2000-08 Goodbye, E.R.

By Ty Sawyer

There is a saying that when an old man dies, a library burns. It is my sad duty to report that on May 8, 2000, Ellis Royal Cross, a longtime Skin Diver contributor, passed away. He was 86. He was a diver for 57 of those years, during which time he not only influenced and help define the safety and history of our sport, he embodied it.

E.R. Cross' first article appeared in the May 1964 issue of Skin Diver. At the time he had been diving for more than 20 years. During the next 36 years, Cross (as he liked to be called) both amazed and awed millions of our readers with a vast well of knowledge, awareness and experience that encompassed every corner and depth of the underwater world. From antique, one-of-a-kind air pumps to the deep submersibles of tomorrow to the detailed study of snails in his home aquarium, no topic was beyond the scope of Cross' mind. And every single person who wrote to him during those 36 years with a question or comment received a prompt, personal reply. And during that same time, he never missed a deadline or failed to enlighten and entertain us with his monthly column. His passing will not only leave a hollow and irreplaceable hole in the pages of Skin Diver, but within the entire dive community and most especially in the hearts of those whose lives he touched, which, for a man whose accessibility was legendary, are innumerable.

A closer look at his extraordinary life and enormous contribution to scuba diving can be found in Bonnie J. Cardone's (former Skin Diver editor for 22 of Cross' 36 years) memoriam on page 106. Following is E.R.'s final CrossTalk.

Cross' life was lived immensely. And lucky for us, though a library of untold stories has burned, a bright light of his wisdom and words remain in the back issues of this magazine to inspire us in the years to come.

Goodbye, E.R. Cross. You will not be forgotten.