Caitlin and I were never precisely close to El, but we knew him -- and knew *of* him -- from our early days in the SCA. He was already a legend by the time we started, one of the few examples of a Pelican who was as legendary as any Duke, and for many of the same reasons: famed for fortitude, chivalry, courtesy and generally exemplifying our ideals. He featured all over East Kingdom history, and in no small parts in Carolingian history: while I wasn't there to attest to any of it firsthand, he shows up in some of the Barony's crucial moments, from the original Carolingian road trip (testing the original Great Helm of Carolingia with a mighty "WHACK! Sproing!") to the Valentine's Day debacle (standing between Baron John and King Angus in their great confrontation).
El could be, let's be clear, an enormous pain in the ass. That was part of his charm. He is one of about a dozen people who I consider my major role models in the SCA -- in his case, particularly in speaking truth to power. El represented the principle that it is the duty of the Peerage to speak the truth, no matter how hard that might be and no matter how mighty and displeased the recipient of that truth. Indeed, the lesson I drew from him is that you speak as gently as possible to the humble, and as forcefully as necessary to the mighty: *somebody* has to tell the King when he's being an ass, and sometimes that message requires a 2-by-4 to get it across.
For all that he could get thunderously indignant at the Royalty, though (and that was, I think, what most people knew him from), he cared greatly about the people around him. He loved to tell stories, and had a gentle nature quite belied by his size. While he was by no means the only person who traveled a distance to get to Jane's funeral, he was probably the one who did so through greatest inconvenience: wheelchair-bound and requiring assistance, he still showed up to pay his respects, quietly on the side.
From beginning to end, though, he was the model Pelican. He was the second Pelican of the East (the first having been John of Ileway, founding Baron Carolingia), having served as a much-needed and forceful Kingdom Seneschal during the East's formative years. And he kept working, as far as his physical capacity allowed, right into his latter days. I will quite miss him at Black Rose Ball, making his way to the front, leaning on his staff and announcing the dances in the next set.
I'll miss him, period. He was one of the good ones...