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Elizabeth Lee “Libbi” Enochs, age 81, bravely fought a year-long battle with cancer. Surrounded by her loving family, she took her last breath and went home to be with Jesus on Friday evening, September 22, 2023, at Mercy Medical Center in Merced, CA.
Libbi was born on December 13, 1941, in Bakersfield, CA to Wallace and Elizabeth Matjasic. The family moved to Arcadia, CA in 1948, only to return to Bakersfield in 1953. Her love for reading started as a young child and caused her to be late for dinner many nights. The family spent every summer and most holidays at her grandfather’s ranch in Ojai and down the hill at Carpinteria Beach. Instilling a love for travel, her parents also took the family camping throughout the Western United States every summer until she left for college, and in 1962 they attended the World’s Fair in Seattle.
After attending Bakersfield College, she transferred to California State University, Chico, where she met the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Enochs. They were married at First Presbyterian Church in Bakersfield on June 29th, 1963. That same summer they moved to Le Grand, CA where Bob had accepted a teaching position. For the next 60 years, their home was a gathering place. Whether it was after a Friday night football game or when someone stopped by unexpectedly, all were welcome in Libbi’s home. She could put together a meal on the spur of the moment, which seemed as though it had been planned for days.
After the arrival of their three daughters, Erin, Robin and Carin, Libbi went back to school to complete her degree and earned her teaching credential through Chapman University. She was a dedicated teacher at Le Grand Elementary School, starting out as a preschool teacher, later teaching kindergarten and second grade. She was beloved by the many students and families whose lives she touched over the years. She retired in June of 2004, but that did not keep her from sharing her love of learning with new generations of students. She continued to volunteer at the elementary school, reading to classes on a weekly basis.
Over the years, Libbi and Bob traveled quite a bit; camping in their younger years, taking road trips throughout the U.S. and Canada, and in later years, they found great joy in taking their grandsons on trips in their travel trailer. Through campfires, great meals, and countless games of Yahtzee, they created unforgettable memories for their children, grandchildren, other family members and friends. On the rare occasion that they had a weekend at home alone, Libbi could be found enjoying nature while sitting in Bob’s boat with her nose in a book while he fished.
Libbi was a devoted Christian and prayer warrior. She loved her Bible study group, with whom she gathered in friendship and fellowship for 18 years. She was also known for “adopting” families during the holidays to help with their needs at school and at home.
Libbi leaves a legacy of love, commitment, generosity, and a true servant’s heart. Her three daughters, Erin Enochs, Robin Enochs, and Carin Chumbley each had a unique connection and deep love for their precious “Momma.” She was the first one they called for everything, and the one they celebrated every important accomplishment with. Libbi treated her two sons-in-law, Steve Podell and Torey Chumbley, as if they were her own. One of Libbi’s greatest joys was being “Gram” to her three grandsons and step grandson: Hunter Emmert, Chase Podell, Maximilian Podell and Trevor Chumbley. She loved her granddaughter-in-law, Marquelle Emmert, and thought of her as one of her own. Last year, Libbi joyously welcomed her great-granddaughter and namesake, Ruth Elizabeth Emmert.
Libbi is also survived by her only sister, Margaret Ann Elliott. The two sisters shared a close relationship. They loved spending time together, going wine tasting, and looking at open houses and model homes. They attended the San Luis Obispo County Open Art Studios event every fall for more than 15 years. Libbi and Margaret Ann shared a love for travel too, along with her niece Lisa Elliott, whom she loved like a daughter. They were Libbi’s favorite traveling companions. The three of them (sometimes accompanied by others) traveled to 9 countries together.
Libbi was a dear friend to many. She had several close groups of friends, many of whom she met in her first years in Le Grand and with whom she remained close to until her last days. Her bunco group and garden club friends were near and dear to her heart. These ladies gathered together regularly and over the decades shared all of life's experiences with one another, from the births of their children and grandchildren to the loss of family members and friends.
In addition to Libbi’s passion for travel, she loved a good book. She was known for sitting and reading for as long as she could get away with it. She instilled this love in her children and grandchildren. Books were her favorite gift to give. Her grandsons and great-granddaughter treasure the many books with personal messages written by their “gram.” Libbi was a generous giver, known to spoil everyone, for any occasion. She remembered every birthday, anniversary, graduation, and any other special occasion. She sent cards and checks to all her family, near and far. Not only caring for those nearby, she also sponsored children through Compassion International and City Impact. She was determined that people felt known and loved.
Libbi will be remembered for her fierce devotion to family, her quick wit and ready smile, her love of books, her faith, her culinary skills, her flower garden, her generous nature, and her love of children. She was a beautiful lady, inside and out. Though she is desperately missed, her family celebrates that she is with Jesus now. The sweet promises He gives for eternal life are the greatest comfort of all.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-10
Family, friends, and others whose lives Libbi touched are invited to the Plainsburg Cemetery, 8943 Gillette Ave, Plainsburg on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at 1:00 PM. A celebration of life, and an opportunity to reminisce, grieve, and support each other, will follow for family and close friends at Madera Golf and Country Club, 19297 Rd 26, Madera, CA 93638.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Le Grand Garden Club, toward the scholarship fund. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 142, Le Grand, CA 95333.