John Calvin ELY
1951 - 2021
ELY, John Calvin John used to say, Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave with a well preserved body But rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting Holy S***t what a ride Mission accomplished. John Calvin Ely, beloved father, grandpa, brother, uncle, son, best friend to a lucky handful and dear friend to many, took his last earthside breaths on April 27th, 2021. Born in Spokane on October 27,1951, favorite son of Sarah Dell Ely and John Calvin Ely who, during John's exuberant toddlerhood, had an 8' fence built around the backyard to keep him safe. In no time John found a way over the fence and escaped the yard. No single story can say it all, but this one might be kind of close. Sandwiched between two sisters, Roye and Adrienne, and a passel of kids who were like cousins, John did a big part of his growing up in Mica Bay. Immanent explorer, expert retriever of trout and bullfrogs, master of firecrackers and occasional skunk victim, John spent half of those days above water and the other half underneath it. His holy place was at high speeds and his personal equilibrium found its sweet spot at the apex of or underneath the sweep of great arcs. Barreling through powder snow, throwing a rooster tail of lake water over his head waterskiing, leaning his whole body to counterbalance the pontoon of a Hobie Cat; John met the world with joyful physicality. John's first temple was the mountains. He learned to ski on Mt Spokane when he was five years old and loved the sport his whole life. John got an early taste for the vastness of the world when his folks moved to Thailand shortly after he graduated high school. His father was setting up hospitals in Vietnam and brought his children over the border numerous times to witness the realities of the war. This experience seeded his drive for travel and a social and political consciousness that John shaped and reshaped for the rest of his life. A quote on his fridge read, "How do you know if you have a mind if you can't change it? After his fastest younger years John rerooted his life in Spokane. He met Vicki Carter and stepped into one of his life's greatest adventures and proudest identities as father to Lauren and Ben. John showed up for fatherhood in a big way. "I could literally feel his heart when he was near me- it was the biggest and he always made me feel so loved" says Lauren. For over 30 years, John displayed his unconditional love for his children and then his grandchildren who were the highlight of his life. Ryan, Kailee, Maverick and Mason were his world. John was a soulful rarity; one part Buddha, one part funky space cowboy, equal parts playfully irreverent and humble. Non-conformist to the bone with a big, loving heart, John went big in all directions. He was deeply contemplative, curious, and radically accepting of people and the complexities of human experience. John was free. Later in his life he struggled with a physical body that tried to tell him otherwise. With courage he learned to play at slower speeds, using his job in international sales as a springboard for scuba diving all over the world and finding a new temple in Idaho rivers. Rejector of cruelty, willful ignorance, contrived authority, sweet potatoes and stinky foot cheese. Believer in the sanctity of blues and rock played ear-meltingly loud, lover of grilled cow, sticking it to the man, chocolate malts, his inseparable sidekick Jax, Mica Bay and always the mountains and rivers. Most of all he loved his children, grandchildren, sisters, nieces, nephews, and dear friends who will all carry John's indelible spark forward forever. John is free, deeply loved and fiercely missed. A memorial is planned for June 5th, 2021at 3PM in Post Falls, ID. Please contact: [email protected] for details and directions
Published by Spokesman-Review on May 16, 2021.
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Memorial service
Post Falls, ID
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8 Entries
My husband, Dave, worked with John at Aerostar and I heard so much about "this amazing guy". I finally met him at a company bbq. Not only amazing in his exploits, but very kind, too. We were lucky to attend his wedding to Vicki and several years later, he and Dave connected through FrogSpit. Our sincerest sympathies to his family. He was a gem.
Liz Krise & Dave Krise
June 5, 2021
One of my best friends and Best Man at my wedding. John took how to have fun to an art form. So many good times from the mountains to the lake. Heaven will never be the same now that you are there.
May 18, 2021
I did not know John very well I believe my brother Ray did. But I knew his sister Roye, If John cared as much for people as Roye,then he was a very special human being! My brother and myself wish our condolences to the family. Ron and Ray Ericksen
Ron D. Ericksen
May 17, 2021
My time with John at AC Data has been memorable. He taught me to- live life to the fullest since day one. John will always be in my thoughts and heart.
Jim Chen
May 16, 2021
I don't know any of the Ely family but I just wanted to say what an extraordinary obituary about John...he would be very proud I'm sure of how well it was is like a very interesting short story. He must have been quite the guy! And to whomever wrote it has a gift. Just an observer. Nancy Tremblay
nancy tremblay
May 16, 2021
John was exactly the person described in this tribute. I was very lucky to rekindle a friendship with him, this late in life. Thank you John for being so honest and kind.
Scott Roberts
May 16, 2021
May your skies be as bright blue and the powder be as deep that day we had in Christmas Bowl after the 24 hour storm Say hi to Sally for me
Craig Lenhart
May 16, 2021
I will miss you John. You were a very good friend to me.
Dave Chandler
May 16, 2021
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