Edwin French Ellis, MD died on February 23, 2023 in his hometown of Antlers, Oklahoma.
He was born March 12, 1942 in Long Beach, California to Laura Spence French Ellis and James Harley Ellis.
An Okie from Muskogee, class of 1960, a Rougher to be exact.
He was a member of the Rougher HS tennis team, Rougher Debate team, WINNER of a High School National Debate Competition in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Ellis was an OU Sooner for undergraduate studies and then attended OU College of Medicine. He did a two year pediatric residency at Parkland Hospital and Children's Hospital in Dallas, Texas. His general practice internship was in Wichita, Kansas at St. Joseph Hospital. He was Board Certified in pediatrics and a Fellow of the Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Ellis was also a former Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics for the OU Medical School where he gave lectures to medical students twice a month on Fridays over pediatrics and rural medicine for over a decade in the 70s and 80s.
In 1967 Dr. Ellis won the State Table Tennis Championships in Singles and Doubles. He later became certified as a Table Tennis coach and an Internationally Certified Table Tennis Umpire through the ITTF. Also notable are his intramural achievements of a 1st place trophy in OU intramural Table Tennis, and a 3rd place trophy in OU intramural Tennis.
In 1970, Dr. Ellis joined the United States Army and served his time at Fort Polk, Louisiana as a pediatrician. He earned the Medal for Expert Marksmanship and left the Army as a Major in the Medical Corp. During this time he met his partner, Dr. Herbert Rowland, who recruited him to join the medical clinic in Antlers.
Tournament level chess playing was another passion of Dr. Ellis'. He had an impressive 1200 rating.
For over 50 years, Dr. Ellis had been a Shriner. He was a 32nd degree Mason.
Dr. Ellis was also an avid pilot. He was a certified flight instructor, Instrument Flight Instructor and a Flight Instructors' Instructor. He had multiple ratings including sea plane rating, and had an air charter service here for a number of years. He was the first to build a hangar and provide duel service for the Antlers Municipal Airport and has spurred on numerous improvements to the airport over the past 5 decades. He had instructed approximately 20 student pilots as they worked toward various beginner and advanced ratings. As a flight physician, he also provided the service of flight physical exams. He provided ~200 physicals a year, for pilots of both private and professional levels, who would fly into the airport for their physical at his landmark Aviator's Relief home office. In 2017 the Antlers airfield name was officially changed to The Dr. Edwin F Ellis Airfield in his honor.
Dr. Ellis personally flew emergency medical flights escorting over 100 critically ill or injured children and adults in his aircraft from Antlers to OKC to get them to critical care hospitals before the rescue helicopters became a more routine option for rural communities.
Practicing medicine was the most passionate love in Dr. Ellis' life. He was the Medical Director and a practicing physician at the Pushmataha Family Medical Center, in Boswell, Oklahoma. He helped mothers with their delivery of over 2,000 babies. Most recently he received The Clinician of the Year Award by the Oklahoma Primary Care Association.
He was a piano player and loved all kinds of music but had a particular passion for Ragtime piano music.
August 1, 2022 was the 50th year anniversary of Dr. Ellis' coming to Antlers, Oklahoma to practice all his favorite things and raise his family.
Dr. Ellis is survived by his daughters, Jennifer Hillery Ellis, Hayden Ellis Parr and her husband Reagan Parr, his grandchildren, Florence Clare J.C. Parmer (Jen's); Riley Reagan Parr, Keaton Ellis Parr, and Julia Hayden Parr (Hayden's); and his first cousin, Frank Sieglitz of Bend, Oregon, who was more like a brother in his youth. He was preceded in death by his second wife of 33 years, Mary Margaret Ragsdale Ellis, and he will be dearly missed by her children Blayne Lacroix and Elizabeth McGehee and their families.
Recently Dr. Ellis told his 4th year medical student grandson Riley, "I've often heard that you can tell the sign of a good doctor by that their patients seem to love them." But then he added, "But I believe that you can't be a truly great doctor unless you truly love each of your patients right back. So go ahead and allow yourself to truly love them."
A family night visitation will take place on Friday, March 3, 2023 from 6-8PM at Serenity Funeral Service.
Funeral services for Dr. Ellis will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at 12PM at the St. James Episcopal Church in Antlers, Oklahoma with Mark Gardner officiating. Interment will follow at Hall Cemetery.
Services have been entrusted with Serenity Funeral Service of Antlers, Oklahoma.
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