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Jon Elliott, 80

| May 11, 2022 12:00 AM

Jon Elliott's wandering days are a thing of the past. His life on earth ended the day after he went body surfing in Mazatlan and sipped his favorite Mexican Reposado one last time on April 29, 2022.

Born Nov. 21, 1941, to Howard and Maxine Elliott, Jon grew up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado; a spirited youth until his last breath. His tales of outrunning the local police as he and his childhood friends pulled their shenanigans were endless. Fortunately, his parents instilled in him a love of the outdoors and got him into skiing at an early age. Eventually ski jumping was his passion and he became a U.S. Ski team member. He went on to become a Cowboy when he skied for the University of Wyoming.

Jon met the love of his life, Pat, in high school. They married and shortly after began their family. His days of ski jumping were replaced with days of hauling his family around on every adventure possible. He introduced his children to backpacking at the ages of 3 and 5 when he first took them into the Wind Rivers, his most special place on Earth. Living in Jackson Hole, it wasn't much of a jaunt for a yearly summer vacation exploring the Winds, and it wasn't long before he didn't have to drag the family along; they came willingly. Memories of him flipping pancakes, frying fresh golden trout and baking brownies over the embers of a campfire are treasured. His love of the Winds was passed on to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, along with countless friends.

A land surveyor by trade, Jon moved the family to Alaska in search of new opportunities and adventure. There he discovered a passion and talent for designing and building cross country ski trails, which would take him and Pat to many locations around the country over the years. Always searching for something new, Jon loaded up the family in 1975 and drove to Montana, settling down on an old homestead north of Polebridge. The cabin became a place the entire family loved and would serve as home base for the rest of Jon and Pat's many adventures together. Jon enjoyed pushing people's buttons, usually in a lighthearted way, but always with his wry sense of humor. He was decidedly opinionated but always in a gracious and mischievous way. He loved to jest his father that he just couldn't keep a job, which naturally produced the desired effect.

Travel ignited Jon's passion for living. He was curious about how other people lived and wanted to learn as much as he could about the world. Jon and Pat went to Taiwan to compete in dragon boat races; they traveled to Portugal and Spain with dear friends (where he seriously was hoping to run with the bulls); and biked in Belgium with Melissa and her husband Dave, where he and his son-in-law were determined to test whether or not Belgium beer could give you a hangover. It never did.

Jon and Pat bought a motorhome, or rather a string of them and abandoned the confines of a permanent home until Pat rebelled seven years later. They traveled the U.S. visiting friends and family and made new friends along the way. His love of the game of golf grew during this time when he played some of the best courses in the U.S. and was finally able to shoot under his age when he turned 75. Although he was able to make two holes-in-one, he remained disappointed his first one didn't count because his playing partner was late for their tee time.

He and Pat spent several winters in southern Utah where they loved scrambling over red rocks and mountain biking single tracks lined with cactus. While in Utah and summering at the cabin in Polebridge, Jon took up watercolor, which had been a simmering talent. As with all his endeavors he approached it with a genuine passion and treated it like a job. He became quite accomplished and was pleased when he gifted his paintings to friends who hung his work in their homes. His curiosity about how all things worked made him a lifelong learner. He was always trying to learn more and do more. His was a life well lived.

Jon and Pat were married for 62 years. It was hard to tell where one of them started and the other ended. They were one. He has left behind Pat, his daughter, Melissa Cloud, son, Jef Elliott, their spouses, Dave and Suzy and his grandchildren, Jamie and Lacy, along with their spouses and five active great-grandsons whom he loved dearly. He also leaves behind his brother, Jere Elliott, and many sister- and brothers-in-law, as well as extended family and numerous friends.