Elli Riismandel was a lawyer educated both in her native country Estonia and the United States.
She held a law degree from University of Tartu and a Master of Comparative Law (MCL) degree from the George Washington University Law School in the District of Columbia.
She was the first woman with a European law degree to be awarded the MCL degree.
This legal background served her well while being employed at the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress from which she retired in 1982 as a Senior Copyright Examiner after 15 years of service.
Elli had worked in the private sector as an office manager before moving to the Copyright Office.
In retirement, Elli participated with the Estonian section of Voice of America in the celebration of the bicentennial of the United States Constitution. She prepared and delivered weekly broadcasts to Estonia over the period of a year on the founding and development of the US Constitution.
Elli Riismandel was born on August 8, 1917 in Tarvastu township of Estonia. She completed her basic and higher education in Estonia.
In 1944, to escape the reoccupation of the country by the Soviet Union and the Stalinist regime, she left for Germany with her husband Vaino. As a war refugee, she spent the following years until 1949 in a Displaced Persons Camp (DPC) in Germany. During their time in the DPC, Elli and Vaino had two sons.
They were admitted to the United States and arrived on 24 September 1949. After arriving in New York, the family moved to Illinois and then settled in the Washington, DC area in 1952, where she studied and worked, with a 3-year interruption spent in the Philippines. Her husband served as a civilian legal counsel on the staff of the Commander of Naval Forces. In the Philippines, Elli was an active member of the Officer’s Wives Club and served as a volunteer Red Cross trained aide at the Naval Hospital.
Elli leaves behind, Vaino, her husband of 72 years; sons, John (Linda) and Jack (Kathleen); five grandchildren, Paul, Kristen Oxendine, Kyle, Michael and Timothy; six great-grandchildren, and younger sister, Jenny Kallisaar in Tallinn, Estonia.
A Memorial Service was held at Joseph Gawler’s Sons Chapel, 5130 Wisconsin Avenue, NW (corner of Harrison Street) Washington, DC on Saturday February 7, 2015. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to; Estonian Amen Fund, P.O. Box 7369, Silver Spring, MD 20907. Also online at EAFund.org.