May 18, 1923 Ė March 22, 2011
Earl William (Bill) Ellis, 87, of Chugwater passed away March 22 at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center from complications of kidney disease.
Mr. Ellis was born May 18, 1923, in Cheyenne to Francis Vickers and Jessie May (Marsh) Ellis. He spent his childhood years in Eaton, Colo., and then Torrington. He graduated from Torrington High School in 1941. An athlete who played basketball and football and ran track in high school, Bill attended the University of Wyoming on an athletic scholarship, playing basketball for the legendary coach Ev Shelton. He was also a member of Sigma Nu fraternity and served as a student senator.
In 1943, Billís ROTC unit was called to active duty and he served in the 65th Infantry Division during World War II. A tech sergeant in charge of a four-man mortar team, his division marched across Germany and Austria, helping to secure the Allied victory in Europe.
After returning from the service in 1946, Bill came home to the Marsh and Ellis Ranch and was actively involved in the work and management of the ranch until his death. Billís ranching experience began after his fatherís death in 1932, when he started spending much of his childhood on the Yoder and Marsh family ranches on Bear Creek. At age eleven, Bill started helping his Uncle Earl Marsh put up hay by driving a stacker team. This early experience led to a lifetime ranching partnership, first with his Uncle Earl and then continuing with his son, Philip.
On Dec. 10, 1948, Bill married Patty Davis from Springfield, Mo., who had come to teach at Chugwater High School in the fall of 1947. Bill and Pat spent almost all of their 62 years together at the ranch and were involved in the Chugwater community. In 2007, they moved to Cheyenne for health reasons. Even though unable to do the physical work that he loved, Bill kept involved in the business of the ranch by reading the livestock papers and watching the video markets.
Bill was always interested in peopleóboth family and friends. He was a good listener and encourager, sharing his humor and common sense with others. Bill made new friends wherever he went. He was a member of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the American Legion, and the Chugwater Valley Church.
Bill is survived by his wife Pat; his son, Philip M. Ellis and wife, Joy, of Chugwater; his daughter Carolyn Nix and husband, Tim, of Wheatland; and daughter Susan Mathews and husband, Bill, of Anchorage, Alaska. He is also survived by eight grandchildren: Amanda Ellis (Mark) Pollard, Sarah Ellis (Sam) Booth, Laura Nix (Derek) Nevins, Carrie Nix, Jacob (Jerah) Nix, Paul Nix, Grant Mathews, Katie Mathews, and one great-grandchild, Lincoln Ellis Pollard. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, F. Vickers (Vic) Ellis and his uncle and aunt, Earl and Marjorie Marsh.
A Graveside Service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 2 at Lakeview Cemetery followed by a Memorial Service at 2:30 p.m. at the Chugwater Valley Church with Pastor Mike Baber officiating.
Memorials may be sent to the Chugwater Valley Church, PO Box 23, Chugwater, WY 82210 or the Community Thrift Store for Dialysis Patients, 866 Gilchrist, Wheatland, WY 82201.
Services are under the direction of Schrader Funeral Home and on-line condolences may be made at www.schraderfuneral.com.
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