ELSTON, Dr. Richard E. (Age 86) Dr. Richard Eugene Elston was born April 4th, 1927 and passed away December 25th, 2013, which was his favorite day of the year. His final days were spent in the light of the constant prayers and visits of his family. Raised in Humphrey, Nebraska by Dr. Harry R. Elston and Lydia Elston, he later attended high school in Omaha, Nebraska. He attended Creighton University and graduated from medical school at the University of Nebraska in 1950 at age 23. He met his beloved wife of 64 years, Marcella K. O'Neil, in 1947 and they later wed at St. Cecilia's Cathedral in Omaha on December 26th, 1949. They started their family in Omaha, Nebraska, and moved to Rhode Island after Richard joined the U.S. Navy in 1950. He served as a medical officer with commendation during the Korean War conflict and was stationed in Guantanamo Bay. After discharge from the Navy the Elston family moved out west to Leavenworth, Washington.Richard eventually settled his family in Spokane in 1959. A board certified general surgeon, Dr. Elston opened a family practice and general surgery office in Spokane which spanned over three decades. He was a member of the American College of Surgeons. He helped start the first House of Charity and he was the medical director there and volunteered his medical care. This was later torn down to make room for Expo. During his career he took care of all clergy for free and offered discounts to indigent patients. He also helped found Holy Family Hospital and performed the first surgery there. He was also a member of the Serra Club. He attended St. Thomas More Church for nearly 50 years where he loved to sing hymns, spending many years in the choir. He could sing any Bing Crosby song by heart. Richard was an avid outdoorsman and orchardist, raising several varieties of cherries, apples, pears and peaches. He was most at home in the outdoors, working on his fruit orchard into his 86th year of life. He was also a skilled photographer, shooting thousands of slides over the last half century. A devoted family man, his favorite photography subject was his wife and family. Richard and Marcella raised twelve children in Spokane through the Holy Names and Gonzaga schools. Dr. Elston is survived by his wife, Marcella and children: Maureen, Cathleen, Kevin, Laurie, Gail, Eileen, Julie, Shawn, Claire, Cara, Michael and Leigh. He has 29 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Dr. James Elston. He will be dearly missed by them and all who knew his joyful Christian passion for life. A viewing will be held at Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home on both Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 pm with a Rosary on Sunday, December 29th at 7 pm. The Funeral Mass will be at St. Thomas More Parish on Monday, December 30, 2013 at 11:30 am. To view Richard's online memorial, please visit www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com. Donations may be made to The House of Charity.
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Published in Spokesman-Review from Dec. 28 to Dec. 29, 2013
Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home
2203 N Division Street Spokane, WA 99207