Share this article

print logo

Gordon H. Elwell, retired Tonawanda builder

June 30, 1927 - Sept. 24, 2012
Gordon H. Elwell, 85, an area builder and Navy veteran, died Monday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital.
A native of South Buffalo, he was a 1945 graduate of South Park High School, and joined the U.S. Navy, where he served aboard the heavy cruiser USS Fall River in 1945 and 1946.
He graduated from the University of Buffalo in 1950 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Mr. Elwell joined Mooney Construction after his graduation from college, and later formed Knab Associates Inc., with Eugene Knab. They spent a career spanning more than 30 years building custom homes in the Tonawanda, Grand Island and Amherst areas, retiring in 1994. He was an officer in the Niagara Frontier Builders Association.
Mr. Elwell was the founding manager and coach of the celebrated Willowgrove Tigers baseball organization, which won a number of local, regional and state championships under his leadership in the 1970s and 1980s. He learned the game from his mother, Olive, in their backyard and in the sandlots of South Buffalo.
He was a member, former president and one of the longest serving members of the Kenmore Rotary Club , and also served as president of the Kenmore Rotary Foundation.
Mr. Elwell was a fourth-degree member of the Tonawanda Knights of Columbus and the St. Vincent DePaul Society.
He also served as president of the Cardinal O'Hara Home School Association and the Seniors Club at St. Edmund's parish.
He was an avid bridge and card player, and was passionate about Irish music, particularly the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. He was a model railroad and train enthusiast.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, the former Mary M. Mattimore; three sons, Col. Gordon H. Jr., Henry and Robert; and five daughters, Marie Smith Cary, Rozanne Hakala, Elaine Thiery, Jennifer Comeau and Julia O'Hara.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Christopher's Catholic Church, 2660 Niagara Falls Blvd., Town of Tonawanda.