By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, January 9, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- Hundreds came to the United Methodist Church on Monday to celebrate and honor the life of Bill Elliot, who will forever be known as the "Singing Cop" of Hampton Beach.
Elliot, a resident at Rockingham County Nursing Home in Brentwood, died on Jan. 3 at the age of 101.
Those who spoke remembered him as an operative Mason, police officer, concert singer, poet, actor and a Scoutmaster.
They recalled how he loved a good joke, loved watching shows at the Seashell stage, wrote poetry while on the train to Boston and his dedication and devotion to his wife, Alzena, who died in 2004.
Others recalled how he loved athletics, church and that his family was one of the most important things to him.
"Every day was a new game for him and he wanted to win every day," said his grandson, David.
Elliot got the "Singing Cop" name when he worked as a part-time traffic officer between 1930 and 1940 at Hampton Beach.
At the time, he was one of many officers in charge of directing traffic at Ocean Boulevard, which was packed because of the bands playing at the Hampton Beach Casino.
But unlike other officers, at 9 p.m., Elliot would take a break from his duties, hop onto bandstand, and belt out a few tunes to the delight of spectators and visitors.
His singing ability sparked national acclaim.
Not only was he a singer and an actor, Elliot also wrote a book of poems called "Everyday Poems."
After a tumor in his vocal cord interrupted his career in singing, he became an underwriter for National Life Insurance Company of Vermont and later founded and operated the Elliot Insurance Agency with other family members.
Over the years, he served as a state park manager and executive secretary of the Hampton Beach Chamber of Commerce where he garnered the nickname "Mr. Hampton Beach."
Wayne Elliot recalled how he would always say goodbye to his father with a handshake and that he once told him there was only two important words in the dictionary and they were "thank you."
He used those words to thank everyone at Rockingham County Nursing Home and Seacoast Hospice, who cared for his dad over the years as if he was their own.