William (Bill) Barthell Ellis, 90, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, August 8, 2016. Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 13, 2016, at Cedar Hills Community Church officiated by Pastor Kent Landhuis, followed by interment at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery with military honors. Visitation will be held from 4:00 until 7:00 Friday evening at the Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church.
Bill was born in Edgewood, Texas, on January 7, 1926, to William Harrison and Tressie (Estes) Ellis. He was the second child in the family, and grew up with his sister, Francine, and brother, Joe, along with a large extended family of Ellis' in Edgewood and Wills Point, Texas. After graduating from Forest Avenue High School in Dallas, and like his father before him, Bill enlisted in the United States Military. He served honorably in the United States Air Force during both World War II and the Korean War, attaining the rank of sergeant.
After returning from the Korean War, Bill met a beautiful young woman from Dallas, Beverly Marie Smith, at the gift wrap counter where she worked at A. Harris & Company. Following a short courtship, they were united in marriage on March 6, 1954, at Forest Avenue Baptist Church in Dallas. From their union five children were born.
Bill's dream was to become an airline pilot, but due to minor vision issues, he was not able to enter flight training school. Not to be deterred, Bill decided the next best option was to help fly planes as a flight engineer. This decision would lead to joining Collins Radio Company in 1956, a small firm based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Three years into his career, Mr. Collins asked Bill if he would be interested in moving to Cedar Rapids to develop the Field Service Office. The young couple was initially reluctant to leave their families in Texas, but agreed to make the move and arrived in Cedar Rapids in the fall of 1959. There, they found a home for their growing family, and Bill had the opportunity to travel all over the world during his 35-year career with Collins and Rockwell International.
Above all else, Bill was a faithful man of God who greatly loved his family and friends. Yearly road trips to Dallas to visit the family became a summer tradition. As the family grew, Bill attended many football, basketball, track, and wrestling events to watch his boys compete. He attended monthly "Old Fogies" lunches with fellow Rockwell retirees and Friday night dinner outings with their close friends, John and Eddie McDonough. Together they shared many stories about the kids and relived good times. Bill volunteered at the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) for 24 years with over 5,000 hours of service. Up until recently, he helped many of his contemporaries navigate the complexities of the Medicare Program as they transitioned into retirement. He also was a member of the Rockwell Collins Retiree Volunteers (RCRV), a group that provided services to those in need.
Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of sixty-two years, Beverly; four sons: William Barthell Ellis, Jr. of Hiawatha; Robert Glynn Ellis (Maria) of Kansas City, Missouri; Donald Bruce Ellis (Marlee) of Hiawatha; and Benjamin Lynn Ellis of Cedar Rapids; seven grandchildren, Jillian, Ashley, Eric, John, Lily, Emily and Quinton; two great-grandchildren, Sabit and Ryen; and many nieces and nephews.
Those who passed before him were his parents; daughter Patricia Lee Ellis; sister Mildred Francine Manning, and brother Joe Earl Ellis.
The family would like to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff at St. Luke's Hospital for the tender loving care given to Bill. A special thank you to Dr. Naser Payvandi, M.D. for his 30 years of exceptional care.
Memorials in Bill's name may be made to St. Luke's Health Care Foundation.
Online condolences may be conveyed at www.cedarmemorial.com.
Bill will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and the thousands of lives he touched over the years.
Posted on Thursday, 11 August 2016