Richard John “Dick” Ellis, 80, of Lewisburg passed away Monday, March 23, 2020 at Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village.
He was born on April 11, 1939 in New Castle, Indiana, the son of the late Francis and Enid Ellis.
At age 8 his family moved to Altadena, CA, mainly to remove him from the allergens in Indiana that caused him great discomfort. He was always an excellent student and loved playing baseball, riding his bike, and earning money by mowing lawns. He graduated from John Muir High School, attended Pasadena Community College and then received his bachelor’s degree from University of California Santa Barbara. After a year of post-grad studies at Washington State University, he transferred to University of California Berkeley and graduated with a Ph.D. in Biology in 1967.
His first academic appointment was at City College of New York, but Dick decided an urban campus was not what he preferred, so in the spring of 1968 he accepted a faculty position in Biology at Bucknell University. It was a perfect match for him – living in a town with great community feeling, teaching undergraduate students and having university and grant support for research in the mechanisms of plant phototropism – why and how plants move toward light. Dick and faculty from two other departments began the Environmental Studies Program in 1978. He retired from Bucknell as Professor of Biology in 2005.
Dick has volunteered with Bucknell’s athletic department helping run the scoreboard for several athletic teams and has been a member of the Bucknell Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.
While at Bucknell he joined an informal racquetball lunchtime group and loved the competition, friendship, and fun of this group. It was a very special to him.
For 25 years Dick has served as a volunteer for the Eastern Union County Supplemental Food Program (the “Food Bank”) in Lewisburg and was instrumental in organizing additional volunteers. He and wife, Judy, are members of First Baptist Church, Lewisburg.
Dick was a voracious reader all of his life – his interests ranging from ancient Greek classics through the literary canon to contemporary mystery to baseball analysis, especially Bill James.
He is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Judy Ellis; his daughters, Annette Ellis, of Durham NC and Tamara Ellis, of Sunbury; his step-daughters, Rebecca Compton, husband Jeremy and their son, Noah, of Philadelphia and Gwendolyn Compton-Engle, husband Tron and their daughter, Mia, of Cleveland, OH.
A Celebration of Life service will be announced at a later date.
Burial will be held privately at the convenience of the family in the Lewisburg Cemetery Columbarium.
Please consider donations to Dick’s favorite charity: Alice Lloyd College, providing education and leadership for Appalachia (100 Purpose Road Pippa Passes, KY 41844), or to a charity that is special to you.
The family is being assisted by Cronrath-Grenoble Funeral Home, South Second and St. Louis
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