Jeffrey Ganson Elkus, age 39, passed away June 11, 2023, beloved son of Steve and Nancy Elkus, dear brother of Bradley (Sarah) Elkus, and devoted uncle of Noah Elkus. He is also survived by many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Services were held at Weil Kahn Funeral Home on Tuesday, June 13.
Jeff was a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Sycamore High School and a member of the National Honor Society. As the PA Announcer for Varsity Basketball, and Sideline Reporter for Varsity Football, Jeff was known as the “Voice of the Aviators.” He was inducted into the Sycamore High School Athletic Hall of Fame as the Spirit of Sycamore Award winner.
He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Electronic Media from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. He was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Golden Key Honor Society.
Jeff worked at the University of Cincinnati’s Sports Information Department handling media communications for Bearcats Football and Women’s Basketball. Throughout college, he was a freelance sports reporter for various Cincinnati suburban newspapers and a staff reporter for The News Record, the UC student-run newspaper. Additionally, he was a production engineer and a sales representative for Bearcast, the student-run internet radio station. Jeff was the on-air talent providing commentary during UC Baseball home games. As a Production Intern at Clear Channel Radio Jeff earned a Radio Marketing Professional certification from the Radio Advertising Bureau.
Upon graduation, Jeff joined the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati as Editor of David’s Voice, the Jewish Young Adult Website. He then joined the Mayerson JCC, where he held and excelled in various positions for almost 14 years.
Though Jeff’s sports passion was the Cincinnati Reds, he was a devoted fan of the Bengals, Bearcats, and all Cincinnati teams. Jeff loved to travel and had the opportunity to visit Israel, Paris, and London. He traveled extensively throughout the U.S., including a memorable trip to snow ski in Utah. However, most of Jeff’s vacations were attending professional sporting events, including baseball games at 18 of 30 MLB ballparks.
Jeff had a deep commitment to Judaism and loved his studies, especially the discussions and debates. He was a graduate of Melton School of Jewish Learning. He was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Jewish Studies and was honored by the AJC Cincinnati Chapter. He was an AJC representative at the Global Forum in Washington, D.C., and served on their Simon Lazarus Awards Committee. He also was the recipient of the Chabad Friendship Circle award.
Jeff was diagnosed at age 5 with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a debilitating disease characterized by progressive muscle deterioration and weakness. Thirty-nine years is twice the expected life span of a DMD patient and with the support of his family and friends he lived a rich life, albeit with constant effort and challenges. At age 9, Jeff was the first participant in a U.S. clinical trial for a steroid that would slow DMD’s progression. The study was subsequently conducted throughout the world; now newly diagnosed DMD patients are prescribed this medication. Because of Jeff’s longevity, he was invited to represent the U.S. as a panelist at the International Neuromuscular Disease Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Renowned physicians proclaimed that Jeff was a trailblazer and helped them learn how to treat DMD patients, both medically and spiritually.
Jeff strived to make the most of every day while battling his devastating illness. He enjoyed reading, writing, every music genre, and all performing arts. He had broad and diverse interests in each area. He relished being engaged in the community and inspired so many, young and old, with his positive attitude, courageous spirit, and genuine smile. Jeff exemplified the saying “if you can’t stand up, stand out”. May his memory be a blessing.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45236.