Earl L. Elliott

Earl L. Elliott

Earl "Sharky" L. Elliott

A memorial celebration of life and reception will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2007 beginning at 11:00 a.m. the New Hope Nazarene Church located at 1891 Woolner Avenue in Fairfield, Calif.

Born Earl Laverne Elliott on August 14, 1929 in Sharon Springs, Kans., he received the nickname "Sharky" as an infant, and it stuck throughout his 78 years. Sharky moved to California in 1934 with his father, Ray Elliott, and his older brothers, Lester and Kenneth Duane. After working farms in various Northern California communities, the family settled in the Tolenas area of Fairfield.

Sharky worked a variety of jobs including automotive repair, welding, ranching, and farming while attending school. He married his sweetheart, Betty Sue Gayler, during her senior year at Armijo High School in 1950. Sharky was 20, she was 17. One year later, Betty gave birth to twins, the first two of four children born to them during their 57 year marriage.

After a series of moves in and out of California, the family settled in Fairfield in 1961. In 1968, Sharky took a job with Chevron Chemical in Benicia as a warehouseman. During his years working as a Teamster, he earned a reputation as "the hardest working man I have ever known," often outworking men half his age. Later, in 1979, Sharky took a position at the newly established Lucky Foods Distribution Center, located in Vacaville. He worked at Lucky as a member of Teamsters Local 490 until he retired in 1988 at the age of 58.

Never one to rest, the newly retired 58 year old went to work on building his long imagined retirement home on 6 pine-covered acres in Trinity County. The passive solar design, built with the help of his son, Kevin, works splendidly to this day, requiring only a moderate amount of supplemental heating from a wood-fired stove in the coldest of mountain winters.

During the couple's years on the Trinity property, Sharky enjoyed building, operating his own equipment, and reading. He worked hard and played hard-hosting many a family gathering on the land most everyone called "the place." Kevin Elliott, Sharky's second born son, along with his wife, Debbie and their two daughters, also lived on the property in a manufactured home with the parents, while the father and son built the home Sharky had researched and designed for more than a decade. In 1991, Kevin was diagnosed with liver disease, which eventually took his life in 1996, Sharky ever at his side.

In 1997, Betty suffered a major heart attack, and Sharky gave up his dream home in favor of having better access to health care for Betty. After a four year return to Solano County, Sharky and Betty relocated to Shady Cove, Ore. in 2003. Shortly after relocating to Shady Cove, Sharky suffered a major stroke in February of 2004. Always very strong physically, Sharky recovered most of his physical abilities within weeks. It was learned, later, that the lasting effects of the stroke would be the onset of dementia, which progressed until his passing at a Medford area hospital on Saturday, October 27, 2007.

Sharky was preceded in death by Doris June Elliott, his infant sister; his parents, Ray Elliott and Lola Shull; as well as his son, Kevin Elliott. He is survived by his wife, Betty Sue Elliott, of Shady Cove, Ore.; two sons, Larry Elliott, of Virginia Beach, Va. and Wade Elliott, of Orland, Calif.; daughter, Kathy Linn, of Shady Cove, Ore.; and four siblings, Lester Elliott, of Arizona, Kenneth Elliott, of Texas, Darlene Mattioda, of California, and Richard Elliott, of Washington. Grandchildren include Kyle Linn, of Anchorage, Alaska, Sarah Jackson, of Auburn, Wash., Joseph and Reuben Elliott, of Vacaville, Calif., Thomas Elliott, of Severen, Md., Autum McGlynn, of Douglas City, Calif., Keri Janovsky, of Highland, Ind., and Aaron and James Elliott, of Orland, Calif. Sharky also left behind 12 great-grandchildren and scores of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

In lieu of flowers or donations, the family asks for friends and family who are unable to attend the memorial to send along favorite photos and other memories by mail or email to the family. Pastor Guy Rimestad of Bakersfield, Calif., a long-time friend of the family, will officiate. A reception will be held immediately after the memorial and guests are encouraged to bring a favorite story or photo as well as a side dish, salad, or dessert to share.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in memory of Sharky to your church or favorite charity.

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