Erwin Bruce Elliston, known as an influential member of Asheville’s medical community, has died following a sudden illness while traveling in the Philippines. He was 73.
Bruce was a community connector and a sweet man. He will be missed. Here’s his full obituary:
Erwin Bruce Elliston, 73, died February 11, 2020, after a sudden illness while traveling in the Philippines, where he was grateful to visit and share his boundless love.
Bruce was born on April 8, 1946, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to the late Margaret and M.B. Elliston. He is survived by his beloved wife, Melba Elliston; his children, Jon and his wife Jen and their daughter Jude; Brian and his wife Laurie; Joel; and Jennifer; along with his brothers, Leon and Roger, and their families. For 43 years, he was married to his first wife, the beloved and late Judy Whitman Elliston, who shared Bruce’s love for their children.
Bruce received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Missionary College in Tennessee and went on to complete a medical degree at Loma Linda University in California and a residency at Duke University in North Carolina. In 1975, he became the first faculty member of the Mountain Area Health Education Center, in Asheville, where he subsequently founded the Asheville Family Health Centers and cofounded multiple other wellness enterprises. Along the way, he served as a volunteer and leader of organizations including the Asheville Rotary Club, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, the North Carolina Arboretum, the Nature Conservancy, and the Henry’s Fork Foundation, among others. He delighted in family, partnerships, photography, sports, fly fishing, travel, farming, and the splendor and protection of nature.
He was a lifelong caregiver and doctor, and an anchor for Asheville’s caring community. In lieu of flowers, his family suggests donations to Pisgah Legal Services, one of the myriad organizations where he served as a board member.
Bruce will be memorialized at Central United Methodist Church, at 27 Church St. in Asheville, on Monday, February 24, at 11 a.m.