Mike Ellis

Mike Ellis

Mike Ellis passed away peacefully at noon on July 30th, 2022, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.  Mike was a well loved man, who was surrounded by family and friends in the days before his passing.  

Mike had many chapters in his life, and made many lasting relationships during those times.  He was born in Portland, Oregon to Ray and Arlean Ellis and grew up in Ridgefield, Washington.  He received the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy scouts. He graduated with Honors from WSU.  After college, he joined the Peace Corps and spent two years living in a village in rural Nepal.  Nepal was a defining chapter for Mike, and the experiences he had there were instrumental in how he defined the remainder of his life. While in Nepal, he hiked around Annapurna and to the base of Mount Everest from his village.  He supported his young cook Sita Ram through school in Kathmandu.

Upon his return, Mike was the YMCA director for four YMCA’s, including Pullman, Berkeley, Olympia, and finally Tillamook, Oregon.

He was married twice.  He was married to Kathy, his first wife for thirty years. After their wedding, they lived abroad in Sri Lanka for two years as part of the YMCA International program. Mike and Kathy had three children, Matthew, Luke and Mark.  Mike settled down in Tillamook Oregon, raising his family hiking, skiing, camping, and singing songs around the campfire.  He was the president of the School Board, lead the worship service at church, acted in three local musicals, cooked authentic Nepali and Sri Lankan food for friends and family, and attended countless sporting events for his young sons.

In the next chapter of Mike’s life, he became a traveling consultant for the YMCA.  He met and married Ellie, his second wife.  They were married for ten years.  They moved to Clackamas, Oregon and raised two children, Nasha and Talitha.  In 2013, Mike was in a major bicycling accident where he suffered a spinal cord injury; a condition that would plague him for the rest of his life.  Despite the accident, Mike continued to love the outdoors and share that enthusiasm with Ellie and the girls.  He continued to sing his campfire songs, rode thousands of miles on a specially adapted trike, and helped raise two kids and three energetic grandchildren.

In his final chapter, Mike moved up to Issaquah, Washington, to be near Matt and his young family.  It’s there that he met Mahasti Rolax, who loved and supported him through the end of his life.

Mike has touched the hearts of many people.  His legacy will be passed down through the children and grandchildren that share his faith, love for the outdoors, sense of adventure, and kindness and generosity towards others.  He cooked the best chicken curry, loved to sing and play the concertina around a campfire, rode countless miles on his bike and trike, and had the best lap for reading bedtime stories. He was a pillar in the community, through various rolls with the YMCA, school board, and Kiwanis club.

Mike is survived by: his brother David (Mirja) Ellis; children: Matthew (Kelsey) Ellis, Mark Ellis, Luke Ellis (posthumously), Nasha (Jeremy) Clark, Talitha Van Dijken; grandchildren: Troy Van Dijken, Baylee & Zeplynn Clark, and Reid Ellis

The Nepalese had two sayings that Mike took to heart; ke garne- what can one do and aphno kusi- your own happiness.  Life happens. What can one do? But whatever happens, we are responsible for our own happiness. It’s what we do with this gift of life that counts.

Mike’s memorial service will be held at 2 p.m .on Friday, August 12th, at Faith Church, 3924 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road SE, Sammamish, WA 98029.

Mike spent the entirety of his adult life working for and supporting the YMCA.  The YMCA is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening communities, families, and youth development.  If you would like to make a donation in his honor, follow this link: https://www.ymca.org/donate

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