Elaine Sharon Portner
January 29, 2021

ELAINE SHARON PORTNER: Age 80, died peacefully on Friday, January 29, 2021. She was born in Detroit in 1940, the daughter of the late Genevieve and Harry Portner. She was the beloved wife of Paul A. Pilkonis for 38 years. She was the devoted mother of Daniel Blank (Eve), Michael Malloy (Marie), Judith Blank and Rebecca Blank; the caring stepmother of Julia Bear (Ran); the loving grandmother of Marc Malloy, Maximilian Malloy, and Cole Blank; and the attentive step grandmother of Ella Bear, Adam Bear, and Oren Bear. 

Elaine’s life centered around her attachments to others, foremost her immediate family, but also including close relationships to multiple nieces and nephews and numerous cousins and their children. She lavished care and concern on her family and adored her grandchildren who were an ongoing source of joy and pride. She also maintained a close circle of friends with whom she shared many memorable moments. 

Elaine had a lively intellectual life. She enjoyed books, puzzles, and good conversation. Friends and family appreciated her trenchant observations, pointed wit, mischievous sense of humor, and contagious laugh. She was admired for the whimsical poetry she wrote on behalf of family and friends for celebratory occasions. Her generosity of spirit and loving attitude were felt by all. 

Her commitment to family and relationships also informed her professional life. She graduated from the University of Michigan, and after receiving her advanced degrees (MSW and PhD) from the University of Pittsburgh, she was a member of the faculty for several years in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, most notably in the Family Therapy Clinic. Elaine’s reputation as an excellent therapist and teacher was recognized by colleagues and trainees. When she moved from academia in the 1980’s, she established a private practice in psychotherapy for the last several decades of her life, where she continued to treat families, couples, and individuals who benefited from her care.

In this time of Covid-19, there will be no visitation or funeral service. Interment at Homewood Cemetery will be Private. A memorial service will be held at a later, safer date. Donations may be made in Elaine's name to the Jewish Association on Aging. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. www.schugar.com 


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We knew Dr. Portner as clients. She initially told us she wasn't taking new patients and referred us elsewhere, but in that first conversation she showed wisdom and a great sense of humor and we were so disappointed that she declined us. The referral did not pan out and we called Dr. Portner back and literally begged her to take us. She did! We learned so much as individuals and as a couple-she saved us. We express our true sorrow to those who knew and loved her.

By JULIE and MARY - February 01, 2021

Dear Paul and all of your wonderful family, What a major loss for our world. Elaine was a dear person who was very lovable and loved us all. So many memories so many laughs and moments to treasure. Thank you Paul for taking care of her and loving her . \"Lainey\" we love you . May your memory be a blessing to us all. Rachie and Bruce Rosen

By Rachael & Bruce Rosen - January 30, 2021