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John E. Elliff, MD

Honored by CU School of Medicine


(May 2017) John E. Elliff, MD, a native of and long-time opthalmologist in Sterling, has received the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Distinguished Achievement Award for benefiting the community, the practice of medicine, the provision of health care, and the Alumni Association and / or the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Dr. Elliff, an ophthalmologist who graduated from the CU School of Medicine in 1956, carried on a practice in the Sterling Eye Center, which his father, Edgar Elliff, MD, built 70 years ago.  The younger Dr. Elliff was on staff at the Sterling Regional MedCenter before moving to the Sterling Eye Center, where he took care of generations of patients.

In addition to his service to a rural community where access to health care has been limited, Dr. Elliff served the CU School of Medicine as associate professor of ophthalmology for 50 years. He also served as an appointee on the State Board of Health under two governors.

Dr. Elliff’s dedication to community is further exemplified in his having built the 110-bed Devonshire Nursing Home in Sterling.

Dr. Elliff served in the United States Navy until his honorable discharge as lieutenant commander in 1962.

In his book Sterling Heroes of World War II, which went into a second printing in 2013, Dr. Elliff interviews 36 who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. He has also chronicled his self-piloted trip through Africa, where he photographed its landscape and wildlife in National Adventurer, a journal of the National Adventurer Society in Sterling.