Robert Eugene Ellis, 88, of Prescott Valley, AZ, passed peacefully from this life on September 6th, 2019. Born august 27th, 1931 at Webber's Falls, Oklahoma, he was the first son of Robert A. Ellis and wife Melva. As a child of the Great Depression, circumstances dictated that his family, by now including infant brother Jimmy, found it necessary to move to California when young Bob was five. this "Grapes of Wrath" experience shaped his life during all the years that followed. Self reliant and strong willed, Bob decided to strike out on his own, joining the United States Air Force at age 16.
Bob adapted to military life seamlessly. The structure and discipline, as well as the code of honor, principles, and sense of duty, which are integral to serving in the armed forces were natural aspects of his own character. The added bonus was the opportunity to see new places, meet interesting people, and learn new skills. Even as a small boy, Bob explored as much as possible of his current surroundings. From tricycles, to bicycles, to borrowed scooters, and finally automobiles, every new place he went was thoroughly investigated, limited only by the range of his mode of transportation.
At age 18 while Bob was stationed in Lubbock, Texas, he fell in love at first sight with a beautiful young brunette, who coincidentally loved him at first sight too. Though they would spend little time together before he would be transferred to Korea during the war, then stationed in Michigan upon his return to the States, Bob returned to Texas two years after their first meeting to ask for his true love's hand in marriage. Despite never having a date, they eloped on December 13th, 1952. Bob and his new bride, Barbara Burroughs Ellis, then drove to Michigan to begin their life together. Their marriage endured for 66 years, eight months, and 25 days.
Bob and Barbara lived in, Michigan, West Virginia, Texas, Florida, Germany, Colorado, and New Mexico during his time in the Air Force. They became parents to three daughters during those years. Michigan, Texas, and Germany were their respective birthplaces. Bob retired from the Air Force in 1968 at Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The next phase of their lives would involve a move to El Paso, Texas, where Bob found a new career as an insurance adjuster for MIC, a division of GMAC. Transferred to Amarillo, Texas in 1973, Bob continued to work for MIC until 1977. In 1975 Bob and Barbara's son was born. After leaving MIC, Bob worked in the Auto and RV sales industry for a short period. In 1978 Bob returned to the Insurance industry as an adjuster, and estimator for State Farm.
Bob moved his family to Richardson, Texas at that time. Bob retired from State Farm in 1996. Bob and Barbara enjoyed the early years of his retirement traveling to Hawaii, and other destinations to visit family and friends. With two children living in Arizona, they visited the state often. When they went to Prescott in 2005, they so enjoyed the area they decided to move to Prescott Valley in November of that year. Continuing his lifelong pattern by exploring Prescott and the surrounding area always with Barbara at his side, they soon exhausted all destinations within a few hours drive. Bob then acquired a series of increasingly more powerful scooters, culminating in the acquisition of a Can-AM. This only after his most powerful scooter fell on his leg trapping him for a period of time. the Can-Am seemed to him a safer option as he was in his 80's by this time! He and Barbara were often seen riding around in their matching helmets, stopping at restaurants and other venues where he would carefully assist her with securing her helmet and getting on and off of it. Though this caused consternation among their family members, friends, even strangers, everyone knew Bob would never give it up until he was ready. Over the years he had owned many motorcycles, and he never lost his love for the road. Though cycles caught his interest intermittently, he had a true passion for automobiles. His three girls were "treated" to endless weekend forays to every type of car dealership to personally look at every new model that debuted annually. "Santa" even delivered three little girls a state of the art model racetrack with electric vehicles one Christmas in the sixties. As Bob's health declined precipitously in the past year, he made the decision to give up independent living gradually. When he made up his mind to move to an assisted living community at the end of July, he wanted to do so quickly. He and Barbara moved to the Phoenix area on August 24th. They arrived with one small dog and two cars. Bob celebrated his 88th birthday on August 27th, inviting the residents he had known for three days to have a piece of his cake. He never met a stranger and always enjoyed telling new audiences his repertoire of stories. He had confided to a friend weeks before the move that he was concerned he might not be here much longer and wanted to be sure his beloved wife Barbara would be in a good environment close to their family. On September 5th Bob was in good spirits. That evening he was taken to the hospital after experiencing a sudden headache. Consciousness was slipping away before he arrived at the ER. Though he was unresponsive, Barbara held his hand for hours prior to his passing.
Bob was baptized as a youth in California. A member of the Church of Christ from that point on, he and his family attended congregations in all of the places they lived. A true believer, Bob always knew he and his fellow believers would be together again in the next life. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, brother Jim, and beloved daughter Jeannie. His survivors include his cherished wife Barbara; daughters Donna Wyatt (Jim) and Susan Ellis of Scottsdale; son Robert of Portland, OR; brothers Ken Estes (Laura) of Susanville, CA and Delbert Ellis of San Luis Obispo, CA; sister Jeannie Estes; aunt Aleene Wisman (John) of Atlanta, GA; nephews Steven, Tim and Mark Ellis; many wonderful cousins; and all of the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of all the aforementioned.
The family would like to add special thanks to Mrs. Joyce Moore of Prescott Valley for her continuous helping hand, and the staff and residents of Morning Star of Fountain Hills for making Bob and Barbara feel welcomed and supported in such a short time.
Funeral Services will be 2:00 p.m. Sunday, September 15th at Messinger Indian School Mortuary, 7601 E. Indian School Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Interment will be 10:30 a.m. Monday, September 16th at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N. Cave Creek Rd., Phoenix, AZ
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