I started working for Elwood McQuaid in 1999. He was executive director of The Friends of Israel and always led our Up to Jerusalem tours. My motherin- law, Vera Bowker, then FOI’s publications manager, was particularly excited about one of the tours because it was to be her first trip to Israel. I was in Elwood’s office when ABC News’s Nightline telephoned him, wanting to send a camera crew. When the segment aired, my husband and I saw Vera hobble down the steps at the Garden Tomb.
What we didn’t see was how Elwood took care of her. Her hip, due to be replaced, hurt so much she could barely walk. He often sat with her, carefully pointing out everything of significance, while our other leaders guided the rest of the tour.
When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was flying home from one of his trips to the United States, Elwood and his wife were on the plane. When Sharon learned Elwood was on board, he dispatched a member of his security detail to deliver a pillow to Mrs. McQuaid.
Elwood has had casual friendships with four Israeli prime ministers, including Golda Meir, with whom he corresponded, and Benjamin Netanyahu. But one of his fondest friendships was with David Bar-Ilan, the concert pianist and editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post who became chief spokesman for the Israeli government under Netanyahu from 1996 to 1999. After David’s debilitating stroke, Elwood visited him at his home in Israel until Bar-Ilan’s death in 2003.
Elwood has associated with dignitaries too numerous to name, yet I once watched as he knelt in a puddle during a driving rain in Jerusalem to tie the shoes of an elderly woman on our tour.
This has been a difficult column for me to write. Elwood mentored me and gave me the vision, encouragement, and insight I needed to do this job. Now, after 27 years with The Friends of Israel, he is retiring. He is 86, and I can’t blame him. I also can’t think of a better issue of Israel My Glory in which to run his final article than this one, which focuses on the Lord he has loved and served most of his life—the One whose name is above all names and in whom rests the hope of mankind.
We wish Elwood God’s very best. He is working on a wonderful new book about his days in the pastorate, and I can’t wait to read it.
“The humility, the wisdom he has,” my mother-in-law said. “He is a brilliant, godly man. And it was the greatest privilege of my life to have been able to work for him.” My sentiments exactly.
Waiting for His Appearing,