Ely (known only as Elijah Jonathan Edward when he was getting into trouble) Defassio abruptly left us on Wednesday, August 4th, 2021 with no consideration for how that would make others feel. No one knows how he died yet, which is just how he would want it. He loved to keep people guessing and searching for clues - his ultimate scavenger hunt.
Born on March 5th, 1987, Ely came into this world after an easy pregnancy and labor pains that his mom thought was gas from the chili she had at Ash Wednesday supper at church. This was but a rouse - Ely loved to play jokes - for he made sure she earned every grey hair on her head. He was no stranger to exploration and loved to take things apart to see how they work. It wasn’t until later in life that he learned to put them together again. As a child, he enjoyed camping, running, going to the creek, riding bikes, and hanging with friends. He was the life of every party and the clown of every class. There was never a dry eye in the room when Ely had something to say. I remember walking through the mall with him once and almost peeing myself because he would make weird noises when we would get near other people - groaning like a zombie, barking, farting, a quick jump, and a sound like he just got electrocuted. He liked to be weird. And we liked having him weird. He had a rebellious streak that would have made cartoon villains beg him to lead them. But he never did, he went on to be a superhero.
“College sucks,” he said as he dropped out leaving a scholarship behind. He tried some other things, they also sucked. But then he found a thing that didn’t suck: JUSTICE. (Read like a manly t.v. personality in an action trailer). Ely became a police officer with goals of training K9 officers and rooting out bullshit - and he was great at it. Too great at it - he worked so much, like 80 hours a week. Always on call. Always stressed out.
EXCEPT when he was playing video games and having a cold Yuengling. He loved to collect and play games from every system. He was dedicated to teaching his children the fine art of gaming - going so far as to get them their own controllers to break so they would stop destroying his. And he was a great dad. He learned from the best. He left policing to be a stay-at-home dad when #3 entered the game. He created a routine that included learning letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. He would sing songs, play games, and explore nature with his brood. His kids became as chatty as he was and took on many of his endearing qualities. Damian (4 ½) has a big heart and wants to care for others, Winter (3) loves to sing and pretend, Amora (1) likes to be silly and jump out to scare you, and Judas Lily, who is just three months old, will most likely carry on his quiet, undeterred will or his insanely adventurous spirit - we will find out soon enough.
I forgot to mention, at some point in the middle of all this, he met this girl named Dane (it’s pronounced Danny). And he made her laugh. And she likes to laugh. She has a great smile. Ely had a great smile. It was magic for them. Except when it wasn’t. But Dane made sure to help Ely become an even greater person and Ely helped Dane become an even greater person. They believed in each other. They were like beer and ribs. Tall and frothy, comforting and saucy, and perfect together. Ely would often tell me that she was the perfect person for him because she challenged him without giving up on him and that they never fought. In fact, they only TRULY ever fought about 1 thing… pickles. Once they bought 2 jars of pickles and Ely put them in the fridge. Dane took one out because they only needed one jar in there. Ely put it back because he wanted all the pickles to be cold. “What if I finished the first jar and want more? I’m not eating warm pickles! It got ugly. So much screaming.” He would later recount. “Over pickles.”
Ely is preceded in death by his dad, whom he loved and who loved him. Dad was his confidant and sounding board. Other people waiting to welcome Ely home are Grandma and Grandpa D, Grandma and Grandpa Smart, Aunt Sharon, Aunt Pam, Uncle Butch, Cousin Nina, Hap, Shrummy, and beloved dogs Wakta, Matowa, and Katogan. He rudely left behind his wife (Danelle), their 4 children, 3 dogs, 2 cats, several fish, his mother (Sue), sisters (Rachel, Danielle), brother (Jacob), a niece and nephew (Lena, Gus) and an innumerable amount of disappointed and devastated aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and friends.
We assume that upon reaching his final destination, he will see dad and get overly excited and shout, “Dad! I’ve missed you! This is the best drea…” “What the hell are you doing here?” Dad will inquire. “Well, that’s a rude way to say hello.” Ely will sarcastically retort. Dad’s tone will become serious, “Ely, you’re dead.” A moment of silent contemplation will pass as Ely considers the past few days. “Well, shit. That sucks. I thought I was just dreaming.” He will laugh with his signature smile. He will be sad, Dad will be sad, but they will be together. Dad knows the best craft brewery there and they will go. And Ely will try a couple things, but ultimately, his favorite will be a nice cold Yuengling - which they CAN get up there even though it isn’t PA. He will play video games and start some crazy DnD campaign with his friends who left too soon and Dad - heck, his charisma will probably pull in ancient family members he never got to meet. Even Grandma D will lend him her cane to use as a gun while they explore a mystic cave. But don’t you worry, he won’t forget to check in on you. He always will. Every time he drives anywhere - which will be often - he will call you.
Service will be held Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 2:00pm at Lozano's Flagstaff Mortuary, 2545 N. Fourth Street, Flagstaff, AZ 86004. Reception to follow at the Defassio Residence at 15312 Rabbitbrush Road, Parks, AZ 86018. In lieu of flowers and other things he doesn’t want - please consider donating to the GoFundMe created to help with his departure and for the care of his kids. https://www.gofund.me/dab9e33d
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