James "Jim" Edward Elbert, age 76, longtime resident of Pensacola Beach, passed away February 12, 2018, after a brief, but fierce, battle with ALS, at home in the loving arms of his family.
Born on July 2, 1941, in Louisville, KY, to Theodore F. Elbert, Jr. and Margaret H. (Determann) Elbert, Jim married the love of his life, Bonnie Sue, on April 8, 1961. After the birth of the youngest of their four children, Jim and Bonnie moved their young family to Gulf Breeze the summer of 1971, where Jim managed the local five and dime, TG&Y, for many years. Jim and Bonnie eventually established Pensacola Beach's popular beach shop, Island Style, until selling the business to their son and son-in-law, Jeff and Mario, in 2003.
Jim and Bonnie bought their little beach house on Panferio Drive from Jim's brothers and parents in 1978, with the dream of making it their home, which they were able to do off and on over the ensuing years. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan forced them to tear down their beloved little beach house and they ultimately built a new home in its place, which was specifically designed so that Jim and Bonnie could enjoy their family, by now full of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, grandnieces and nephews.
Affectionately known as "Pop," Jim was a kind mind with a gentle spirit that often concealed his sly sense of humor. A man of few words, Pop never passed judgment, nor would he offer unsolicited advice. He simply gave the gift of his unconditional love and his undivided attention, so, on the rare occasion Pop did have something to say, you knew well enough to listen and listen good…you were about to learn something.
Pop was a terrific husband, a wonderful father and father-in-law, and the ultimate grandfather. Whether sitting on the porch watching a gorgeous sunset, captaining a boat full of kids or floating in the Sound with the Blue Angels flying above him, nothing made Pop happier than being surrounded by his family. "After all," he would say, "family is all that matters."
Jim was predeceased by his parents, Theodore F. Elbert, Jr. and Margaret Helen Elbert and his brother, Donald Elbert.
Surviving is his wife of 57 years, Bonnie Suzanne (Rueff) Elbert, of Pensacola Beach, brother, Theodore F. Elbert III, of Pensacola, four children, Rebecca Collins Quina (Robby), Robin D. Dorf (Matt), Jeffrey S. Elbert (Mario), all of Gulf Breeze, and Amy C. Welz (Greg), of Orange Park, FL, seven grandchildren, Michael E. Fenner (JoAnne) of Key West, FL, Christopher Beck (Gina) of Orange Park, FL, S. Douglas Beck (Tracy), of Jarrell, TX, A1C Josey Rayne Collins, USAF, RAF Lakenheath, UK, SPC 4 Jonathan H. Dorf (Samantha), US Army, Ft. Campbell, KY, Kevin Dorf of Gulf Breeze and Krystle Welz of Orange Park, FL, and six great grandchildren.
There are so many extended/adopted family that loved Pop, and that Pop loved back, it would impossible to mention them all. However, Pop's family would like to give special thanks to Jason and Susie Parsons (nephew-in-law and niece), who dropped everything to bring an ALS specific motorized wheelchair and equipped van from North Carolina, generously donated by Stall Medical. This equipment afforded Pop a little cherished independence and greatly improved his quality of life during the last two months of his life…we cannot thank you enough!
Finally, words cannot express how appreciative Pop's family are for the exceptional care given to him by Tammy, Suzanne, Deborah, Heather and Maria, caregivers extraordinaire. You made the last months of Pop's life so much easier for all of us! Thank you!
Honoring his wishes, the family will not hold a public service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Walk the Beach for ALS at http://webfl.alsa.org/goto/WalktheBeachforALS, an ALS Association sponsored fundraising drive, so that a cure may be found for this terrible disease.