Thirty years ago today my grandfather passed away from cancer. Two years and ten days before I was born. Even though I did not have the chance to meet Tom Ellwein, he comes up in conversation and I feel like I know the type of man he was. A caring teacher, family man and friend, he was on the quiet side with a calm temperament, but also had a great sense of humor. And as you can see from the pictures, he was very easy on the eyes.
Talent is another quality my grandpa possessed and shared with the world. Soon after graduating high school, he and my grandma moved to Washington DC so he could play trombone with the marine band, also known as the president’s band. They played for inaugurations and other events at the white house, and also went on tour. What an honor and incredible life experience. After 20 years with the band, my grandparents moved home to Sioux Falls with their two children, my mom and uncle. He continued his passion for music by teaching lessons, and helped his kids with their instrument of choice, trombone and piano. He even made my mom practice with a broken wrist!
[A man in uniform]
[August 1940 in Bridgewater, South Dakota & wedding day November 6th, 1944]
While my talent with a musical instrument was mediocre ( I played the flute for 8 years), I loved being a part of the Lincoln High School Marching Band as a “flag girl” because music has been an important part of our family for generations. A good thing, because I met my own dreamy brass player of a husband while in the band.
When Jaime and my mom played an impromtu duet of a few Christmas songs this last year, I felt close to the man I never had the opportunity to meet, imagining when he and my mom would play duets together years ago. His memory will always live on through music.
[Jaime on trumpet, mom on piano playing The Christmas Song]
I hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend with family and friends and remembered those that have served our country in every capacity, and especially those that gave the ultimate sacrifice. May we serve those around us with the same giving and grateful heart.