Cover photo for Elvira Cerise's Obituary
1919 Elvira 2015

Elvira Cerise

November 11, 1919 — April 24, 2015

The friendly, vibrant lady with the thick Italian accent who was affectionately known around Saratoga as "Nana" passed away this week. Elvira M. (Nana) Cerise, 95, died Friday, April 24, 2015 in the new end of life care facility at the Deseret Health & Rehab in Saratoga. Funeral services are scheduled for Friday, May 1, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Ann's Catholic Church with Father Joey Buencamino officiating. Interment will follow in the family plot at the Saratoga Cemetery. Elvira (pronounced Elveera) was born Nov. 11, 1919, in Florence, (Rockvale) Colo., to Italian emigrants Persida (Berta) and Emeri Martial and lived in Florence until she was four years old when the family returned to Aosta, a farming area high in the Swiss Alps of Northern Italy. She spent 12 years in Italy before returning to the United States and moving in with her aunt and uncle in Leadville, Colo., a journey she made alone as a girl of 16. Since she didn't speak English upon her arrival in Leadville she was placed in the first grade class to learn the language. On Oct. 7, 1939, in Leadville she married Alvi B. Cerise, a man she was attracted to because he could speak her native language of "patois" which was a combination of Swiss and Italian. After her husband lost his job as a miner they took out a loan and built the Alps Motel in Leadville, a business the couple owned and operated until 1993 when they moved to Saratoga to get her husband to a lower elevation and to be closer to family. Her husband died in 1994. For the past several years she has been sharing a home with her daughter, Betty McIlvaine. Over the years Nana returned to Italy 20 times. She had taken or provided trips to her ancestral home for all of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Throughout her years in Saratoga, Nana enjoyed and supported her grandchildren and great-grandchildren along with spreading good will to everyone, especially young folks. It is said she never knew a stranger and befriended all who would listen and share her cheery life. She was an active member of St. Ann's Catholic Church as well as the Catholic Women's organization. She also belonged to the Eagles Auxiliary. Survivors include her daughter Betty Lou McIlvaine, a son Alvi E. Cerise; grandchildren Michelle (Mike) McWain and Scott (Michelle) McIlvaine; great-grandchildren, Ryan and Sierra Schutte, all of Saratoga; step-grandson Ronald (Kaydee) Cerise and family, and step-great-grandson Justin McWain and family as well as four nieces and seven nephews. Preceding her in death were her parents, husband, a grandson Michael McIlvaine, son-in-law Bob McIlvaine, a brother Aldo Martial, and two sisters, Ilma Diaferia and Selmina Vierin. The "Nana Cerise" memorial fund has been established at the Bank of the West, Box 1650, Saratoga, WY 82331 with contributions going to St. Ann's Catholic church and the Meredith and Jeannie Ray Cancer Center in Laramie. Condolences may be sent to the family at P. O. Box 5, Saratoga, WY 82331.


Friday, May 1, 2015 10:00am

St. Ann's Catholic Church

218 W. Spring Ave.



Saratoga Cemetery

Saratoga, WY


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elvira Cerise, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 16

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree