Walter Thomas Ellis
1921 ~ 2014
Walter Thomas Ellis, age 93 years and 8 days, was born on February 6, 1921 and passed away on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2014. Mom was definitely first in line waiting at the end of the tunnel bathed in light.
He is the son of Fred and Florance (McKelvey) Ellis. He was born and raised in Pittsburg, Kansas. After the death of his mother in 1925, he was raised by his paternal grandmother, Dora Ellis. Since this was during the Depression his father traveled wherever he could find a job to support Walt and Grandma Dora. Walt went to "3-C Camp" and trained as a cook and baker in Farlington and the Camp eventually moved to Concordia Kansas in 1939.
Walt met the love of his life, Arlene Josephine Metro, in Concordia and married her at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church on December 29, 1941. He was baptized as a Catholic on December 7, 1941, walked out of the Church and found we were at war.
Walter was drafted and went into the Army Air Corps in August, 1942. Over his 20+ years in the military he was stationed in Texas, California, Florida, Missouri, Maine, Idaho, Alaska, England and Keflavik, Iceland. Arlene returned to California to stay with her folks.
In 1944 Walter took Arlene and his oldest daughter to Kansas to wait until his discharge from the Army Air Corps in October 1945. Walt and Arlene have three children: Tonie (Sister Arlene Ellis), Ronald and Pamala. They lived in Pittsburg and added Ronnie and Pam to the family. The family moved to California in 1948 and Walter returned to the Air Force. He then moved to Fairbanks, Alaska for 3 years and the family eventually moved there, too. Then on to Montgomery, Alabama and to training in Palm Beach, Florida.
In 1953 he was stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside, CA. bought a home in Fontana, CA, where the kids attended Catholic School there. In 1957 he received orders to Mountain Home Air Force Base in Mountain Home, ID and the family lived in Boise, attended Catholic Schools and became active parishioners at Sacred Heart.
After 20+ years in the Air Force Walter retired as a Master/Sgt on February 1, 1965 and remained in Boise. Walt returned to work by accepting a position at the Ada County Marshall's office as a bailiff from 1967 to1983. He and Mom enjoyed retirement and spent much of their time traveling: England (to research our ancestry), Hawaii, Alaska. They were also the family binding force by visiting relatives throughout the country.
Walter and Arlene were Eucharistic Ministers to the Sick at Life Care Center for over 20 years. He belonged to the Knights of Columbus and the VFW Post 63.
He is survived by his two daughters: Pamala and Tonie (AKA Sister M. Arlene Ellis) both of Boise; his sister Darlene (Sherrill) Schneider and their 3 children Sharon, Brian and Julie, four grandchildren: Julie and Jyni of Boise, Sean and Lisa Ellis of Oregon, 8 great-grandchildren: Marcus(VA), Pam(UT), Kyle (ID), Paul (TX), Bryce, Brandon, Brianna and Blake all from Oregon, 5 great-great-grandchildren: Ashton, Izzy, Liam, Kambri and Sophia, two sisters-in-law and numerous nieces and nephews.
Walter was preceded in death by his wife Arlene in 2009 and his son Ronald in 1982 at age 37, his parents and younger brother.
Walter was a loving, caring husband, father, brother, grand, great, and great great-grandfather, uncle and friend.
There are so many to thank: It really took a village for Dad to continue to enjoy a quality of life and dignity into his nineties. To Dr. James Branahl and the Silver Team at the VA- for many years of care and compassion. To the Elks Hearing Center for finding a hearing aid for the profoundly deaf that brought better communication for all of us. To the Horizon Home Health and Hospice Staff for journeying with us through his last weeks, and for going above and beyond. To Friends in Action for respite care to Vets and their families. To Pam, Ellis and Carol.
A Memorial Mass will be held Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 10:00 am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church so that family from out of state will be able to attend.
Memorial donations can be made to the VA for the transportation vans assisting Vets to the doctor or to Friends in Action.
Condolences and memories may be shared on Walter's memorial webpage at www.cloverdalefuneralhome.com
Cloverdale Funeral Home
1200 North Cloverdale Road Boise, ID 83713
Published in Idaho Statesman on Feb. 19, 2014