Elliot M. Juren

by | Jun 27, 2016 | Obituaries

Norfolk —Elliot M. Juren, 70, passed away June 7, 2016 after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.

Elliot was born in Portsmouth, Va., and was the son of the late Ben L. Juren and Lillian Reuben Juren. He graduated from Maury High School and received his BA in English from Old Dominion University. He served as an Army combat radio operator during the Viet Nam War.

After working in advertising, in 1978 Elliot bought a tiny storefront on Colley Avenue and created Elliot’s Restaurant, which served the community for 20 years. He expanded this original restaurant three times and, with characteristic foresight, in 1988 purchased the building and directed a complete Art Deco makeover. This earned an Architectural Design Award from the Norfolk Design Review Committee. The Ghent Business Association, of which he served a term as president, called him a “pacesetter for the definition of Historic Ghent.”

Of Elliot’s many remarkable attributes, his beloved irreverent humor is what defined him and what people loved about him. His ability to remember his many hundreds of customers, and their families, and his ability to joke and banter with them, is legendary.

After retiring from Elliot’s, he wondered if he could pull off one more success story—and he did. In 2000 he opened Elliot’s Fair Grounds Coffee Shop and devoted another 10 years to growing its popularity.

Elliot’s charitable work spanned many years. A weekly volunteer at Beth Sholom Home, he conducted the Thursday afternoon religious service. He served on various committees at Congregation Beth El, and in his later years, served three weeks in the Israeli Army on a civilian volunteer program.

In his business career he did quiet favors for employees and colleagues alike. He helped those who needed help, whether it was a financial need, the creation of a job, or a post midnight ride home. Seeking nothing in return, he allowed his deed to speak his honor.

Elliot was writing his memoir when he became ill. It is packed with the retelling of personal memories from his army years and from 30 years of running businesses on Colley Avenue in Ghent. Told in his entertaining, humorous style, it remains unfinished. Or, maybe, in its own simple, unedited way, it is perfectly complete.

Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Gail Juren, two sons; Alex and Max Juren, a brother Harold and his wife Jeanette, a sister Eleanor Snyder and her husband George and many nieces and nephews.

Elliot made everything better—for his family, for his friends, for his community. Not a day will pass that he will not be remembered and missed by so many.

A funeral service was conducted at Congregation Beth EL in Norfolk by Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz, Cantor Wendi Fried and Rabbi Arthur Ruberg. Burial was at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Memorial donations in Elliot’s memory may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.hdoliver.com.