April 8, 1957 — June 24, 2019
“Eli” to most of us, and “Grandpa Eli” to a bunch more, of Corvallis, died at age 62 on June 24, 2019, after a short and stoic battle with cancer.
Eli adored his family and was happiest when he was with them. He delighted in doing things for his wife, Rebecca, that he knew would put a smile on her face. Working on shop projects with his daughter, Margaret; hiking with his daughter, Sarah; and watching his stepson, Jake’s sporting events were activities he especially enjoyed doing with them. His very biggest smiles came when he was playing with his grandkids. Eli also saw his siblings as often as he could, planning and hosting family reunions and outdoor activities, running in half marathons with some of them, and collaborating on shop projects with them. He took his family on countless hikes and camping and backpacking trips, instilling especially in his daughters a love of nature and the simple pleasures of being outdoors.
Eli loved children and enjoyed acting as a Grandpa to countless little ones. Children of coworkers could count on finding fun toys at Eli’s desk. His handmade cradle was passed around to the babies of his friends, neighbors, and relatives, and they learned to walk by pushing his handmade trundle car. His own grandchildren, Calvin, Amity and Willie, held a very special place in his heart, but given the chance, he would play with any baby or child within reach. He was able to get extra time with children as a volunteer at the Eugene relief nursery where he explained, “I get to hold and play with babies for free!”
A maker and tinkerer his entire life, Eli taught his daughters from a very young age how to fix and build all kinds of things and, most importantly, to learn enough about a trade to do it well.
He was generous with his time, tools, and knowledge, helping anyone who asked. Very few people could match the number and variety of hobbies and interests that Eli had. Calling himself an “unqualified engineer,” he tried his hand at countless skills: woodworking, metalwork, fiber arts, watercolor, paper craft, concrete casting, stereo photography, bonsai, home brewing and winemaking, bread baking, ukulele building, rope spinning, telescope making and even shoemaking.
Always adventurous and eager to experience new things, Eli tried skydiving (with a faulty parachute no less), flying in a homebuilt airplane, taking his homemade boat, the “Oregon High Lakes”, into numerous lakes in the mountains, paragliding, snow camping, mountain climbing, and tree climbing.
Many of his friends and family have a story to tell about some crazy adventure with Eli.
Eli valued the people in his life and made a point to learn the names of everybody he met. He always had a kind word to say about everyone. The list of people who love him and consider themselves lucky to have known him is long, and they know that he felt the same about them. Even in his last days Eli would look around at his family and friends and tell his nurses, “You have no idea how lucky I am.”
Eli is survived by his wife, Rebecca; daughters, Margaret (Brian) and Sarah (Kevin); stepchildren, Sarah (Travis), Anna, and Jake; grandchildren, Calvin, Amity, and Willie; and his siblings, Lucy, Mark (Robin), Karen, Julie (Tony), and Matthew (Kimberly).
A celebration of life for Eli will be held at 1 p.m. on August 31 at the Lions Picnic Shelter at Avery Park in Corvallis.
If desired, donations may be made to the Eugene Relief Nursery at reliefnursery.org, or to any charity of your choice.