Elijah James Henry (Eli) was a loving, generous, adventurous young man whose brief life was cut short by an automobile accident on Monday, July 5, 2004. Eli touched the hearts and lives of the many whose paths he crossed with his exuberant cheery personality. He was a “peacemaker,” able to defuse negative situations, placing himself between those in conflict. Always ready to reach a hand out to those in need, he loved life and the people in it.
Eli began his too-brief journey of life on April 18, 1985, in Arcata, as the son of Elizabeth (Cat) Henry and Robert Kroening. Later, when he was seven, he lived a rustic lifestyle with his mother and his second dad, David Harder, in the mountains near Bridgeville.
The person Eli became was formed by the normal challenges of childhood and a varied school experience, beginning with the Children of the Redwoods Daycare Program. It was at Bridgeville school, from first to eighth grade, where Eli developed his love of music and skill at playing the bass. He gained an appreciation for learning at a number of different alternative charter and community schools, as well as Fortuna High and Arcata High. Pleased to complete his first year of college in Cabrillo Junior College in Santa Cruz, he looked forward to pursuing a career in some exciting field where he could put his talents to work.
Like other teens, he tried his hand at numerous small jobs, such as surf instructor for Manila Parks and Recreation Surf Camp, recreation aide for Manila’s after-school program and crisis counselor at the Raven Project in Eureka, a haven for homeless youth. During his first year at college, he worked in a health store and a sandwich shop. Wherever he worked, he touched the lives of many.
We are grateful to the many friends and mentors who helped Eli through the difficult areas of his life and contributed their influence in shaping him into the marvelous person he was. Our thanks go out to Chris Cooper, for the vital, positive force he had on Eli’s early education and growth, as well as for introducing him to the bass; to Jen and Gordy of Bridgeville, who opened their hearts and home to him, becoming a much-needed big brother and big sister; to Bev Prosser of Manila Community Center, who pulled him into the world of employment and a responsible work ethic, and taught him to stay lighthearted while keeping the tasks at hand fun. Especially we are grateful to his girlfriend, Lalaea Milan, and to her parents Jack and Laurel, who respected and loved Eli as though he were their own.
He leaves behind his father, Robert Kroening; mother, Elizabeth (Cat) Henry, and her partner, David Harder; two younger brothers, Ian Henry and Ki Harder; and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.
We were all so looking forward to seeing what great directions Eli would take as he unraveled his life along this earth’s journey. May he touch as many on his continuing spiritual path as he has here.
Our family invites you to share with us in the celebration of his life at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14, 2004, at Moonstone Beach. Please carpool if possible.
Just as he embraced everyone, we embrace Eli in our hearts. It was a true privilege to know him.
Thank you for being a part of our lives, Eli. We will dearly miss you.
Donations in honor of Eli’s memory may be made to any of the following groups: Bridgeville Elementary School Music Program, PO Box 98, Bridgeville, CA 95526; The Raven Project, 523 “T” Street, Eureka, CA 95501; or Manila’s Surf Camp (write check to: Manila C.S.D. and in the memo write “Surf Camp”) 1901 Park Street Manila, CA 95521.
Please sign the guestbook at www.times-standard.com, click on obituaries.