Lee Richardson Elliott, age 61, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Lee was a Christmas Eve baby, born on December 24, 1951, to Paul and Evelyn Elliott. He attended preschool in Kingsville, and grade school in Bishop, Texas. He graduated from Bishop High school in 1969. He went on to attend classes at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&I Kingsville, and Del Mar College, before graduating from UT in 1973. He continued his education by earning his teaching certificate in 1979, and began a career as a math teacher in the Valley.
Lee was a beloved friend, teacher, and athlete in and around Brownsville and South Padre Island, Texas. His accomplishments as a semi-pro baseball player in Matamoras are legendary. He taught at Hanna High School and St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville, all the while continuing his baseball career, and surfing at South Padre whenever he could. He returned to Austin in the late 1980s and was accepted into the graduate program at UT Austin, where he received his M.Ed in Education Psychology in 1989. He began his counseling career in Austin working at treatment centers. He also found time to see Nirvana on their last tour. Once Lee completed his Licensed Professional Counselor training, he returned to the Corpus Christi area and spent time working in Aransas Pass and in Corpus itself in various capacities aimed at guiding and helping patients who needed his expertise. After years of full-time counseling work, Lee began teaching psychology part time at Del Mar College.
He and his wife, Hanna Beth Elliott, were married on April 1, 2002, in Bastrop, Texas. They exchanged vows and rings there that are meant to hold them together through anything they could face in this life and the next. Lee and Hanna settled in Corpus Christi after marrying and spent time traveling out West together, working, and continuing their education. They bought their first house in 2004 where their initials are still carved in the driveway. On May 5, 2005, they welcomed their first son, Isaac Barrett. Lee was meant to be a father, and fell into the role whole-heartedly. On November 27, 2006, their second son, Odin Ezra was born, a baby boy planned because Lee couldn't wait to be a Papa again. Hanna and Lee completed their family with the addition of Arlo Zephen, their third son, on September 24, 2009. He was the baby they'd been waiting for, and became the family unit they were intended to be.
Lee was a calming and guiding force for his boys, and worked hard to love them completely. He introduced each of them, as infants, to the rhythms of the ocean, and spent time telling his stories of fishing, boating, and surfing to each of his sons. They all adored going to the beach together to fish and swim and play. It was their sacred space. Lee also made sure that from birth his sons were surrounded by the greatest music ever composed, creating unexpected rock lullabies for each of them that they will treasure always. Lee and Hanna made the boys their entire world, and loved each other through the joys and struggles of parenthood, and the deep connection they had together.
As Lee continued teaching at Del Mar, he was advanced to a full-time temporary instructor, then a full-time employee, before becoming a full Professor of Psychology. He will be remembered for the way he counseled his students with a cynical sense of humor and a strong desire to teach them to apply the wisdom of psychology in their own lives. The Elliott family moved into their current home, that has a story all of its own, four years ago. Lee loved the water. He was a fisherman, a boater, and a surfer for his entire life. He surfed all over the world: Hawaii, Mexico; and especially loved fishing at the Port Mansfield Jetties. He was a lifelong lover of books, and could be seen, at all ages, with his long legs stretched beyond the length of whatever furniture he rested in, reading a good story. Lee understood the need for his boys to be outside, and spent time with them playing basketball, riding bikes, working in the yard, going for walks, or simply sitting outside together. He was a prolific cat rescuer, and always gave of himself to anyone who needed him until he was empty and you were full of reassurance that you could go on.
Lee Elliott will forever be remembered for the way he enveloped his children in soothing, unconditional love, his well-timed sense of humor, his unconscious connection to the people he loved, and his deep and unwavering love for his wife. He will also be remembered for his service to his students and patients, for his contributions to the worlds of semi-pro and college baseball and softball, his status as an all-district baseball player in high school where he earned the nickname "Tree," and his adoration of surfing: its sway, and music, and symbolism. All of us will remember him for his comforting but incredibly tall stature.
Lee is preceded in death by his brother Tommy, who died on Friday, June 7th, 2013. Lee is survived by his wife of 11 years, Hanna Elliot; and their three children: Isaac Barrett, age 8, Odin Ezra, age 6, and Arlo Zephen, age 3, whom he loved more than anything in the world. He is also survived by his mother, Evelyn Elliott; his father, Paul Elliott; and his brother, Roger Elliott.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at Seaside Memorial Park on 4357 Ocean Drive. A Funeral Service will be held at St. John's United Methodist Church on 5300 Alameda at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. He will be buried in Bishop with his grandparents. To view tribute, please visit www.seasidefuneral.com.
Published in Brownsville Herald on June 16, 2013