Robert Churchill MacElvain, age 91, beloved father and grandfather, died at his home on Monday, February 24, 2020.
Mr. MacElvain was born to the late Pauline and Ford MacElvain in Birmingham on February 9, 1929. Mr. MacElvain was married to the late Lynne Mooty MacElvain for 54 years. He and Mrs. MacElvain purchased and lovingly restored an antebellum home in the historic Seth Lore district of Eufaula, AL in 1969, where he lived until his death.
He was preceded in death by his only sibling, Ford M. MacElvain of Opelika, and by his son-in-law James Huckaby, Jr.
Survivors are his two daughters Ellen MacElvain Rhett (Warren); Leslie MacElvain Huckaby, all of Birmingham, AL; three grandchildren: Alexandra Moore Rhett and William Warren Rhett, both of Nashville, TN; and Mary McKenzie Huckaby, Birmingham, AL. Although best known for his gentle nature and charming sense of humor, Mr. MacElvain had a brilliant scientific mind and held 42 U.S. patents. When Mr. MacElvain was a young teenager, his father introduced him personally to Albert Einstein, a meeting which influenced Mr. MacElvain the rest of his life. Mr. MacElvain attended Birmingham Southern College, later transferring to and graduating from Florida State University, where he was a founding member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity chapter. Following service in the U.S. Navy, he became a geologist, working for several years with the State of Alabama Geological Survey in Tuscaloosa, before moving his young family to Eufaula. He and his brother founded DeepRock Manufacturing Co., which produced and sold his patented water-well drilling equipment worldwide. Mr. MacElvain was a lifelong learner with scientific contacts in many countries. He kept up with the latest health trends, and at least a dozen food-related experiments were kept going in the family kitchen at any one time. He was an early proponent of un-fluoridated water, lobbying the City of Tuscaloosa vigorously but unsuccessfully, against fluoridating the municipal water supply in the early 1960s, a half-century before sodium fluoride was officially recognized as a neurotoxin by the respected medical journal "The Lancet." Although he could happily sit at his computer for hours, composing scientific theses or researching new ideas, he also believed in fresh air and outdoor activity. He enjoyed his garden, which could be counted on for a bumper crop of seasonal vegetables. He loved birds, especially song birds, and he particularly delighted in tossing bread to the resident flock of seagulls outside a local shopping center. He also loved poetry, and could recite from memory dozens of lines of his favorites John Greenleaf Whittier and Edward Arlington Robinson. He could be seen most days pedaling his bright red three-speed bicycle to the Carnegie Library or along the Eufaula Rail Trail, up until his 87th year. Whenever asked how he was doing, his invariable reply was "Never better!"
The family especially wishes to thank Eddie Brown.
If a memorial contribution is desired, please consider the town beautification charity "Trees Eufaula," c/o Mrs. John Gray, 703 N. Randolph Ave., Eufaula, AL 36027. A graveside Service of Remembrance and committal of ashes will take place on Sunday, March 15, 2020, at one o'clock in the afternoon, Fairview Cemetery Addition, Eufaula, the Rev. Dr. Alan Cassady officiating.