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Ella Mary Thorp Ellis


1928 - 2013 | Obituary Condolences
Ella Mary Thorp Ellis Obituary
Ella Mary Thorp Ellis
July 14, 1928 - October 13, 2013
Resident of Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Buenos Aires, Oceano
Ella Ellis passed away on October 13 in her Santa Cruz home, surrounded by her family.
A published author of ten books and teacher of creative writing, Ella was an inspiration to all who met her. Known for her perennially positive outlook and welcoming nature, she encouraged the dreams and best traits of everyone she encountered.
Born in Los Angeles, Ella spent her early childhood in Oceano and Moy Mell, an artist commune in the Pismo Dunes, where she combated polio walking the dunes and swimming in the ocean. "Dune Child," her last book, is a vivid memoir of this period. Ella contracted tuberculosis as a teenager and was committed to a sanatorium, which served as the inspiration for her book "Year of My Indian Prince." After she recovered, Ella met Leo Ellis at a Cal football game. They married in 1949, settled in Berkeley, and had three sons. They spent their lives in love and traveling the world, living twice in Argentina for several years, and for shorter periods in Brazil, Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Eqypt, and Jordan. Wherever she went she taught writing and studied the arts. Two of her more popular books, "Roam the Wild Country" and "Swimming with the Whales," were set in Argentina, and these and other books were translated into other languages. She earned a BA from UCLA, and a Masters from SF State.
Ella is survived by her husband Leo; her sons Steven, David, and Patrick; nine grandchildren; and two great grandchildren. A Celebration of Ella's life will be at the UC Berkeley Alumni House, at 1:00 PM this Saturday, December 14. Donations in Ella's memory may be made to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.

Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Dec. 10, 2013
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