Former Ivins Council member, advocate of no-kill shelters, George Elwell Jr. dies of cancer

File photo of the entrance to Ivins City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020 in Ivins, Utah, with an insert of an undated photo got George Elwell Jr. | Insert photo courtesy of Metcalf Mortuary, City Hall photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Former Ivins City Council member George Elwell Jr., who spearheaded efforts to make the city’s animal shelter a no-kill facility and also was an advocate of Ivins’ dark skies during his 14-year tenure as a council member, passed away of cancer at the end of last month at the age of 78.

Ivins Mayor Chris Hart noted the death of Elwell during the Ivins City Council meeting last Thursday. 

“He came prepared for every issue,” said Hart, who served as a council member with Elwell before becoming mayor in 2010. Elwell served on the council from 2001-2015. “He came with that yellow tablet, and it was loaded with comments.”

Elwell founded the nonprofit Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter with his wife, Linda, and the couple led efforts that made Ivins the first city in Utah – and one of the first in the nation – to create a “no-kill” policy in its animal shelter in January 2006.

“This was a true public servant,” Hart said. “They as a couple from the time they arrived in Ivins City devoted their energy to this city.” 

Undated photo of Ivins City Council member George Elwell Jr. | Photo courtesy of Metcalf Mortuary, St. George News

Linda Elwell, who survives her husband’s death, retired in 2017, at which point the board of directors for the nonprofit the couple formed together voted to retire the entire organization

Council member Dennis Mehr, who now occupies the far left seat on the dais that Elwell sat in, also noted the passing. 

“I knew him as a neighbor and a friend,” Mehr said. “It’s an honor I’ve been able to sit in his seat.”

According to an announcement from Metcalf Mortuary, Elwell was born on Dec. 6, 1942, in the Northern California town of Gridley and later served the U.S. Marines, stationed at San Diego’s Camp Pendleton, from 1960-1964. 

After serving his country, Elwell took a job at the McCloskey Varnish Co., in nearby Vista, California, where he met Linda Huffman and married her on Jan. 21, 1967. 

They had two children, George Jeffrey and Lisa, who also survived his passing, along with eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

Elwell moved a little further north and joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department in 1969 and served as a deputy for another 22 years before he and Linda retired to Ivins in 1991.

Funeral services were held last Thursday before he was laid to rest at Ivins City Cemetery.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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