Donald K. “Slick” Ellersick, former star athlete at Newport High School and Washington State, was killed early Thursday in a single-car accident on Highway 2.
Ellersick, 58, was driving from his Diamond Lake home to Medical Lake on business and lost control of his pickup at 5:15 a.m.
Ellersick was mostly a halfback and defensive back on the Washington State College football team during the 1957, ‘58 and ‘59 seasons - the Cougars’ last three successive winning seasons - and was drafted in 1960 by the New York Titans and Los Angeles Rams.
He chose the Rams, and spent three seasons in the NFL. Ellersick’s stay in Los Angeles was brief, as he was soon selected by the Minnesota Vikings in that year’s expansion draft. He was waived by the Vikings after suffering a broken hand, but signed with Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in 1962. Ellersick was waived later that year.
His pro highlight may have come unwittingly during a 1961 exhibition at Sioux Falls, S.D., when Ellersick caught the first professional touchdown pass of a 21-year-old rookie named Francis Asbury Tarkenton.
Ellersick graduated from Washington State in 1960 with a degree in engineering, and later earned a master’s degree. He was an environmental consultant for many years, mostly as a partner at Pacific Environmental Consulting (PEC) in Spokane.
Recently, Ellersick and longtime friend Thomas G. Haggarty founded E & H Engineering.
Ellersick is survived by his wife of nearly 36 years, Sandy, sons Steve and Jeff, and four grandchildren. Jeff Ellersick is boys basketball coach at Newport High School; Steve works as an electrical engineer for Boeing.
Funeral services are pending and an autopsy is planned, Sandy Ellersick said.