Our dad and the kindest man I have ever known, Eldon J. Lott, was born April 30, 1948, to Wilma and La Roy Lott in McKenna, Wash. Dad died unexpectedly Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Clarkston, and our world has since become quiet.
Dad grew up in Oregon with his older sister, Laverna, and younger brother, George. He attended a one-room grade school without electricity or running water. In high school, Dad bleached his hair blonde, which quickly landed him at aunt Dorothy's house to have his hair dyed back to a respectable color before being allowed back to school. Dad graduated from Hermiston High School in 1967 and worked at the Army Depot in Umatilla. He then worked for the Army Corps of Engineers as a heavy equipment operator, and later worked for himself as a laborer, doing hard physical work in all conditions that nobody else would do.
Dad married his high school sweetheart, Mary Lou, in 1968. They had two children, Mark and Vicky, and later divorced. Dad was in the National Guard, then drafted into Vietnam in 1969. He was a combat medic, and at the age of 21 took on the role of saving lives in the battlefield, carrying fallen soldiers under heavy fire from the field to helicopters, and saw first-hand the price of war. Dad's brother, George, enlisted in the U.S. Army voluntarily, and offered to take Dad's place in Vietnam because Dad was married with children. Dad contracted malaria in 1971 and after remaining unresponsive in the field infirmary for one month, was eventually helicoptered out of the jungle to die at home. Dad survived and lived to help others survive.
Dad later married Pat Suhr, and they had twin daughters, Kimberly and Crystal. They lived in Clarkston for 35 years and later divorced.
Dad felt our frustrations, prayed for our struggles with injustice and gave hope and comfort when our hearts were broken. He gave, he cared and he never gave up. He was the constant in many people's lives. He was compassionate, accepting and humble. He picked us up when we fell, held our hands when we were weak, laughed with all his heart, drew hilarious pictures of real life, possessed incredible wisdom and humor and did whatever it took to lighten our burdens.
Dad was a lifelong member of the Seventh-day Adventist church. This year, he replaced his worn out bible, held together with duct tape, with a new one. The inside covers of his bibles and books show worn pages with his handwritten notes and scripture references. The little notebooks he carried in his shirt pocket had neatly printed messages of faith and trust, reminders of who he would be helping or serving and which grandchild he would be picking up at school or caring for that day. He worked tirelessly for others, without mention or recognition. He lived a simple life of service, for his country, his family and his God.
Dad was preceded in death by his mother and father, Wilma and La Roy Lott, of Pendleton, Ore.; his sister, Laverna Curry, of Arizona, and son, Mark Lott, of Clarkston. He is survived by his daughters, Crystal Lott, of Clarkston, Kimberly (Mike) Blair, of Clarkston, and Vicky Lott, of Colton; one brother, George (Anna) Lott, of Weston, Ore. He is survived by grandchildren Emma and Josie Carpenter, of Clarkston, Alex and Joey Lott Hemighaus, of Colton, and Anthony Lott, of Hermiston, Ore. He has one great-grandson, Mark Lott Jr., of Hermiston, Ore.
Our tears for you now, Dad, are because you are so loved and missed. You made the hard times bearable and the good times memorable. You came to the games, signed for our houses, patched our roofs, drove through the night, stayed by our side in the hospital and kept your grandchildren safe. So many people loved you, believed in you, trusted you and called you a friend. I thank God every day for sending such a good man to be our father and our children's grandfather.
May you rest in peace, Dad; without the stress or injustice of this world. Your work is now finished; knowing the courts of heaven will reign and make things just and right. May you wake refreshed and joyous to meet your savior. We love you, Dad.
Give me Jesus, give me Jesus. You can have all this world, just give me Jesus.