Elvin Luis passed away May 22, 2022, at the age
of 84 years young. Born February 12, 1938, he was the second of three
children at the family dairy farm. He grew up learning his work ethic
from his Portuguese immigrant parents by working on the dairy farm
from a very young age. Driving from the time he was 14, it was a
natural progression that he would eventually become a truck driver.
He drove long-haul trucks for several years before landing his job at
Louisiana Pacific. In 1957 he married Shirley Lampley, and over the
course of their marriage, they had two children, David Sr. and
Richard Luis. The marriage ended, and they remained friends,
co-parenting their children when this was nonexistent.
He met and ultimately married Aileen Bull (Greer) and her four kids, John, Pam, Ernie, and Kurt Bull December 15, 1972. His only biological daughter, Kimberley, was born in April of 1973. In the summer of 1973, he survived a severe truck accident that cost him his right hand and part of his forearm. In true Elvin fashion, he did not allow this to slow him down. Once he recovered, LP made national headlines by modifying the cab of a truck to enable him to continue to drive using a prosthetic hook. He was happily back to work, and when the opportunity presented itself, he was promoted to Transportation Coordinator for the West Coast. He was responsible for moving the wood products to various pulp mills speckled throughout Oregon and California. This often involved many late night/early morning calls, as the trucks would become stuck due to varied road conditions or mechanical failures.
During this time, he and Aileen spent their spare time working on the family property in southern Humboldt. With all seven kids in tow, they had an instant work crew. The large tent was erected on the deck on Memorial weekend and would stay up through Labor Day. The family spent many summer weekends clearing brush, swimming in the creek and the Eel River, cooking over the fire, and hiking through the hills. Once they bought out the property above them, including a little two-bedroom cabin, his vision was endless. He loved working on the property, constantly improving it. Elvin was always a man of action. Never being one to sit idle, Aileen and Elvin opened the You and Me Restaurant in Eureka in 1982. While still working for LP, he and Aileen would start at the restaurant by 5:30 am. He would then head off to work while Aileen would run the restaurant. Once Elvin finished his “day job,” he would return to the restaurant to help with the end-of-the-day clean-up. Most days, they did not return home until well after 7 pm. Elvin still found time to keep his home yard immaculately landscaped, and he often spent weekends working on the property in Southern Humboldt. In 1992, they decided to close the restaurant due to the many changes and business decline in downtown Eureka.
After the unexpected and untimely passing of his second wife, Aileen, he dipped his toes back into the dating world. He reconnected with Penny (Gates) Tipton, whom he dated when they were younger, and married in October 2001. Elvin then added her five kids, Kathy, Julie, Dan, Kevin, and Jeanne, to his clan (making it an even dozen). He retired shortly after they married, allowing them to travel and enjoy their kids, grandkids & great-grandkids. A few of the highlights of their travels included cruises to Alaska and Mexico and all the trips visiting out-of-town family. They hosted many family functions at their house; you never left hungry! Because of their love of music, they volunteered at the local jazz festivals. Wanting to share their love of music with their grandkids, they took them to the Thursday night Concerts by the Bay. The grandkids have wonderful memories of dancing with them in the streets. After Penny’s passing in 2014, he took over the “babysitting” duties for some of the grandkids, who kept him young and on his toes. Even with watching his grandkids, he still had excess energy to burn. What started as just mowing yards for friends turned into a booming business by word of mouth. He and his sons, David and Ernie, and grandsons, Stephen and Christopher, worked the business. We are forever grateful for the legacy of work ethic that he instilled in us.
Elvin’s love language was acts of service and always putting others first. He loved to help people and do little things for them to show how much he cared. From mowing lawns to helping with little handyman-type things, he had a zest for life, a love of community, his mama and her sweet bread, Portuguese beans and linguica, his family, and the outdoors. He was the original tough guy, with much endurance and fortitude. He was an active member of the Eureka Elks Lodge.
In 1992, Elvin made his first blood donation to help his friend, Leon Battaglia. Over the next 30 years, Elvin made 44 whole blood donations for just under 40 gallons of blood. He also became a regular platelet donor, donating 269 times. Over the course of the 30 years, he became endeared and loved by those working at Northern California Community Blood Bank. He regularly shared his enthusiasm for donating blood with his family, often recruiting his grandchildren to donate when they came of age. He loved that he could give back to more than just his family and friends by donating blood. His final act of donation came with his passing, and per his request, “anything of use” could be donated.
Please join us for a celebration of life Saturday, June 4, 2022, at Cutten Community Church, 2020 Campton Rd., Eureka, from 1 to 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that blood donations be made to the Humboldt Community Blood Bank in Elvin’s honor, using code Luis or donating at your local blood bank.
Elvin was preceded in death by his parents, Antone and Marie Luis, his brother, Tony Luis, wives, Aileen Luis and Penny Luis, son, Kurt Bull, and granddaughters, Brooke Luedemann and Sarah Gates. He is survived by his sister, Laverne (Bert) Witt, and by his kids, Kim Luis, David Luis Sr., and family, Richard Luis and family, Pam Luedemann and family, John Bull and family, Ernie Bull, Kathy (Chris) Vogel, and family, Julie (Jim) Uhey, and family, Dan (Melissa) Gates, and family, Kevin (Annette) Gates, and family, and Jeanne (Mike) Scollard, and family. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and lifelong friends.
The family would like to thank the staff of Providence St. Joseph Hospital for their outstanding care and compassion for him and us. They continued to tell us daily that Elvin being surrounded by all of his family is a true testament to the man he was. We miss him already.
The obituary above was submitted by Elvin Luis’ loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email email@example.com.