For those who know the Lord, there is great comfort in the promise that God’s grace is always sufficient. Robert Ellis was one who held tightly to this truth as he found great peace and solitude in the arms of the Lord he became reacquainted with during the sunset of his life. Rob was blessed with an artistic gift and through his work, he brought such joy to those around him. With a spirit that was always thirsty for knowledge, Rob was a deep thinker who was very philosophical and liked to learn everything he could about things that were important to him. A devoted husband, loving father, and loyal friend, Rob’s memory will be forever held near and dear to the hearts of those who will miss him deeply.
The sixties were an unprecedented time in American history as issues such as civil rights and the war in Vietnam continued to divide us, yet things such as the drive to touch things beyond our reach brought us together. It was in 1961 that Alan Shepard, Jr. took a 302 mile trip in space while John F. Kennedy became the youngest president to take the oath of office. There was also great cause for celebration in the family of Timothy and Terry (Bicknell) Ellis as they welcomed the birth of their son, Robert Clark, on October 13th. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rob was the oldest of five children in his family including his brothers, Mark and Timmy, and his sisters, Lisa and Jill. The Ellis family was given a tough pill to swallow when Rob’s brother Timmmy died when Rob was about four. During his earliest years, Rob was raised in the family home around 97th Street and Howard Avenue on the southwest side of the city. There were countless memories made in that home that Rob always fondly remembered.
When he was a bit older, Rob’s family moved to their home on Fitzsimmons Avenue in Oak Creek. He attended Parkway Christian Academy, an extension of Parkway Apostolic Church where Rob and his family were members. Rob was 13 years old when he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and he spoke in tongues for the two days following this monumental event.
As a student, Rob did not enjoy the discipline of the classroom, but he did enjoy learning. He took a keen interest in music and learned to play every instrument available to him at both church and school. Playing the guitar became a fast favorite of Rob’s. He never had any music lessons, but was self taught, and he liked all types of music. Rob would plug in the guitar, turn up the amp, and rattle the windows!
Life would never be the same for Rob after he became acquainted with a fellow classmate who would forever alter the course of his life. Her name was Gail and they began dating while still students at Parkway Christian Academy. Not long after they graduated, Rob and Gail married. They were soon blessed with the birth of their daughter, Amanda, in October of 1983. As the unemployment rate hovered just below 10 percent, Rob was unable to find work and enlisted in the Army. He was sent overseas to Germany, and his wife and daughter followed him. The family remained there throughout his tour of duty and soon after returning stateside, their family was blessed with the birth of Erica in March of 1986. Although Rob’s marriage to Gail ended in divorce, he was forever grateful for the daughters they shared together.
A bit down the road, Rob met a woman named Peggy whom he married. Their daughter Robyn was born in January of 1990 and some time later, their marriage ended in divorce. It was Rob’s introduction to Erin Casey in the early nineties that would prove to be so significant. They began a relationship and their daughter, Laura, was born in April of 1992. Their love grew, and they made their love official by becoming husband and wife in 1997.
There were many things that kept Rob busy through the years. He worked for Specialty Underwriters, working his way up the ladder to become vice president of support services. Rob loved to learn and had an inquisitive mind. He was especially drawn to figuring out how things were made. Rob was a deep thinker who was very philosophical and also sentimental. It didn’t take much to touch Rob’s heart as he treasured things that would often seem insignificant to others – he cherished the small gifts that came from the heart. He had a passion for cars, motorcycles, and guns. Rob’s father even said, “Rob could get the most out of a car, and he had the tickets to prove it!” Later in life, his more artistic side began to emerge as he created beautiful pieces with chalk and colored pencils. Rob’s family members were always so grateful to receive them.
Life was not without struggles for Rob. Looking back, he always felt misunderstood. Maturity took a backseat to Rob’s desires, and he could be stubborn as things were usually on his terms only. Even though he was not present in his children’s lives at times, he always loved them dearly. Over time, Rob’s struggles resulted in his becoming disabled, and he was no longer able to work. In June of this year, he was diagnosed with cirrhosis. During the sunset of his life, however, Rob returned to the Lord and found such peace and solitude waiting for him at the foot of the cross. He made peace with those around him and was able to fully enjoy life and the beauty of God’s creation – seeing it through new eyes as if for the first time.
Life is a journey and often the way is rocky, but there is always beauty to be found. Robert Ellis found true peace and solitude in the Lord he embraced, and he found true joy in the family he dearly loved. A gifted artist, Rob touched others through his work, and he savored the kind gestures of others as well. He will be dearly missed by those who knew and loved him.
Robert Clark Ellis died on October 19, 2010. Rob’s family includes his wife, Erin; his children, Amanda Ellis, Erica King, Robyn Ellis, Laura Ellis and Jake Janicek; grandchildren. Myah Ellis, Layla Ellis, Emma Ellis, Isabella King, Vincent King, Arianna King, and Gaeliona Ellis; parents, Timothy and Terry Ellis; siblings, Mark Ellis, the late Timmy, Lisa (Jed) Voller and Jill (Nick) Neumiller; and other relatives and friends. Visit with Rob’s family and friends on Tues., Oct. 26th at Parkway Apostolic Church 10940 S. Nicholson Road Oak Creek, WI from 4:00 PM – 6:45 p.m. Memorial Service 7:00 p.m. Inurnment Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Union Grove, WI. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory or photo, sign the online guestbook, or make a memorial contribution to the family. Arrangements provided by Suminski Family Funeral Homes, Niemann / Suminski, 414-744-5156.