- ADVERTISEMENT -

Dr. Allen Ellsworth

Dr. Ellsworth, Allen Eugene Completed his earthly life on July 14, 2013 at Juliette Fowler Communities, Dallas, at the age of 102. Dr. Ellsworth was Retired Professor and Chairman of the Department of Music Theory at Southern Methodist University and a long time organist and church musician in Dallas. He was born on October 2, 1910 in Grand Island, Nebraska to Allen and Wilhelmina Reinecke Ellsworth. "Gene" grew up studying piano and trumpet, and developed an interest in the organ in high school when he was hired by the local theatre to play for silent movies. He went on to earn the degrees B.A. and B.Mus. from the University of Nebraska, and after graduation taught high school band in the Kansas-Nebraska area, playing extra jobs on the accordion and as a jazz pianist. Summers found him at Northwestern University earning a Master of Music degree. He married Ardeth Pierce, a remarkable pianist, in 1936. In 1942 he enlisted as a Volunteer Officer in the U.S. Army. He received the rank of First Lieutenant and was assigned to the 29th Division, 11th FA battalion. In June, 1944, his battalion was assigned to the first wave of field artillery in the Normandy Invasion. Gene landed at "H plus 20 minutes" on Omaha Beach. After a few weeks in battle, he was injured and returned to the U.S., having earned the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and other medals. After his recovery and retirement from the Army, he moved to New York to teach at Wagner College, Staten Island, and play at Mt. Neboh Temple in New York City, during which time he received a Doctor of Sacred Music Degree at Union Theological Seminary. In 1949, after his wife's death, Dr. Ellsworth accepted the position of Professor of Music Theory at S.M.U., where he taught until his retirement in 1980. At the same time he was hired as Minister of Music at East Dallas Christian Church, where he served from 1949 to 1966 as organist/director of music and developed a massive multi-age choral music program. In 1951 he married Dorothy Wassum, a choral music teacher who became his partner in church work for many years. He was active in the Dallas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, through which he received the distinction "Fellow of the A.G.O," and became a leader in the Dallas church music community. In 1966 he moved to a position as Minister of Music at Midway Hills Christian Church, where he served until 1978. After retirement he continued to play organ at several churches in Dallas, eventually returning to Midway Hills as an active member. In 2004 he travelled to Normandy with a group from that church to attend the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. At 94 he was the oldest returning American veteran at the celebration. In 2007 he was named Minister of Music Emeritus at Midway Hills. And for serving the Dallas A.G.O. in numerous capacities including Dean through a period of over 50 years, he was named the first Honorary Dean of the Chapter in 2010. Gene Ellsworth is survived by his daughter, Kathryn Johnson and son-in-law, Karrell Johnson; granddaughters, Brenda Johnson and Donna Bailey; grandson-in-law, Clayton Bailey; great-grandchildren, Andilyn and Zephyr Bailey; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews and their families. Visitation will be held at Restland Funeral Home, 13005 Greenville Ave, Dallas 75243, Friday, July 19, 6-8 PM. A memorial service rich with music will be held at Midway Hills Christian Church, 11OO1 Midway Rd, Dallas, Saturday July 20 at 2 PM, Rev. Arthur Stewart officiating. Former students and members of the Dallas Chapter A.G.O. are invited to sing in a choir which will perform an anthem by Dr. Ellsworth during the service. A rehearsal will be held at 1:00 preceding the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Midway Hills Christian Church, 11001 Midway, Dallas 75229, or Juliette Fowler Communities, 1234 Abrams, Dallas 75214. The family wishes to give heartfelt thanks to the staffs of Fowler Communities, Faith Hospice, and all of the caregivers who have served Gene faithfully throughout the last 7 years. One of Gene's last requests was to hear the 4th verse of "Blest Be the Tie that Binds": When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain; but we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.

logo


Funeral Home

Restland Funeral Home
13005 Greenville Avenue Dallas, TX 75243
(972) 238-7111

Published in Dallas Morning News on July 18, 2013
- ADVERTISEMENT -