Milford Hindman Ellis, “Mel”


Milford Hindman Ellis,”Mel “ passed away on June 9, 2012, in Lacey, Washington. He was born December 21, 1916, in Los Angeles, California, to Vinnie and Alexander Ellis, the oldest of 5 children. He lived most of his life in Western Washington and Alaska. He began his independence working in the CCC youth Corp at age 16 followed by several years living in Nespelem while working construction on Grand Coulee Dam. While at Okanogan, he learned to love working with horses, breaking and training them.

He moved to Kodiak, Alaska when World War II broke out to work in the Seabees. During World War II he joined the Merchant Marines, traveling to Peru and India, and became a photography buff.

He returned to the Oakville, Wash. area, loading boxcars of lumber at local mills, then went to work with Weyerhauser as a camp watchman at Weikswood, where he became one of the first reforestation tree planters. Later he became an expert tree faller, working in the Raymond, Humptulips, and Morton areas. During this time he met and married Daisy Dills Harris, and became a stepdad to her children.

An injury in the woods led him to retrain for one of his dreams, to become a pilot. He graduated from the Clover Park Airframe and Power Plant program , and took a job with Alaska Airlines where he worked 15 years as a mechanic until he retired. During this time he was commended by the airlines for saving two pilots from a burning jet.

During his later years Mel greatly missed his wife, Daisy, who passed away in 1996. Mel later remarried Rosemarie Marchington Ellis, who died in 2008. He then moved to Morton, Wash. to live with Dixie (Max) Cain, the youngest of Daisy’s children. He left there to be in a retirement community during his last four years in Tumwater, Wash.

Mel is survived by siblings, Marian Ellis Marriott, and Martin Ellis: stepchildren; Ruby (Marvin) Janzen, Bill (Lillian) Harris, Bob (Ginetta) Harris, Judy (Earnest) Nolan, Wesley (Clara) Harris and Dixie (Max) Cain: nieces and nephews; Arlyn Harris, Holly (Richard) Breidenbach, Howard (Vicki) Horton, Barbara Horton and Nancy Horton, Carolyn (Bob) Jones, Bette Radtke, Irvin Marriott, Raymond Marriott, Norman Ellis, Sharon Ellis Rice, Elaine (Bill) DuBose, Robert Ellis, Scott (Theresa) Martin, Brent (Shirley) Martin and Kandice Martin. He set some great examples of determination and skill at living life well for his many grandchildren and great-nieces and -nephews.

Mel was preceded in death by a stepson, Jack Harris.