Sometimes even eighty years is just not long enough. On Friday morning at 10:30, his family by his side, Elwin slipped from this life. He died the way he spent much of his life, surrounded by people who adored him, smiling and laughing through our tears as we shared stories and memories. It was a fitting exit for a man who will best be remembered for always bringing a smile.
Whether you knew him as Elwin, or Ticker or Al; Dad or Grandad or even Elbow, I suspect everyone who reads this will remember best his sense of fun. A kind-hearted, inclusive humour that always made you feel a little special; because you were.
In 80 years he never let his family down, whether it meant driving through swirling snowstorms or helping with renovations or even babysitting (as long as everything was covered in a healthy supply of bubble wrap.) he was always there for us. And then there is the great love story. Fifty-one years married. On his last evening, even as he was too weak to speak or swallow, when he hadn't so much as lifted a spoon for over 24 hours, when Flick leaned forward to give him a kiss, he managed to lift his arms and wrap her in a hug one last time.
Though his cancer eventually caught up with him, Elwin did have one last trick up his sleeve. He was determined he was going to make his 80th birthday, and he did. On Monday, December 6th, he smiled and celebrated and marked the day with cake (courtesy of granddaughter Cait), an enormous bunch of balloons (courtesy of daughter in law Eleanor) and cards and well-wishes from all who loved him best.
Elwin did not want a funeral and we are respecting his wishes. Instead, next summer we will take his ashes to the ocean, and release him to the salt water, raging waves and sea air that he dearly loved.
And just one last thought. Elwin was born in 1941 Britain, a country at war and a world divided. Eighty years later, he leaves a world divided again. Yet those intervening eighty years he lived a life of honour, kindness, goodness and peppered with not just a little humour. We will all find our own way to honour him, but if you want somewhere to start, share a kind word, make someone smile, donate blood or if you really want to get into the spirit, tell an awful joke or two.
If you'd like, feel free to share your own Elwin story below, and if not please enjoy these pictures that we think sum up his spirit best.