Norman John Ely |

Norman John Ely

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

On March 2, 2013, Norman John “Pa” Ely said a final “I love you” to his family and relaxed the grip with which he had held onto life for all of his 80 years.

Norm was the tenth generation of Elys to live in Connecticut. The first generation having initially arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1655, immediately following the Mayflower. Norm’s ambition, however, was to be the one of first in his family to graduate college. He enlisted in the Marines to take advantage of the GI Bill and rose to the rank of sergeant and rifle drill instructor.

While stationed in Alabama, he met the love of his life, Doris McClure, and after a long, four-month courtship, married on the day of his discharge, even after she wrecked his brand new Mercury. After years of working and going to school at night he graduated and started a career as an accountant. Norm worked and lived throughout the Northeast in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey before retiring and moving to Colorado. He and Doris came to Colorado following their son John, hoping that they would someday have some grandchildren.

Like most of us who have found ourselves in Colorado, Norm was born again in the mountains. At the seasoned age of 57 he learned to downhill, raft, horseback ride and climbed the first of more than a score of 14ers. Along with his friends in the 100 Club, he hiked more than 2,830 miles of the backcountry until his cancer slowed him down.

Norm and Doris eventually were blessed with two grandchildren and together they shared their senior years and childhood. Norm found his highest calling turned out to be as a grandpa. Julia and Michael traveled with them on mountain getaways and were lucky enough to spend birthdays and Christmases with their grandparents. Norm taught his grandchildren to build, to do the right thing at the right time and how to get the most out of each day.

Norm is remembered for his tools and the things he built, by his great neighbors, his kind friends and his family, in whom he continues to live.

Norm is survived by his wife, Doris, whom he loved every day for more than 57 years and in whose arms he died; by his son John, who finally matured enough to appreciate all that he did for him; by his daughter-in-law Erin, who realized early on that he was her go-to guy for getting things done; his grandkids, Michael and Julia who understood him; and two golden retrievers, about whom Pa would profess if you pet a dog in the morning you’ll have something to do for the rest of the day. Norm is also survived by his brother Wayne, several sisters-in-law and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers or gifts Norm has asked you to consider donating to Wounded Warriors or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

A service will be held Saturday, March 9, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the Farnum Holt Funeral Home Chapel in Glenwood Springs, CO, with a reception to follow at the Rivers Restaurant in Glenwood Springs, CO.

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