It is with great sorrow that we share the passing of our beloved, Brian Elwell, 79, on Monday, after a courageous battle with cancer, with his family by his side. He was born in Verdun, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal. It was there Brian began his hockey career before the introduction of real pucks, helmets, and fancy equipment.
After a professional hockey career that brought him to the USA, number 8 quickly became the star of Syracuse, a city he loved deeply. During his career, as captain, Brian scored nearly a point a game. After retiring, due to a cranky knee, he became the successful owner-operator of the Back Door Tavern and Elwell’s, among other restaurants. Brian enjoyed a career with Onondaga County Parks including years spent overseeing NBT Bank Stadium, until his retirement. He was the leading force in returning the American Hockey League back to Syracuse in 1994 and loved watching the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial with his family and friends.
Brian was a lover of life and truly lived in the moment. A true renaissance man, every day brought a new adventure. He was a well-respected hot-air balloon pilot and spent many summers sitting on the edge of his basket flying above the city he loved so much. Brian was the confident captain of many boats on many bodies of water. He was an avid golfer and shared the fondest of memories on the golf course with his closest friends. Brian always had a joke to share with his guys. Talented in many ways, he even spent time painting and repairing beautiful clocks with his wife by his side.
Brian had a love for adventure and fun, but there is nothing that made him happier than his loving wife, Diane; daughters, Nicole (Ernie) Moran, Ashley (Mike) Dastyck, and Audrey (Mike) Pizzuto; grandchildren, Cara, Lily, Ella, Esme, Cate, Mia, Rory, Annie, and Molly. “Pop” was the original girl dad and loved his life with his girls by his side. Though he never longed for one, he finally got his boy- his only grandson, Rory, and the two shared an inexplicable bond over fishing. Brian is also survived by his sister, Sandy; and several nieces and nephews.
Brian was bigger than the whole sky, living a life most can only dream of. He was kind and caring to everyone who crossed his path. His adoring family and friends will hold his memories in their hearts for the rest of time.
Relatives and friends may call Friday, March 24 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Buranich Funeral Home, 5431 W. Genesee St., Camillus.
A funeral service will follow at noon at the funeral home.
Private burial will be in White Chapel Memory Garden Cemetery, DeWitt.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Brian’s memory to the Ronald McDonald House of Central New York, 1100 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13210, or to any charity that you hold close to your heart.