Age 87, passed away on June 6, 2020, at Mercy Hospital of St. Louis, Missouri, with his family at his side.
Henry was born on July 29, 1932, to Meri and Michael Elavsky of Munising, Michigan, both of whom preceded him in death. He attended Mather High School and, at the age of 17, enlisted in the Army, where he earned his GED. After graduating from Michigan State University, he went on to earn a master’s degree from Dartmouth College and also received a degree in photography from the New York Institute, where he had the opportunity to study with Ansel Adams and other notable professionals.
During his 30-year career in the Army, Henry achieved a long and distinguished record of service. A member of the Green Berets and the 5th Special Forces, he began his military service in 1950 with two tours of duty in the Korean War, becoming one of relatively few American soldiers to survive an escape from North Korean forces. During the Viet Nam War, he volunteered for three tours of duty as a helicopter pilot. Throughout his long and eventful career, his postings included cities across the globe, from Berlin to Hong Kong, and from Anchorage to St. Louis, where he resided until his death. He also served as a field agent for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for more than 20 years.
Through the years, Henry’s valor was acknowledged with numerous medals and honors, including several Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars. He also received a Silver Star, awarded to members of the Armed Forces for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States. He received an honorable discharge in 1979, retiring with the rank of Chief Warranty Officer (CW4).
In March of 1966, Henry married Asuncion (Tang) Elavsky, the love of his life, who survives him. He is also survived by his son Daniel Amado Elavsky, by his daughters Michelle (Scott) Tang Elavsky Klingler and Elizabeth (John) Caminas Elavsky Hermann, by grandsons Heston Scott Dort, Everett Amado Dort and Brock Elavsky Klingler, and by his sisters Pauline Elavsky and Ruth Elavsky, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Henry also leaves behind friends and former comrades-in-arms who will always remember him and will forever miss his humor, his wit, his courage and fierce loyalty, his endlessly entertaining conversation, his energetic spirit, his open-minded enthusiasm and—above all—his unfailing kindness and generosity.
A memorial service for Henry will be held in July or August at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Creve Coeur, Missouri, of which he was a member. A second service and interment of ashes is tentatively planned for mid-August in Munising, Michigan. Details relating to both services will be posted as they become available.