Friday November 24, 2017, George Jeremiah Ellis, 79, of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family.
Jerry was born in Dallas, Texas on October 12, 1938 and graduated from Tyler High School. He then attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 1960. After attending graduate school at the University of Texas he was commissioned at the Naval Officers Candidate School in 1962.
After graduating from OCS, he served on a number of ships, including USS O’Bannon, USS Robert K. Huntington, USS Luce, USS Richard E. Kraus, USS Bordelon, USS Josephus Daniels, and USS Ainsworth, as commanding officer. He served in Vietnam as commanding officer of River Divisions 573 and 532. He had numerous shore assignments worldwide, including serving in Bremerhaven, Germany and as co-chairman of the ASW Training Continuum Working Group. He also served as Commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae with responsibilities for logistics support of ships and personnel visiting the Republic of Korea. His final posting was as commanding officer, Naval Sea Logistics Center in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
Captain Ellis was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”; the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars; the Navy Commendation Medal; the Army Commendation Medal; the Navy Achievement Medal; the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry; the Republic of Vietnam Staff Service Medal First Class; and various service awards.
After retiring from the navy in 1991, Jerry used his ample free time to indulge his love of history. He returned to school at Shippensburg University, where he earned his Master’s in History. This led him to finally figuring out what he wanted to be when he grew up. He found his dream job working at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg. He barely restrained himself from telling them in the interview that he would work for free. He retired from the archives in 2015.
Jerry once commented that when he retired he wanted to have more books than the town library. As Boiling Springs has no library - mission accomplished! He used all the local libraries voraciously, though; reading four or five books each week. He always had two books going at once.
Over the years, Jerry volunteered his time with many organizations in the community including religious education, adult literacy programs, and at the Army Heritage and Education Center. He was also an active member in his parish at Mary, Queen of Peace at Carlisle Barracks. A keen genealogist, Jerry was a board member of the York Genealogy Club. While stationed in Korea, he took up golf, which he continued to play for the rest of his life.
As one might expect from a Texas boy, Jerry was an avid football fan. Friday nights would find him cheering on the Boiling Springs Bubblers, while Saturdays were for college football, especially the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
He and his wife Susan loved to travel. This past summer, they drove over 9000 miles to Oregon and back, bringing their state tally up to 49. Their international travel was extensive as well. It would be easier to list the countries they haven’t visited.
The most important thing in Jerry’s life was his family. He loved to hear and share the latest stories about his grandchildren. A common sentiment among those who knew Jerry was that he was one of their favorite people. He had a genuine interest in others, and always wanted to know what they were up to.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Susan (Haines) Ellis and his five children Michael (wife Angela), Karen Greene (husband Albert), Anne, Rebecca, and Andrew. He has four grandchildren, Quinn and Mary Katherine Ellis, and Ian and Sarah Greene. He is also survived by three siblings, Patsy Cappadonna of West Lake Village, California; Diane Vella of Mobile, Alabama; and Rex Ellis of Tyler, Texas. He was the favorite uncle of many nieces and nephews and a second father to exchange students Matthias from Germany and Kati from Finland.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Cumberland County Library System.