Lawrence McClellan Elson, PhD
1935 - 2021
On July 4th, a great patriot's light went out.
Cdr. Lawrence McClellan Elson (USN Ret.) was born October 10, 1935 in Pasadena, California to Eugene and Ruth Elson. Larry graduated from Monrovia Arcadia Duarte High School and began his college career at the University of Redlands where he became the head cheerleader. After two years, Larry left the university and joined the US Navy. Amongst his greatest accomplishments, none meant as much as his passion for serving his country as a United States Naval Officer & Aviator. Larry would often share stories from his 20 years of service: tours on the USS Midway, lessons he and his troops learned abroad and stateside, and respect for those who were lost in battle.
After two tours of duty to the Pacific, Larry joined the Naval Reserve so that he could continue his studies. He received his bachelor of science degree at UC Berkeley with a plan to attend medical school. After giving it some thought, he realized his real love was zoology and returned to UC Berkeley in a Master's Degree program. His professors appreciated his keen mind and offered him the opportunity to advance to a Ph.D in Anatomy.
After graduating with his Ph.D, Dr. Elson's legacy shall live on as an acclaimed author, academician and notable professor of human anatomy at Baylor College of Medicine, University of California Medical School at San Francisco, and the City College of San Francisco. His creativity, brilliance, and jubilance for life will live on in all he loved and served over his storied, impactful life.
One of his greatest contributions to education was the development and integration of kinesthetic learning for science-based subject matter. The Anatomy Coloring Book, which he conceived and authored, has sold over 5 million copies and is revered by medical professionals worldwide. In addition to writing science-based coloring books, Larry began lecturing on Clinical and Forensic Anatomy, Causation of Injury, Injury Mechanisms, and the Anatomical Basis of Medicine and Surgery, and served as an expert witness in over 500 trials.
Larry was the beloved husband to Ellyn Elson, father of Christopher Elson (Gina Viscusi-Elson) and Jennifer Elson, stepfather to Jodi Groff (Robbie Groff), Jason Luros (Mary Luros), Stephanie Luros-Gilbert (Joyce Gilbert, Ph.D) and Pops to Hunter Elson, Estee & Marlie Groff, Zeke & Izabella John, and Beatrix & Samuel Luros. His legacy is as robust as the incredible life he lived. A fierce advocate for equity and parity for all beings, his civic engagement, generosity, and tenacity of spirit were as strong as his racquetball swing.
A celebration in his Memory will be held on the 7th of July, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom, Napa, CA. All attendees will be required to wear a mask for the protection of all. Donations in Larry's memory may be made to the USS Midway Museum, the National Audubon Society, or Congregation Beth Shalom, Napa, CA.