Foreword by Michelle Buehler
Many people knew my grandfather Neal Elias as a master of origami. To me and my family we knew him as so much more. He was a husband to Betty for 58 years, father to June and Louise, father-in-law to Paul and Steve, grandfather to Alan, Michelle, Amy, Beth and Nicole, and great-grandfather to Elizabeth and Austin. He was the grandfather that we all adored. He was the quiet one of the group that said very little, but when he spoke he always had something meaningful to say. He was a very humble man that never was one to talk about all of his accomplishments in the origami world. He had varying interests as he loved magic and would perform many tricks for all of us each time we saw him. I have many memories of the holidays with him and a deck of cards at the dining room table. He passed his knowledge and talent onto the only grandson Alan – each time I see him do a trick it always reminds me our grandpa. He was a very crafty person that created 100s of plastic canvas pieces that each of us now have and treasure dearly.
I dont think any of us grandchildren realized his level in the origami field till after his passing. We all began internet searches and were stunned at the hits we received on him. It is shocking to see how many people looked up to and respected him. It is an honor to us when someone speaks so highly of him. As a child I remember a big glass case that was in their house filled with origami foldings. At the time I thought they were things he had folded out of a book – never realized till much later in life that he not only folded these but he created them also. Neal was never one to sit around and do nothing. You would always find him folding, crafting, reading a book, practicing a trick or sending a letter out to one of his correspondents.
My grandpa took great pride in his family. He and my grandmother were always there to attend our school and church events and cheer us on at our sporting events. All of us grandkids have many treasure memories of them – sleepovers, seeing Santa at Christmas, going to the movies and out to lunch- the memories just go on and on. After each grandchild got their drivers licenses we always made it a point to stop over and see them. We did, not because we had to, but rather because we enjoyed their company and could easily talk to them. We never left their house empty handed. Grandpa always had a trinket, book or misc. item to pass onto us. My sister Nicole said it best after my grandma passed away in July 2006 – If you were to look up the word grandparents in the dictionary there would be a picture of Neal and Betty, the best grandparents that any grandkid could ask for.
Our family is saddened by the loss of Neal and Betty and we all miss them both greatly. It is a wonderful thing to be able to see how much, and how many people respected our father and grandfather. His legacy will live on for a long time