William Edward Ellis

William Edward Ellis passed away on January 15, 2023.

William Edward Ellis passed away on January 15, 2023 in his beloved home in Cottage Grove.  Born to William and Alma Ellis, he grew up alongside his four siblings in Oklahoma.  Directly following his high school graduation, Bill served in the Army Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force) for two years.  He attended Central State College (now the University of Central Oklahoma) and graduated in 1954.  While there, Bill met and married Maureen, the love of his life. 

Bill spent most of his professional career working for the aerospace industry as an aeronautical engineer, where he designed rocket boosters for the space and defense programs.

Bill learned to fly at the age of fifteen and maintained a lifelong passion for aviation.   He and Maureen had their own plane for decades and used it for work, travel, and fun and memorable day excursions as well. Additionally, Bill was a lover of pets (of which he had many, his whole life long), a world traveler, an admirer of music and movies, a lifelong reader, and he loved spending time with his family and friends.  He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh with those around him.  He was kind, caring, and gentle, and he showed compassion for people and pets in need throughout his life. 

Bill and Maureen lived many places during their marriage, including Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and California (where they spent the largest part of their married life).  They moved to Cottage Grove, Oregon when they retired and bought a home that would feel like their “little piece of heaven” for the rest of their lives.  While in Cottage Grove they made many friends and began to pursue another huge passion of theirs – genealogy.  Bill and Maureen were members and valued volunteers of the Cottage Grove Genealogical Society and they belonged to the Cottage Grove Historical Society as well.

Bill is survived by his son, Christopher, his daughter, Valarie, and three grandchildren – Charissa, Justin, and Juliana.  Additionally, Bill has a grandson-in-law, Patrick, and four great-grandchildren - Renae, Natalie, Nicholas, and Lily.  He touched the lives of those he was close to deeply and was a special part of every gathering that included him.  He will be dearly missed.