Steve Prefontaine’s Mother, Elfriede Prefontaine, Has Died at Age 88

Elfriede Prefontaine
Elfriede Prefontaine (Oregonian)
Elfriede Prefontaine
Elfriede Prefontaine

Elfriede Prefontaine, mother of legendary track and field star Steve Prefontaine, has passed away. She was 88 years old.

“Anyone who knew Elfriede knew how strong-willed she was — and stubborn,” Prefontaine Classic director Tom Jordan said. “Even though she was always soft-spoken and very self-effacing, she had a toughness that Steve had also.”

Elfriede Prefontaine was a passionate track and field fan, particularly her son who may be one of the greatest Oregon athletes ever. Even after his death she continued to support the local athletes and teams.

“Anybody who loses a son, there’s nothing worse than that,” Pat Tyson, one of Pre’s teammates said in an article by the Register Guard. “But Elfriede continued to live Steve’s life.”

“She loved to be there to honor (Pre’s) spirit.”

Elfriede Prefontaine is survived by her daughter Linda, stepdaughter Neta Prefontaine, sister Irma Button, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. There will be a memorial service in Coos Bay. Elfriede Prefontaine will be placed in the family’s plot at Sunset Memorial Park in Coos Bay where she will be be next to her mother, husband and Steve.

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