EAST LIVERMORE – John H. Elsman Jr., owner of The Original Four Winds Lobster Co., passed away peacefully at his home in East Livermore on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, surrounded by his family.
John was born on May 2,1951 in Newark, N.J., to John H Elsman Sr. and Anne Teresa Kearney Elsman. He grew up in New Jersey at a young age he went to work as a deck hand on a lobster boat. John found his calling. He loved the ocean, fishing and lobstering. In the ’80s with sons in tow he came to Maine, eventually settling in 1986 at a job at Boise Cascade’s Rumford mill.
John’s work ethic was matched by few, that is until he met his future wife at work, Pat Thomas. Together they could do it all. John always said, “Pat if only we met when we were younger.” John and Pat were married at Niagara Falls on Sept 19, 1999, settling in and making East Livermore their home. Together they worked hard at the mill and then opening up Four Winds Redemption, John felt something was still missing, hence, Four Winds Lobster Company was founded.
Together their intention was to have the business as their retirement. Pat retired from the mill and then a few years later John joined her. “Retirement” was anything but, they continued to work hard everyday. He had a passion for lobster, John was the guy who knew everything about lobsters. He truly enjoyed every one of his customers, chatting with them telling them how to cook them, how to crack them open even, how to eat them. Every customer, whether it be for bottles or for lobster, would almost always be greeted by John out front with his lobster pots .
John tended to drive us all crazy in the summer , because he needed to make sure he had enough lobster and clams for his customers. Constantly counting them, double checking his orders. He was meticulous when it came to his business. Often you would see his lobster truck out at local areas, camp grounds and farmers markets, he built his business up, at times staying open late or opening early for the customer, cooking a single lobster for a regular customer. Delivering lobster to regular customers who couldn’t get out. He was dedicated! At the end of a hard day, he enjoyed sitting in the garage shooting the breeze with Pat over a cold beer.
John was a friend to all, he treated everyone like a friend. He was the guy who would give the shirt off his back. Another of Johns’ passions was cooking, he loved to cook and often for a crowd, even if it was only him and Pat, she said John cooked for an army. He loved to grocery shop, going to town sometimes several times a day. In recent years there wasn’t much time for recreational things due to how busy they both were. But there was a time when they went camping and boating, John loved his boat and fishing. Pat and John took many cruises, and trips to the midwest where Pat was from. Trips to South Carolina, and to New Jersey. Oh and the casino, he liked to gamble every now and then. John was definitely one of a kind, he loved his wife and his boys, his dogs, and all of his family and friends. If you were lucky enough to be in his circle, then you were truly blessed.
Over the past few days many stories and memories have been shared, through all, one thing remained clear, “It’ll be all right”…. Those were Johns’ words. John was the guy. Lovingly referred to Johnnie Boy or Smiling John he was very sensitive at heart, but stern too, he loved a good joke but was serious when it came to business; his smile was contagious and his sparkling blue eyes mesmerizing. John was a big guy, but his size couldn’t compare to his personality. John stood for what he believed in, and he would tell you like it is, whether you liked it or not. He wasn’t bashful about sharing his views on different subjects. There were times that John and Pat butted heads over this, but no matter what he always had Pat’s back. John will surely be missed by all who loved and cared for him as well as the community. For surely John has gone too soon, but definitely had a life well lived. He has forever left an impression on those who met him.
A Celebration of Life is planned for Sunday, May 2 at Four Winds, this would have been Johns’ 70th birthday. So we ask that anyone who would like to join us, please stop by that day.
John is survived by his wife Patricia Elsman, four sons; John (Michelle)Elsman , Steve (Becky) Elsman, Justin Elsman, Patrick (Denise) Elsman; stepchildren Kerry Thomas, Clint (Holly) Thomas, Mindy (Bill)Walker; 21 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren; his fur babies Jack & Benny; neighborhood boys who were like sons. Many friends, customers and the community that came to love him. A sister Maureen Borks of New Jersey.
Predeceased by his parents his granddaughter Chloe, and his best friend Bob, and his Dog Sammy. Rest Easy Johnnie Boy, play ball with Sammy until we meet again. The family would like to thank Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice. Arrangements by Funeral Alternatives. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Johns’ memory to Androscoggin Valley Humane Society 55 Strawberry Avenue Lewiston,Maine 04240 or send donations to Pat at 1258 Park Street Livermore Falls,Me 04254, she will see that they go to help animals.