Alan F. Ellis spent his last days with a smile, surrounded by family, laughter, good food, and classical music. He lived each day to the fullest.
He was born in New Castle, PA on June 21, 1936. He was the son of the late G. Ross and Esther (Fell) Ellis of New Wilmington, PA. Alan was mechanically talented from a young age and worked summers with the local construction company, where he eventually became an apprentice finish carpenter. He made use of his technical skills during his undergraduate years at Westminster College, serving as Assistant to the Technical Director of the college theater.
His work backstage also introduced him to speech major, Elizabeth M. (McGill) Ellis, who became his wife of 64 years. After graduating, Alan continued his education at the University of Illinois, with a PhD in Chemistry, and later an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. He was a research chemist, working for Gulf and Chevron Chemical Companies.
Alan brought his talent for solving problems into every area of his life. Over the years he did extensive remodeling to every house he and his family called home, as well as helping with building and renovation projects at three different churches. His pride and joy were the many handmade cabinets he built for his own home and the homes of his children. Alan and his wife also continued to pursue their love of theater throughout their lives, getting involved in amateur theater groups, leading a drama ministry at their church, and assisting their daughter in directing and producing high school plays.
His technical talent showed up in the kitchen as well, where he spent many happy hours perfecting recipes (using spreadsheets, as any research chemist would). He and his wife delighted in sharing their love of good food, sharing their culinary skills by hosting family gatherings, church retreats, and visiting missionaries.
After retiring from Chevron, Alan moved to Barto, Pa. where he volunteered for the American Red Cross of the Lehigh Valley. In recognition of his many years of service in leadership positions, he received the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership.
Although he was a quiet man who preferred to work behind the scenes, he had a dry sense of humor, often surprising listeners with his one-line zingers and clever puns. He shared his father’s quirk of conducting while listening to classical music, a trait his passed on to his children. (In his last hours, his hand was still gently conducting as he listened to Bach and Handel.) Other lifelong hobbies included hiking, nature photography, exploring local food purveyors, and cheering his children and grandchildren from the sidelines. His life could be summed up by the text on one of his favorite T-shirts: Stay calm and Grandpa will fix it.
Surviving in addition to his wife are three daughters, Lisa Betz of Morgantown, PA, Jodi Ellis of Dillon, CO, and Megan Frazier of Kingwood, TX, a brother, George Ellis of Bloomington, IN, and two sisters, Mary Ann Bridenbaugh of Healdsburg, CA and Elizabeth Hines of New Wilmington, PA. There are four grandchildren.
A private graveside service will be held at the convenience of the family at the Salem Bible Church Cemetery in Macungie.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in the memory of Alan to the American Red Cross, PA Rivers Chapter, 3939 Broadway, Allentown, Pa. 18104
Arrangements by The Labs Funeral Home, Inc. of Honey Brook, Pa.
For additional information and online condolences, please visit www.thelabsfh.com