January 2, 1959. They were married 60 years to the day.
After renting in Santa Monica and working in Beverly Hills for seven years, they bought their home in Pacific Palisades in 1965, where she turned her energies to raising their two children and avidly playing tennis at the local rec center. Else and Cliff lived in their Palisades home ever since, and even had the same, wonderful next door neighbors for 54 years, enjoying many trips to the Hollywood Bowl together in later years.
Else went back to work in the local schools, first at Palisades Elementary, and then, in 1980, at Palisades High School.
A generation of Pali High students will remember her from the assistant principals’ office where she worked for 23 years as the executive assistant. She very much enjoyed her time at Pali; getting to know many teachers as friends, and always happy to talk to students, especially cherishing those who would return to visit after graduation—sometimes many years after.
Upon retiring and no longer being confined by school vacation schedules, Else and Cliff traveled extensively. They loved not only exploring the back roads of California in their VW bus, but also enjoyed their adventures in Europe, visiting Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Hungary, Austria and, of course, Norway.
She was preceded in death by her parents and one sister.
Else is survived by her husband, Clinford “Cliff”; her children Linda (John) Cordes of Tucson, Arizona, and Cliff (Amy) Schlueter of Petaluma, California; grandchildren Noble, Raven and Castle (Cliff), and Kari and Anna (Linda); a brother and sister in Norway; and a host of extended family and friends.
Her husband, Cliff, a founding member of the Palisades Ridge Runners and retired technology executive, has moved to Sonoma County in northern California to receive memory care and live near his son, Cliff.
Else and Cliff loved their little house in the Alphabet Streets and could often be seen walking around town, and enjoyed “supervising” the construction at Palisades Village. But they especially loved taking walks at the beach, which they did almost daily, with Else often marveling at the “little piece of paradise right in their own backyard.”
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