Saying Goodbye to Elbert

This week we had a memorial and burial service for Elbert Lott, our founding Core Member who passed away last December. We gathered in Homewood, Illinois to share some memories, pray together and say goodbye to our friend. Elbert was buried in Washington Memorial Gardens, near his mother Odessa Lott who meant a great deal to him.


Elbert had a great impact on our community. Below is a story from 2000 when Elbert was preparing to move in to Angel House.

Published 28 June 2024

Remembering Elbert: Moving In

(Written by Anita Shepherd in 2000)

Sr. Maria kindly invited me to lunch at L’Arche’s new home in Austin. Over a simple meal, four of us talked about the future of L’Arche Chicago and shared our personal histories and concerns. One of the guests, a very spiritual and kind person, offered me some excellent advice on raising a child with a disability: “Be patient. Pray. Put him in God’s hands. Have a heart for your son. Be happy, because if you’re happy, he’ll be happy.” This sage advice came from none other than Elbert Lott, who will soon be L’Arche Chicago’s first core member.

Elbert’s remarks that day reflect his entire philosophy of life: Don’t worry about the future, just trust in God. Put all your burdens in His hands, and he’ll take care of them. Try to get along with and help everyone, because we’re all brothers and sisters. When asked why he thinks people don’t get along and make such a big deal about racial and other differences, Elbert shrugged and simply replied, “[They’re]nuts.” That trusting relationship with God, and willingness to pitch in with whatever work needs to be done, make Elbert a perfect choice to help found a new L’Arche community. Sr. Maria points out that Elbert is deeply convinced that the residents will truly form a family and clearly understands what it takes to live in community. She enthusiastically recounts how he volunteered to shovel snow, fold laundry, and do the dishes on two initial visits, long before he’d been invited to become a member.

Elbert is enthusiastic about moving in with David Hovde, an assistant, whom Elbert already calls his best friend. He can’t wait to have his own room, which he may want to paint green, his favorite color, and to make additional friends. Elbert says he plans to stay at L’Arche “forever.”