lliot Melville Offner was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1931, the second of three brothers. His parents Samuel and Helen (Wolowitz) had emigrated from Eastern Europe.

During his youth in Brooklyn, he was able to feed his greatest interests - nature, art and books - at the local Botanic Gardens, Museum of Art, and Library. Though he was always athletic and enjoyed basketball and tennis, his artistic abilities quickly emerged. He won a full scholarship in 1949 to the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1949, with a focus on art history – though sculpture, printmaking, book and furniture design were also, as he said, “quiet passions”. After three years he transferred to Yale, where he studied under Joseph Albers, and earned his BFA in 1953. Albers, the internationally acclaimed painter and color theorist, had taught at the Bauhaus School until it was closed by the Nazis in 1932. Having family members who had escaped Europe, and some who did not, Offner connected deeply with the subject of the Holocaust, which inspired his first sculptural works.

Chuck, Elliot and Arnold Offner

Elliot Offner’s maternal grandmother Pauline Wolowitz
and mother Helen Offner

Maternal grandparents Pauline and Stephen Wolowitz

Brother Arnold Offner (left), maternal grandmother
Pauline Wolowitz (second from left) Elliot Offner (far right)

Elliot’s mother Helen Offner

Arnold Offner, (1939)

Maternal Grandmother Pauline Wolowitz

Maternal Grandmother Pauline Wolowitz with
brother Arnold (left) and Elliot

Helen Offner with Arnold

Cousins Fanny and Jacob Steinberg

Arnold Offner with his mother Helen (left)
and grandmother Pauline Wolowitz (right)

Elliot at Mountaindale NY, 1939

Arnold, Chuck and Elliot, Mountaindale, NY 1939

Arnold on Elliot’s shoulders, V-J Day, 1945

Elliot Melville Offner, about 1955

Rosemary O'Connell

Rosemary O'Connell at her wedding to Elliot

Samuel Offner with Marilyn, Arnold and Ellen Offner’s wedding

Elliot’s daughter Helen, late 1950’s

Rosemary O’Connell Offner with daughter Helen, late 1950’s

Elliot’s daughter Helen, late 1950’s

Chuck, Arnold and Elliot Offner

Samuel Offner and Arnold Offner

Pauline Wolowitz with Elliot and Rosemary’s children
Helen and Dan Offner

Dan and Helen Offner, about 1966

Elliot with Dan and Helen, about 1966

maternal grandmother Pauline Wolowitz

Elliot and his father at 74 Washington Street

Samuel Offner

Samuel Offner

Elliot and Arnold, Fenway Park, 2007

Three generations of Offners at Vose Gallery, Boston:

Counter-clockwise from back right: Elliot, Helen Offner-Ong,
Leila Clifford-Ong (Elliot's first grandchild), John Ong, Rosemary Offner, J. Finley Ong.
at Vose Gallery, Boston

Elliot and Leila

Helen Offner Ong with J. Finley Ong with Great Blue Heron, Darien Library

Elliot with son Dan Offner and granddaughter Aiko

Mayumi, Dan, Aiko, Elliot Offner approximately 2008

Aiko and Elliot Offner singing

Elliot, Aiko, Rosemary Offner, 2008

Rosemary, Mayumi, Aiko, Dan, Elliot Offner

Elliot (wearing lobster bib), Mayumi, Aiko, Rosemary Offner 2008

Emily Hollidge and son Liam

Brendan, Kevin and Liam Hollidge on Grandpa's sculpture in Minneapolis

Elliot and his 4 grandsons

The 6 Hollidge Children on Nantucket

The Offner family