Elissa Beryl Bishop-Becker, of Key West, continued her spiritual journey beyond this physical life on April 27, 2021 after a brief battle with cancer. Born to Milton and Hazel (Simpson) Kaufman on July 20, 1947 in New York, she grew up in New Hyde Park, Long Island, attending the public schools of Great Neck South. A journey through several universities (American, New School, Hofstra, Adelphi) brought her a bachelor’s degree in English from Hunter College. Her early vocational and avocational work was in editing and writing, especially poetry.
By her own admission and delight, her greatest achievement was the birth of her daughter, Ericka Brindl Bishop in 1975. A single mother for many years, she supported and encouraged Ericka toward eventual matriculation in Morse College at Yale University.
In 1992, Elissa married Randy Becker, a longtime friend to both herself and Ericka. In their married life, Elissa and Randy lived on Long Island; Williamsburg, Virginia; Park Forest, Illinois; and finally settling in Key West for the past 15 years.
Ericka’s tragic death in 1995 by a drunk driver, at age 20, followed closely by the death of her father that same year, was a turning point in Elissa’s life. She entered the community counseling program of the College of William and Mary in 1997, and in 1999 graduated with highest honors, became a licensed professional counselor, and a nationally certified counselor. Her specialization was grief and loss. Her professional work has touched the lives of many and her book “Loss and Growth: The Grief Spiral” has received wide acceptance and use.
Her personal life, as a spiritual person and medium, opened her to spirit communication. Nearly 26 years of those afterlife communications form the foundation of a spiritual approach known as Spiritual Persistence which emphasizes the unity of all existence, the holistic nature of spirit, and the promise of essential good amid infinite potential.
She is survived by her mother Hazel and a brother Richard, both of Long Island; her husband Randy; and three bonus daughters: Elizabeth McCann Mackay (David); Lee Lehman-Becker (James Larsson); Suki Lucier (John). Four grandchildren were the recent delights of her life: Eila Ericka Mackay; Gus Lucier; Gavin Mackay; Bram Larsson.
Her remains will be interred in Williamsburg, Virginia, alongside daughter Ericka. Gatherings of memory will be held at a time in the future after the limitations in an era of COVID.
The best memorial gifts would be the extension of kindness to others, a helping hand to those in need, a glimpse of hope to those who are distressed, and a flicker of whimsy in an oft-too-serious world.
If Elissa were to sum up her life and its lessons, she would quote daughter Ericka: “You can make it if you focus on connections, not on differences.”