It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Elvin Elliott Rawlins who passed away at home on October 16, 2019 with his loving wife, Josey Panetta, by his side. Elvin will be greatly missed by his in-laws, Gennaro and Antonietta Panetta, Sergio (Carolin) and Maria (Frank Rondinone) and his nieces and nephews Giancarlo (Melissa) and Giuliana Panetta and Amanda and Michael Rondinone.
Elvin was a warm-loving man who had kind words and a big smile for anyone who met him. He grew up in Queens, New York and was adored by his late parents and grandmother, Elvin Elliott and Myrtle Rawlins (nee Stevenson), and “Mama Lillie” Woodson. As an only child, Elvin was the centre of their universe and had many memories of a happy childhood, including outings to New York Yankees baseball games, family road trips to upper state New York and Mama Lillie's lemon meringue pie.
A graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, Wisconsin, where he completed law school, Elvin worked as an in-house counsel for CUNA and then as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.
Elvin had a penchant for collecting. Early on, he collected baseball cards and comic books. Later in life, he developed an interest in Negro league baseball, which led him to amass one of the largest private collections of Negro league baseball memorabilia in the US. For Elvin, it wasn't just about the pursuit of collecting, but a genuine interest in learning about the old ball players and their careers. His expertise led to lecturing about his passion for the Smithsonian and other institutions. Elvin ultimately sold his collections to focus on his career. More recently, Elvin developed a passion for Swatch watches and through this new pursuit befriended many like-minded collectors from around the world. Goal-oriented and disciplined, Elvin participated in nine marathons, including Boston three times, raising money for Boston Children’s Hospital.
On a visit to Toronto in 2005, Elvin met the 'love of his life' at a Starbucks. The chance encounter led to a whirlwind romance and marriage a year later. After 33 years of living in Madison, Wisconsin, Elvin moved to Bloor West Village, where he became the “Mayor of Beresford.” He always had a friendly hello for neighbours and strangers, knew all the names of the kids on the street and kept up-to-date on local happenings.
Wanting to make a lasting impact for generations to come, Elvin established a scholarship endowment at Dickinson College to help students in financial need gain a higher education. He believed everyone should have a chance at success, regardless of financial means.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to ELVIN'S ENDOWMENT at www.dickinson.edu/gift. ONCE ON THE PAGE, CLICK THE "DESIGNATION" BOX AND SCROLL TO "OTHER". PLEASE NOTE "ELVIN E. RAWLINS '73 ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP FUND" in the new box that appears. Memoriam gift cards will also be available at Turner & Porter - Yorke Chapel.
Elvin was a bright light and will be deeply missed by family and friends