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Elaine Louise Cota

03/11/1970 - 03/31/2023
Service Date: 04/15/2023
Service Time: 11:00 am
Service Location: Bunker Garden Chapel
Visitation Date: 04/15/2023
Visitation Time: 10:00 am
Visitation Location: Bunker Garden Chapel 33 N Centennial Way Mesa, AZ 85201

Elaine was born, Elaine Louise Barker to Carol Ann Barker and David Galen Barker, in Pratt, KS, March 11, 1970 in a blizzard. She passed away with friends and family near her on Friday, March 31, 2023 after battling cancer for several years. She was raised in Pratt, mostly by her mother, Carol until age 11. The family then moved to Scottsdale, AZ where her mother remarried. Elaine missed being far from her grandparents and some lifelong friends, but she enjoyed Arizona. She adopted the nickname Cricket, and then later Lainey. She graduated from McClintock High School, in Tempe, AZ where she became involved with Junior Achievement, meeting other students from high schools all over the East Valley. She attended on scholarship, all four years, Junior Achievement’s annual convention in Bloomington, Indiana. Later she attended as a photographer and then became a “Pink Fink”, a counselor of a group, at NAJAC. She met lifelong friends through Junior Achievement, and she claimed they were a part of “saving” her. She attended Mesa Community College where she met and married Fernando Cota, she always claimed to have got her “Mrs” degree there. They celebrated their 30th Wedding Anniversary in Hawaii with their son, Vincent Cota and his girlfriend, Caroline Fiss. Elaine had an amazing 30+ year career in newspapers in Mesa and Ahwatukee areas with the East Valley Tribune, Ahwatukee Foothills News and many more papers throughout Arizona. She was the “classified guru” and had some treasured customers for over 20 years, many for over 15 years. She made so many lifelong friends in her years through the newspapers, she treasured them and held them close to her heart. However, everyone knows that Elaine is happy to be reunited with Vicki Serna and hopes everyone is jealous! Elaine started scrapbooking in 1988 when she put together a scrapbook for her Junior Achievement NAJAC group. In 1995, when pregnant with Vincent she started up again and she never quit. Scrapbooking was her hobby but it was part of her being. Everyone that knew her, knew she was a paper crafter. One of her favorite things to do was to make and send cards, which she did for years and years. She loved to surprise friends with “happy mail.” The friends she “collected” through the years with scrapbooking is expansive. She had friends from all over the country, knowing some only through the computer screen, but that she felt extremely close with. She attended many scrapbooking retreats and gained even more friends. Elaine is survived, by her loving husband, Fernando Cota; her son, Vincent; father in law, John Cota of Heber, AZ, mother in law, Roxanna Cota of Phoenix, AZ and Mama Sharon Dodson of Ellis, KS; sisters, Betty Eisenhour of Stafford, KS, Latisha Haag, of Ellis, KS, Kendra Turner of Hutchinson, KS, and Joann Cota of Peoria, AZ; nephews: Art Olmos of Mesa, AZ and Philip, Noah, Isaiah and Simon Eisenhour of Stafford, KS, Zeke and Asher Haag of Ellis, KS, Zade and Zerek Turner of Hutchinson, KS; nieces: Kaydawn Haag of Ellis, KS, Lora, Heidi, and Hannah Eisenhour of Stafford, KS; and grandniece, Mardou Bey of Mesa, AZ; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and hundreds of friends. Elaine leaves behind friends by the hundreds, however, Barbara Duran, Stephanie Brunner, and Christine Torres will be especially missed on the daily. Elaine battled Kidney Cancer, being diagnosed during the pandemic, September 2020. She and her family would like to thank Mayo Clinic for their compassionate care; her friends and her Facebook Group members for supporting her journey every step of the way; for all the prayers, cards, gifts, and so much love expressed to her that helped carry her through the hard days. In lieu of flowers please feel free to make a donation on behalf of Elaine Cota to one of the following: • The Olive Press, Domestic Shelter in Mesa https://theolivepress.org/ • Hospice of the Valley https://www.hov.org/donate/ • Crops of Luv, https://cropsofluv.org/ They complete scrapbooks of trips of ill children that have gone on their Wish trip.

This obituary was written by Elaine (Lainey) Cota, who continues to take care of those she leaves behind.

Visitation and services will be held on Saturday, April 15, 2023 Visitation 10am-11am Services 11am Bunker Family Funerals & Cremation 33 N. Centennial Way Mesa, AZ 85201


Arrangements by Bunker’s Garden Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.


  • Fernando and Vincent, my deepest condolences to the both of you. Lainey was such a beautiful and amazing woman with a heart of gold. Thank you for sharing her with me these past 25 years. I’m not sure how I will go on without her but I know she will always be with me as I will carry her in my heart forever. Rest easy my sweet best friend, I love you and miss you so much!

  • My condolences to the Cota family, and to the extended family. I have known Lainey since the Tribune days, and glad she gets to see two of the friends we have lost Vicki and Shelly I am sure they are together talking about the good old days. Lainey was a treasure to know one of the nicest person I ever met. Again my condolences my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Tuesday Mahrle

    It’s the hugs. Her hugs could change the worst day to manageable. I considered her a second mother and she was ALWAYS there for me. It’s hard to imagine that I will not get a text or meme from her every week or so. Her birthday cards and ‘just cuz’ cards will hold lasting memories in my heart and my desk.

  • Ginny Hernandez

    Fernando and Vincent, my heartfelt sympathies on your loss. May our Lord surround you with comfort and understanding during this time of sorrow. There is no card that I could find that would compare with a card Lainey would make. Our love , prayers and thoughts are with you.

