John Edward Ellis
John Edward Ellis passed away at his home in North Pole Alaska on the 8th of August, he was 71.
Born and raised in Santa Barbara California, John attended Santa Barbara High where he played varsity football. After graduating in 1968, John received his wastewater and water treatment operator certifications and went to work for the City of Santa Barbara.
After a brief marriage in the early 1970s, John packed-up his pickup and headed to Alaska hoping to find work on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Instead, John found himself in the small town of North Pole where, as luck would have it, they needed someone to run their Water and Sewer Departments.
John served as the Utility Supervisor in North Pole until 1977 when he went to work at the new Earth Resources Company (later MAPCO) refinery. John stayed at MAPCO until 1992 before taking a job at Petro Star in Valdez where he stayed until he left the industry in 2003.
Even while working in Valdez, John maintained a connection to North Pole, spending long hours commuting the 360 miles between his two homes.
John embraced Alaskan life and the opportunities it offered. He was happiest on his own, or with a few close friends, taking hunting and fishing trips into the wilderness, navigating streams and rivers in his home-built boat. A large and bearded man, John would sit on the stern, denim shirt unbuttoned no matter the weather, one hand on the outboard and the other holding a cigarette: he was the image everyone in the Lower 48 pictures when they think, “Alaskan”.
Like his father, John was adept at fixing everything from broken engines to leaking roofs. For many years he made and sold jewellery and was an avid SCUBA diver. His one unfulfilled dream was opening a diving resort somewhere in South America. Although even he admitted that it would probably be far too hot for him down there.
John was well known for telling long stories while holding a bottomless cup of coffee. He had an open heart and often helped his friends and strangers alike. He was a very giving and generous man.
John was exceptionally well read and knowledgeable on many subjects, particularly physics. In his later years, he found increasing comfort in his religious beliefs.
John is survived by his stepmother Audrey, stepbrother Mark Lewis and his four-legged companion Slippers. A memorial will be announced at a later date