Yale '62 - Obituaries - Lewis E.L. Elsey

Lewis E.L. Elsey

Born: November 4, 1940
Died: October 31, 1980

Lew Elsey was born November 4, 1940, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The son of Dr. and Mrs. Edward C. Elsey, Lew grew up in Cincinnati and attended Walnut Hills High School prior to entering Yale in the fall of 1958. He was a member of Calhoun College. Lew was a Psychology major, a member of Phi Gamma Delta, Dwight Hall and the R.O.H. He ran cross-country and was also on the Freshman track team and the Calhoun swimming team.

After graduation in 1962, Lew went immediately to Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport; was commissioned an Ensign, U.S.N. in 1963; volunteered for Underwater Demolition Team training; and served in Vietnam as a frogman. Following his Honorable Discharge in 1967, Lew tried several occupations, including teaching and restaurant management, before returning to school for his Master of Social Work from San Diego State in 1978. At the time of his death, Lew was living in Ft. Collins, Colorado, where he was on the staff of the Larimer County Mental Health Clinic. Killed in an automobile accident on October 31, 1980, Lew was survived by his wife, the former Ann Bent Mann and his daughter Elizabeth Marie. He was 39.

Remembered by many classmates for his sense of humor, Lew was also a courageous, almost fearless man. He thrived on outdoor sports such as rock climbing and long distance running, and was an expert skier. He was compassionate, loving, intelligent, and had a tremendous empathy for people. His great sense of humor (he could laugh easily, even at himself) was one of his outstanding traits, and through this channel he was able to get himself and others through many a rough spot.

Lew had organized a group of Vietnam veterans for counseling, a most appropriate project since he was a veteran himself. Drugs, alcohol, and suicide were some of the problems of this group, and the witness of many of these men attested to the understanding and sound counseling Lew was able to give in helping them get turned around. Besides his wife and daughter, Lew was survived by his parents, a brother, and two sisters.