Goodbye Elmer

Elmer Blue died in July and we never knew.

We lived just a few houses away from Elmer in Silver Spring’s Northwood Park subdivision. We first met Elmer shortly after we moved into our house in late 2002. Elmer used to walk his aging pudgy terrier past our house and he would always stop by and talk to our basset hounds. My wife soon learned that Elmer liked our hounds because he once had a basset.

Elmer (December 13, 1925- July 16, 2010) had suffered a stroke in 1995 and his speech was affected and as a result we never really spoke much. Last year, when we noticed that Elmer was no longer walking his old black dog, we walked over to his house and offered to get him a rescue basset. He declined our offer.

We saw little of Elmer after that. We didn’t know that he had died until today when we arrived home from an errand to see junk haulers cleaning out his house. I suspected that the cleaning meant that Elmer had died and a quick Google search confirmed my guess.

I’ve missed Elmer and his dog for a while and now I know that I’ll never get to see him walking down the street towards the park. Clearly, I wasn’t close to Elmer but I will miss him.

After I read Elmer’s obituary, I was left wanting to know more about him. Aside from the obligatory list of surviving relatives, the obituary had very few details about Elmer’s life. The obituary noted that he worked in banking; I found Washington Post articles that tracked his career through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s with the Madison National Bank where he rose to become a vice-president in Washington.

A 1966 Washington Post news brief announced Elmer’s engagement to Patricia Ann Alley but I couldn’t find anything else about Elmer’s life and family.

Elmer had lived in our neighborhood since at least the 1980s. He apparently lived with his aunt in the house just down the street. In 1981, Elmer and his aunt ensured that a longtime family friend who had for many years rented a room from Elmer’s aunt would have a home long after her death.

Goodbye Elmer and thank you for making our girls so happy with your greetings.