Raymond Ellis

Obituary
11 entries
  • "Condolences on your loss. The legacy of his beautiful work..."
    - ruth paulding
  • "Gone but never forgotten"
    - Ross Meurer
  • "My thoughts of the low country and its beauty will always..."
  • "Teddie, Am thinking about you, my dear. Ray was so..."
  • "Whenever Ray entered a room, the volume level would rise..."
    - Fran Tate
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Raymond George Ellis - EDGARTOWN, MA - Raymond George Ellis, 92, of Edgartown, Massachusetts, a nationally recognized artist whose paintings are in the permanent collections at The White House and in museums around the country, died at Martha's Vineyard Hospital on October 4, 2013, of complications from a stroke. Mr. Ellis and the late television journalist Walter Cronkite collaborated in the 1980s on a series of three books depicting America's coastlines in word and image: South by Southeast, North by Northeast, and Westwind. There are fifteen other books exclusively devoted to Ellis's paintings. His biography will be published in the spring of 2014. For three consecutive years beginning in 1998, Mr. Ellis was commissioned by President and Mrs. Clinton to paint scenes of the White House to be reproduced as their official holiday greeting card. In 2004, the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, created a major traveling exhibition of his paintings. He was awarded the Salmagundi Club's Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2004. Born in Philadelphia on April 24, 1921, Ray Ellis attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, and in 1947 at the age of 26, had his first one-man show at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was elected to the American Watercolor Society and in 1968, to the Salmagundi Club in New York, the oldest established professional art association in the country. Other New York memberships included The Century Association, the Artists' Fellowship, and The Lotos Club. In 1986, he founded Compass Prints and The Ray Ellis Gallery in Savannah, Georgia, which continues as his headquarters. After serving four years in the Coast Guard during World War II, he married Elizabeth Ketcham, who predeceased him in 1972. Ellis founded his own advertising agency with offices in New Jersey and New York. But from 1969 on, Ellis worked exclusively as an artist. During a brief second marriage, he moved from New Jersey to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and then to Savannah, Georgia. Mr. Ellis felt his life became truly charmed during the 1980s when he married Theodora (Teddie) Axtell. They lived in Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard, where he was an enthusiastic tennis player, golfer, and fisherman. He raised more than $1 million for the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust over two decades and for over 25 years, he donated paintings to the Telfair Ball, an annual museum fundraising event in Savannah. In an effort to support, young artists who aspire to duplicate his own path as a fulltime artist, Mr. Ellis, established the Ray Ellis Foundation, which provides funds for those wanting to pursue a career in the visual arts. Ray Ellis is survived by his wife Teddie, his four children, George, Andrew, Margaret, and Elizabeth and their spouses, nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. He leaves behind his sister Margaret Dando, brother Richard Ellis, and legions of friends around the world. Burial services were private. Friends are invited to a celebration of his life Sunday, November 3, 2 pm, at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Ray Ellis Foundation, P.O. Box 8456, Savannah, GA 31412, or Artists' Fellowship, Inc., 47 5th Avenue, New York, New York, 10003. Savannah Morning News October 8, 2013 Please sign our Obituary Guest Book at savannahnow.com/obituaries.


Published in Savannah Morning News on Oct. 8, 2013
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