Moving tribute from his son re-printed from the booklet of service at Gateway Community Church where Mr. Elliot attended and gave to his community. His story deserves a place.
“In the age when life of earth was full, no one paid any special attention to worthy men, nor did they single out the the man of ability. Rulers were simply the highest branch on the tree, and the people were like deer in the woods. They were honest and righteous, without realizing that they were ‘doing their duties’ they loved each other and did not know that this was ‘love of neighbour’. They deceived no one, they did not know ‘that they were men to be trusted’. They lived freely together, giving and taking and did not know that they were generous. For this reason their deeds have not been narrated. They made no history.”
When we meet quiet beings whose heart seem to be open, who can listen without interjecting something of themselves that needs acknowledgement. We notice that the quality, that most sets them apart from others is not their specialness, but rather the feeling of being no one special, nothing separate, ordinary. And yet because of ordinariness most people who met my father loved him and admired him, because there was nothing in him which obstructed love and understanding. When we were with him, we felt our own strength and weaknesses without any sense of praise or criticism. Because of this, when I was younger I could not see my father’s true worth. Surely, great men could be counted on one hand, because of their accomplishments. And then I perceived a great truth, that my father did not need to be acknowledged, recognized or revealed. He truly was a great man because he instinctively did not need anything for himself.
My father died the way he had lived. Quietly and with dignity, all he ever wanted was his family. The day he died two of his grandchildren came to visit their grandpa. To acknowledge him and to say good-bye in this lifetime. Although my father could not speak, his eyes spoke for him and I think both grandchildren felt unafraid in his presence and could feel the love emanating from him.
At time my father was afraid and this was alright. It was a new experience to die and any emotion was justified. But in the end he died with a smile and a look of such pure love and understanding on his face that the tears I cried then and now are tears of joy, a celebration of a truly great man.