Elsa Schroeder, 87, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family, on Tuesday, October 3, 2023. She was born Elsa Alba Diaz in Mendoza, Argentina, on March 24, 1936, to parents Rafael Custodio Diaz and Tomasa Andino Diaz.
She grew up in "Luján de Cuyo," Mendoza, Argentina, at the foot of the Andes mountains. She grew up in a close-knit community near an extended family that included many aunts, uncles, and cousins. She was close to her younger sister, Norma Morales, and younger brother, Daniel Diaz.
Born Elsa Alba Diaz, she married Jose Alfredo Luján in 1954 and had three sons: Carlos, Javier, and Hugo.
Elsa was a devoted, loving mother who shielded her young sons from harsh economic conditions. She always persevered and was industrious in providing her family's basic necessities. Elsa and her family emigrated from Argentina to the United States in 1971 and worked at various factories for many years; her last job was at Lord & Taylor, where she loved working and shopping.
She lived many years in Carteret, New Jersey. She remarried in 1985 to Elmer Schroeder and retired to Lakewood, New Jersey, where she lived for 16 years at Leisure Village, a retirement community; when her health deteriorated, she moved in with her son Javier in 2017.
Elsa loved gardening and spending time outdoors, including riding her bicycle. She enjoyed painting and caring for her birds, which included finches, parakeets, and canaries. She was always a loving friend and caring neighbor, always ready to offer support and kind words of encouragement.
Elsa is survived by Carlos Falconi and Emy, Javier Luján, and Bobby Moran, whom she loved like a son, Hugo Luján and his wife Sandra; her sister Norma and husband Tito; nieces Nori and Analia. She had seven grandchildren: Andrea, Cynthia (her little flea), Adrianita, Carlitos, Gaby, Brandon, and Zachary, whom she would play basketball with in her 70s; her beloved grandnieces Maria and Laura Smith; her grandnephew Fernando and Carolina and their daughters, Angelina, and Milena, her extended family in Argentina, whom she would often remember and speak of over "mate tea" and pastries. She also had ten great-grandkids: Liliana, Augustine, Emma, Vanessa, Antonio, Xavier, Jaqueline, Aiden, Sienna, and Willow, and more recently, a great-great-grandkid, Melody.
Elsa was a lady, always gracious and following proper Etiquette! She doted on the young grandchildren and nieces with phrases such as "Yes, sweetheart" and would prepare sweet treats for them, like cookies/cake or toast.
Elsa was very grateful to her caregiver, Cherry Bradford, and dear family friends, Magda Perez and Yvette Garcia, who were there during her final days to comfort her.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local food bank.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., at Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung, NJ. A funeral service will follow at the funeral home, commencing at 10:00 a.m. She will be laid to rest at Hillside Cemetery in Scotch Plains, NJ.