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Elisabeth Køster Ryland passed away August 4, 2023. She was born November 22, 1938 in Copenhagen, Denmark to a family of teachers and musicians. She grew up with a love of music and literature, as well as adventure stories, dreaming of foreign lands and escaping the social strictures of Danish society. At the age of 18, she spent several months in London working at Foyle’s bookstore. After attending university in Copenhagen, Elisabeth was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship by the US government to come study English instruction at Florida State University. At FSU, she met a young American named John Ryland, and the two were married in Copenhagen in 1966. With two young children, the couple returned to the United States in 1971.
Elisabeth and John eventually divorced, but along the way she continued her studies, earning an MBA from FSU and a PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill as a single mother of two teenage boys. In North Carolina, she met Valdemar Eff, himself a native Dane with three sons. They married and continued their adventures in San Bernardino, California, where Elisabeth became Professor of Management and eventually associate dean at California State University. At CSUSB, Elisabeth channeled her passion for the environment into her scholarship. She published academic research papers and designed classes on green management and taught her students how to incorporate what would later be called sustainable practices into their business careers.
In her personal life, she read widely about Eastern spiritual practices, taught her children to love literature and respect nature, enjoyed the national forest near her home, and went on many adventures. In the early 1990s, having read Paramahansa Yogananda’s book Autobiography of a Yogi, she began meditating, studying with, and attending Yogananda’s church, Self-Realization Fellowship, all of which she continued for the rest of her life.
After retirement, Elisabeth enjoyed traveling with Val, visiting her family in Georgia, Tennessee, and Denmark, re-reading Jane Austen, studying with SRF, and playing Danish and classical music on her piano. Two years after Val passed away in 2016, she moved to Atlanta to be closer to her children. In her later years, she began translating the writings of Yogananda into Danish, work that she continued until she could no longer type. Elisabeth will be remembered for her service to her church, her dedication to learning and the environment, and her love for her family. She was never happier than being surrounded by her children and grandchildren.
Elisabeth Ryland was pre-deceased by her parents, Aase Køster and Carl Jørgensen, and her brother Jørgen Sprogøe Køster. She is survived by her son, Søren Sprogøe Ryland and his wife Wanda of Atlanta, GA; her son Christopher Raines Ryland, his wife Nila Anand Sathe and their children Sonia Anand Sathe Ryland and Anika Køster Sathe Ryland of Nashville, TN; her first husband John Allen Ryland of Atlanta, GA; her stepson Kent Christian Eff, and his wife, Heather Gray Eff, of San Francisco, CA; her stepson, Erik Anthon Eff of Austin, TX and his three children, Carmen Marie Eff, Julia Madeleine Eff and Christian Henrik Eff; her stepson, Todd Henrik Eff and his wife, Kelly Ann Eff, of Redlands, CA, and their daughter, Brenda Tanya White. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Ingrid Køster, her nephew Jakob Køster and his family, her nephew Peter Køster and his family, and her niece Anna Køster and her family, all of Denmark.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on August 19, on 2023 5:30 PM at Self-Realization Fellowship, 4000 King Springs Rd SE, Smyrna, GA 30082.
Georgia Cremation Duluth is assisting the family with arrangements.