Elvin R. Barrowclif
June 7, 1922-April 12, 2017
Elvin Richard Barrowcliff, 94, died Wednesday afternoon , April 12, 2017 with his family by his side at the Homer Hospital in Long Term Care.
“GP,” as the grand kids called him, was born June 7, 1922, in Oregon to John Eugene Barrowcliff and Metta Mae (Kilborne) Barrowcliff.
He joined the U.S Army Air Corps in 1941 and served for three years. Upon leaving the Army he was set up on a blind date, and soon married Elaine Blattman in 1946. They raised three children, Robert, Wayne and Susan. GP drove oil truck after the Army, and in 1968 Elaine and Elvin moved to Ruskin, Fla., to raise hamsters for Harts Mountain and Aquarium Supply. His determination and work ethic quickly made him the largest hamster breeder in the world. He kept us entertained with his many hamster stories, one which included sweeping water moccasins off a cement slab with a broom in front of the hamster buildings.
Then the radio announcer Paul Harvey reported a story of a lady’s son who she claimed died because he was bit by a hamster. Hamster prices and demand plummeted overnight and Aquarium Supply folded. Grandpa retired and moved back to Oregon until Elaine’s passing, then in 2001, he and his dog Duke moved to Homer. As it turned out it wasn’t the hamster the child died from, and it always bothered GP that Paul Harvey followed up his inaccurate story six months too late after the damage was done.
GP loved dogs, enjoyed fly fishing, wood crafting and reading, but his favorite was playing pinochle with friends and family. He was known for his shrewd card skills, quick wit and smart sayings especially when losing. “The wind can’t blow down a rat hole all night long” was his favorite when he wanted his luck to change, and “the hell it is” when he disagreed with something.
Elvin was educated, honest and frugal. He quit smoking when the price went up to 25 cents a pack because it wasn’t “economical anymore.” He decided on his own he was done driving when he ended up at the library instead of the grocery store, jumping two curbs in the process. He ate so much Jimmy Dean sausage he should have had a share in the company, and when he couldn’t have sausage anymore he looked forward to his daily vanilla milkshakes. GP had his last milkshake on Wednesday, and we believe he’s playing pinochle with grandma in the sky.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Elaine; daughter, Susan, and brothers, Jack and Harold. He is survived by his siste,r Hazel; sons, Robert and Wayne, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren who will miss him dearly.