A memorial service will be held for John on Thursday, April 17th, at The Courtyard in Colfax, 300 S. Main, at 2:00 p.m. His burial will take place at the Colfax Cemetery, with military rights, prior to the memorial service.
John migrated from Wyoming to Iowa, then to Chicago, Illinois where he graduated from Kelvin High in 1940.
His father, who had an idea that war was pending, sent John to Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri.
There he became interested in flying, and soon earned his private pilot’s license.
In the spring of 1942, when indeed America was at war, he signed up with the Army Air Corps and after basic training, spent nine months in Cadet School.
John was married to Lorna Hinz from Anamosa, Iowa on December 19, 1942 in Kahoka, Missouri, graduating from Kemper in December of 1943.
Based out of Rougham Air Field England, 21 year old Lt. John Ellis was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “extraordinary achievement”, along with five other medals, while completing his thirty-five missions as a B-17 pilot during WWII.
Proudly, his North Sea story has found its way into the Air Force National Archives and is a centerpiece of a museum in East Anglia, England.
In 1944, he returned on a ship to rejoin his wife and daughter in Anamosa, Iowa.
The family moved to Colfax in 1952, where John owned and operated a concrete plant for twenty years and raised one daughter, and two sons.
During this span of time, John served on the Colfax City Council, and was appointed the position of City Police Commissioner.
Following the sale of his business, he worked at several different jobs, including a men’s clothing store on Main Street, Zimmer Motors in Moscow, ID, and then his final retirement in 1989, from the Washington State Highway Dept.
John took advantage of this newfound freedom to more fully enjoy some of his favorite activities such as fishing, golfing, fishing, horseback riding, fishing, and traveling with Lorna.
He also spent much quality time with family and friends.
His hard-working ethic and honesty, his genuineness, and hi unforgettable sense of humor, will continue to live in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.
John was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Margaret Keller, and his wife, Lorna.
He is survived by his daughter, Lynne Stewart of Colfax, WA., his two sons, Larry Ellis of Colfax, and Jack Ellis of Mead, WA., and their families.
The family suggests memorial gifts be made to Friends of Hospice, Box 484, Pullman, WA.
On-line guest book is at www.bruningfuneralhome.com BRUNING FUNERAL HOME, Colfax, is caring for the family.