May 22, 2019 — Charles (Chuck, Bud) Ellis, 95, of Florence, died May 15, 2019.
Chuck was a WWII veteran who was inducted into the U.S. Army on June 7, 1943, at Camp Dodge, Iowa, near his home town of Des Moines, Iowa. After three months of basic police training at Fort Custer in Michigan, he served one year as an MP (Military Police) at Camp Stoneman and Camp McQuaide, in California. He was then sent to Camps Bowie, Swift & Bliss in Texas to train as a Combat Engineer with the Third Army to be commanded by Gen. George S. Patton.
Chuck became a Demolition Specialist, which involved finding and disabling booby traps, land mines, setting and detonating explosives and other dangers. He helped assemble Baily Bridges over rivers, working in the open, often dodging bullets from German air attacks.
The Bailey Bridge was a key element, allowing troops to advance quickly through France and Germany, where he also assisted in the liberation of concentration camps.
His two Bronze Stars were awarded for the Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns. Like the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star belonged to those who slogged it out on the front lines.
The Combat Engineers were the first to go into enemy territory and were the last out. We all owe them a great deal of gratitude, for if the war had turned out differently, many of us would not have been born and others would have had a vastly different and possibly much shorter life.
Chuck was honorably discharged Feb. 7, 1946, and joined his mom and two sisters who had moved to Southern California.
He married Ann Krohn in 1949 (She died in 2008). He drove an ice cream truck to support his growing family of four adopted sons. He went to college at night on the rather new GI Bill and earned a degree in business administration from USC, and started work at Hoffman Electronics.
Their claim to fame was the development of the solar cells that powered the first solar-powered satellite, the Vanguard 1, launched in 1958. Chuck worked for them as a supervisor and then for Ford Aerospace, in the Aeronutronic division, based in Newport Beach, Calif.
When he retired, they moved to Florence. He and Ann were active in the community, and Chuck especially enjoyed singing with the Presbyterian Church Choir and participating in the Kiwanis Club.
He is survived by his four sons, a daughter-in-law, two grandsons and their wives.
His nephews, Eric, and Blair Krohn and family, who live here in Oregon, were a great source of joy to him with their regular ball game visits, boating and water skiing, when Chuck could watch from his deck.
He is also survived by his second wife since 2011, Lauri, along with stepdaughter Angie Terrell, four stepsons and their families. He also has numerous other relatives scattered about.
Thanks to our doctors; Dr. Randy Boespflug for help with driving issues, Dr. Weinstein for help with cranky knees, and Dr. Kerner for coming to the house at the end. Also, much gratitude goes to our superhero, Dr. Glen Keiper in Eugene, who did back surgeries for both Angie and Mom, making it possible to care for Chuck at home during his slow decline due to dementia, a debilitating stroke in 2014, and congestive heart failure.
And thanks to Mr. Burns and his daughter, for taking Chuck on his last ride.
Chuck did not want a funeral service but did want us to express his gratitude to all his friends and family that made his life a long and happy one — so, thanks to you all.
Burns’s Riverside Chapel Florence Funeral Home.