Gillies Funeral Chapel


Elbert Miles Bitton

August 31, 1939 ~

Viewing: 10:30 -11:45 am Friday September 9th, Sonrise Baptist Church 3550 S 4400 W, West Valley City, UT

Funeral: 12:00 pm Friday September 9th, 2016. Sonrise Baptist Church 3550 S 4400 W, West Valley City, UT


Elbert Miles Bitton was born August 31, 1939; but to anyone who asked he’d tell you he was born August 32nd and see how long it took for you to catch on to his joke. He was born in the family’s small cabin home during a rainstorm & it took several people holding buckets to catch the raindrops coming in from the leaky roof so he would arrive in this world safe and dry. Elbert had a fun childhood running around his country home with his 4 brothers; Lou, Wesley (decd), Edward (Becky), Tony and 1 sister Stella (decd) & many cousins. He had a donkey who he took on many fun adventures. In the summer when he turned 8 he fell out of a tree & broke his leg. As if a full length cast wasn’t bad enough in the summer, he caught chicken pox about the same time. He itched terribly & he found that he could use a yardstick to scratch & that really helped. Elbert wanted more adventure in his life than he could find in his hometown of Wellington UT so he quit school, lied about his age & joined the navy. He saw lands he’d only dreamed of. He was stationed for 2 years in Hawaii & he and his buddies had some great adventures stealing pineapple, exploring the island and chasing women. All of that came to a halt when he was climbing up the ladder to get to the main deck and the watertight manhole type door was shut on his fingers. Four of his fingers were chopped off so he did what anyone else would do, picked his fingers up and went to find the doctor. The doctor sewed his fingers back on, but told Elbert he wouldn’t gain much use out of them. He decided to prove the doctor wrong and he spent hours sliding coins back and forth between piles he had made on the ship’s dining table until finally he was able to do it with ease. The doctor was forced to eat his words when Elbert returned to show the doctor the progress he had made! When Elbert was finished serving his country, he returned back to Utah and a friend of his set him up with then 17 year old Kathleen Smith. They dated & fell in love but knew Kathy’s parents wouldn’t approve of their young daughter marrying a 24 year old ex-sailor, so they eloped. They ran away to Elko Nevada where they were married and called her parents on the phone to give them their news. Kathy’s parents were furious but there wasn’t much they could do. Elbert & Kathy had 4 daughters, Gerri Savage (Rick), Taunie Brock (Wendell), Tracy McDonald (Mike) & Wendy Brown (Kent)f. Their last pregnancy included a stillborn twin. Through the stress of it all, the couple divorced. Elbert married and then divorced Debby Rubin. The short marriage gave him another daughter to love, Briona Bitton. After his 2nd divorce he started attending “Parents without Partners” where he met & later married Maria Hardcastle. The couple was together for more than 30 years in Taylorsville, UT. Elbert and Maria are the proud grandparents to 24 and great grandparents to 16 children. Elbert was a man who loved hearing and telling jokes. He loved to tinker and fix things. But most of all he enjoyed being a dad & grandpa! Even as a single father he made sure his girls went on vacation and did fun activities like roller & ice skating, swimming and camping out all night before the 24th of July parade. His girl’s all knew he was the the best dad ever because he made what was important to them important to him! There were many occasions where he was out in public after a birthday party or family function and he still had ribbons & bows in his hair and beard that he let the grandkids place there. This got him a lot of laughs and funny looks from others! He also used to tie an empty soda pop can to the end of a fishing pole & let the grandkids go “fishing” on his boat that was parked in the driveway. He didn’t let his arthritis get the best of him & always gave the best piggy back rides no matter how much pain he was in! He loved to take the grandkids to the park so they could feed bread to the ducks and in winter they would go sledding. He would take them to the hostess thrift store & let them go home with a sack full of baked goods and they were in heaven. Viewing is 10:30 -11:45 am Friday September 9th, Funeral is 12:00 pm Friday September 9th, 2016. Sonrise Baptist Church 3550 S 4400 W, West Valley City, UT.

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