  • Bonnie McAnally

    Fernando, Vincent and family…May your hearts find solace in remembering her light, beauty and laughter. We stayed in touch after the arena days, via social media, V’s first documentary(wouldn’t have missed it for the world). I was honored to be included as an “earth angel” and to be a part of her journey although it was not the ending we hoped for. Her kind words, bold sense of humor and her beautiful artwork will always be remembered. Beautiful soul taken way too soon. For you Lainey, F*#k cancer!

  • Araceli Denogean

    Tio and Vincent my condolences to you and all the family. When I lost my son Cameron she was there for me and checked up on me. She was beautiful and such a kind person. She is loved and she will be missed. Lots of love and prayers.

  • Fernando, Vinny thoughts and prayers are with you guys. I have nothing but fun memories and laughs spent with y’all from years ago. She kept her head high throughout this whole battle, was truly a blessing to see and interact with her on her angels page. Also losing a number of family in the 2 years to this terrible assassin cancer, I am so heartbroken for you both. I just don’t have words big enough to express how sad I feel for you all so I’ll just say God bless and though I’m not on speed dial if there’s anything I can do let me know. Good journey Lainey. #cancersucks

  • Christina Torres

    My heartfelt condolences to you Fernando and Vincent. Lainey’s bright and beautiful soul will be missed more than ever. She was such an amazing human being with such a big heart and so much love for everyone who was blessed to have her in their life. Thank you so much for allowing me to have time with her and sharing her light with me. Lainey showed me a trueness of friendship and love I will forever be grateful for. I am trying to learn to see the world with out her in it and that is hard but I will carry her in my heart and soul forever. Rest in peace my beautiful friend. I love and miss you so much!

  • Fernando and Vincent

    Lainey had so much love in her life. I knew her largely through scrapbooking retreats, but I looked forward to them because I knew she would be there. I loved seeing all the cards she could pound out in a weekend, and her method for getting them all out in a timely manner. But I especially loved how kind she was to everyone she was in contact with.

  • Acuna Otilia, (Tillie)

    I didn’t know Lainey very well!, but I aLways heard of her generosity and talent and I offer my sympathy to Fernando, and son, and all the family. I’m John Cota’s cousin and love you all!

  • karen sherman

    Lainey was the one in a million that touched everyone she met, even those that were only in her life briefly. Her kindness, compassion, and love, shone through her in a radiant light that everyone felt! I will miss her but am glad that she no longer is suffering. Her legacy will live on and on through her friends and family! Rest in peace, Lainey!

  • I only met Lainey when recently in AZ at the request of her sister, Betty. What I thought would be a quick lunch turned into a lengthy conversation and connection. Lainey certainly left a lasting impression on my heart and I’m so fortunate to have met her❤️

  • Rhonda Kendalll

    Oh Lainey. I will miss you more than you know ❤️

  • My Lainey Loo you will always be! You had such a heart of gold and always so caring. Your smile and laugh was so contagious. I will love you always my Lainey Loo. So grateful for the 20+ year friendship we had. Meeting you when we lived in Mesa (of course through scrapbooking and card making (Close to My Heart), then continuing that friendship long after we moved away. Long heartfelt conversations kept us close. I will treasure all the cards you’ve sent me over the years and all the funny & wonderful memories of our friendship. I LOVE you and I MISS you forever and always. All my love my beautiful friend, Rest in Peace Queen Lainey, Rest in Peace❤️

  • Joann Arellano

    Fernando and Vincent, my deepest condolences. The support and strength you all demonstrated during the last few years is amazing. Elaine didn’t stop trying and living her best life even through her pain, treatments, and appointments. I envision her running through a field of sunflowers free of pain and agony. Her light will continue to shine bright through you two and all of the lives she touched (including mine).

  • Alyssa Andrews

    My condolences to Fernando and Vincent and all who loved Lainey. She was a joy and left her mark with everyone she met. I love that she’s with Vickey in heaven.

  • Fernando and Vincent..
    My deepest sympathies to you.
    Oh my Lainey. What a joy you are to know. I can’t tell you how very much you will be missed or by how many.
    You were such a force in this world, your light shone so brightly. And brightened up this whole world.
    I thank you for sharing.. your many kindness’s, your happy spirit, that wonderful wicked glint in your eye, that laughter , the snort…your very deepest thoughts and feelings, your incredible strength and detetmination…. your delightful spirit , those snarky card sentiments. Thank you for being the best darn hugger . The very kindest person. You are missed. So deeply by so many . Enjoy those wings Girlie.
    By God you earned them. Love ya

  • Lainey, you will be missed! You and Fernando were so kind to me and my family when my sister, Vicki passed away. I will never forget that. You were an exceptional friend; funny and tender hearted all at once. You will live on in the hearts of many.

  • Fernando and Vincent,
    I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of your Lainey! She was so kind to me when I worked at AFN. I only wish I worked there longer, so I would have had more time to learn more about the amazing person she was. She treated me with love and kindness that I will keep in my heart forever! 💜💜💜

  • Sonja Claw, Kingman AZ

    I met Lainey through my friend, Loretta Begay, and we attended many crops & scrapbook retreats together. Lainey was so good about posting updates on FB as Loretta battled Covid. Now they are together & better be saving a spot for me at their table! Condolences to Lainey’s family & friends. Lainey, I will miss your kind-hearted spirit.

  • Sorry to hear of such sad news. Elaine, Fernando, and I were good friends in college. Elaine and I worked on the school newspaper together and well as started the Entrepreneurs Club at MCC. May God comfort you during this time of grief.

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