Elmerice and Andreas Traks: A Tale of Two Countries

A Tale of Two Countries

Elmerice and Andreas Traks

Elmerice and Andreas Traks


Gift Type: Will

“Giving back is important to us.  We are of two countries – Estonia and the United States.  America has been our home for more than half a century.  We are grateful for our life here and want to help others.”

Elmerice Traks, M.D. and her husband, Andreas, were both born and raised in the Baltic country of Estonia.  While still in high school, World War II started.  Estonia was not spared during this conflict.  First the country was overrun by the Soviets and then came the German conquest followed again by Soviet occupation.

Like Andreas, Elmerice and her parents narrowly escaped along with 80,000 Estonians who managed to flee to either Germany or Sweden just before the Soviet tanks rolled in again.  She continued her studies in medicine, and after successful scholastic achievement, was awarded her Doctor of Medicine degree in 1950.  In 1949, prior to graduation, she met and married a fellow Estonian refugee, Andreas, who was serving as an officer in the U.S. Military Labor Service in Germany.

Elmerice and Andreas applied for, and were admitted, as immigrants to the U.S. in the fall of 1951 and became naturalized U.S. citizens in 1957. She did her Internship at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey during the years of 1952-1953.  In 1953, Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland offered her a residency in medicine.

During her 30 years as a medical doctor, Elmerice worked at Lutheran Hospital where she served her residency both at Lutheran Hospital and Cleveland City Hospital (now MetroHealth). She was certified as a Specialist in Internal Medicine in 1961, and became Board Certified in the subspecialty of cardiovascular disease.

She authored or co-authored several specialized studies appearing in our American Heart Journal during the years of 1958-1965. She was involved in the cardiology teaching program, especially regarding murmurs associated with congenital and valvular heart disease.  According to her doctor colleagues, “Elmerice had the best ears in the department,” referring to her interpretation of what she heard through her stethoscope.

During her career at MetroHealth, Elmerice had the opportunity to know Paul Dudley White, M.D., for whom our planned giving society is named. 

We are delighted that Elmerice and Andreas have chosen to make a planned gift with the American Heart Association to further cardiovascular research – something near and dear to her heart.

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