Obituary: Ena T. Moorhusen
Beloved mother, longtime Claremonter, traveler
Ena T. Moorhusen, 85, a Claremont resident for 50 years, died August 22 after a three-and-a-half year battle with cancer.
Mrs. Moorhusen was born to Peder and Anna Nielsen on April 2, 1936 in Grenaa, Denmark. She was the middle child of five kids. Ena grew up playing in the woods behind her house in the small fishing village of Grenaa, consisting of around 5,000 people at the time. She and her sisters and brother would pick berries, wild mushrooms, and play cowboys and Indians in the woods.
They would explore the beach and collect amber and the occasional petrified sea urchin. Outdoor games with the neighborhood kids was the most popular form of entertainment.
She had no computer, telephone, or television, and saw her first TV show when she was 18 years old. While most of her childhood was enjoyable, she also experienced the Nazi occupation of Denmark as a young child.
In 1958, at the age of 22, she obtained a green card by being sponsored by a Danish family in Connecticut. As a requirement of obtaining the green card, she had to maintain a job as an au pair for two years, check in with the government, and stay out of trouble. When her cousin, who came to America around the same time, failed to check in, the government showed up at her door to inquire as to what was happening.
When she first got a driver’s license, she and her girlfriends explored the country. She made a solo trip to see the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and also traveled to Washington D.C. to see the sights and the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
She then traveled back to Denmark for three months, and decided she had to live in the U.S.A. She said she loved the country at first sight, and that there was no better place to live. When she returned from Denmark, she got a job as a nanny in New York City, working for Hugh Auchincloss III, stepbrother to Jackie Kennedy. She was there when John Kennedy was elected president, and was excited to be a fly on the wall to many interesting conversations involving the Kennedys.
She then returned to Connecticut and moved in to the Old Greenwich Inn, where she would meet her future husband, Robert Moorhusen. They were married in 1962 in a humble backyard ceremony in Robert’s home town of Moline, Illinois.
Eventually the couple settled in Penfield, New York, where Mr. Moorhusen worked for the Xerox Corporation. They had a son, Scott in 1964, and a second, Mark, in 1967. In 1971, the family moved to Claremont after Mr. Moorhusen was transferred to Xerox’s Pomona office. He would later transfer to the company’s Pasadena location.
In her years in Claremont, she enjoyed playing tennis, skiing, hiking, travelling in general, camping up and down the coast of California in a large group with the wild turkeys, and managing her garden with her green thumb. She loved her nearby bike trail and hillside, and was a regular on the Thompson Creek Trail, getting up at the crack of dawn every day without fail to get her exercise and visit with nature. She would sit on the trail benches quietly at times and watch the deer, bobcats, and other animals, as others hurried by, often unaware of the nearby wildlife.
Her travels included several trips to Alaska, a trip to New Zealand and Australia, trips to Europe, Mexico and Russia. She also traveled to many different places in the U.S., but was particularly fond of the Redwoods, and visited many, many times.
When her kids were young, she would travel every few years to her native Denmark to spend six weeks with family in the summer. Her husband would join them for two weeks of the trip as he could not leave for six weeks at a time. It was a great experience for the kids, and they have great memories of experiencing a different culture at a young age.
“Ena always asked for people to remember the good times, and try not to cry for her,” her family shared.
She was predeceased by her husband Robert in 2012.
She is survived by her sons, Mark of Rancho Cucamonga, and Scott of Claremont; and many loving family in Denmark and America.