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FRANK ERNEST ELLIS (published on February 23, 2011)

FRANK ERNEST ELLIS April 3, 1915- February 16, 2011 Frank Ernest Ernie Ellis was a man who loved his family, his friends, and his country. He married Alyce Medd in 1946. She was the love of his life. He took tremendous pride and joy in all his children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He will always be loved by his wife, Alyce, his children, Margaret Ellis, Brenda Boyd (Dean), Kathryn Cook (Dean), Jennifer Ellis-Bertram (Peter), Warren Ellis (Karen), and his grandchildren, Sean, Brendan, and Patrick Boyd, Adam and Jordan Cook, Sydney and Kaitlin Bertram, Simon, Andrea and Megan Ellis, and great-grandchild, James Cook. He was predeceased by his parents, seven brothers and sisters, and one infant son, Percy John Ernest Ellis. Ernie enjoyed life. His irrepressible sense of humour, genuine love of people, sharp wit, and his joie de vivre permeated every activity in which he participated. His interest in people of all ages and from all walks of life made him many friends with whom he shared tours, parties, pit barbecues, meetings, conventions, and many community events. He farmed just north of Wawanesa all his life, and established a seed cleaning and fertilizer business entitled Ellis Farm Supplies, on the south side of Wawanesa. His commitment to land conservation and his love of nature led him to serve on the boards of many farming organizations (the Wawanesa Crop Improvement Club, the Wawanesa Cooperative Elevator Association, the Wawanesa Consumers Co-op Association). He wrote a column called The Rural Scene in the local paper, the Wawanesa Optimist, as well as a column called On the Manitoba Range for The Canadian Cattleman. A strong belief that agriculture flourished under the conditions of competition and freedom led Ernie, along with other like-minded farmers to establish the Manitoba Stock Growers' Association, now called the Manitoba Beef Growers' Association. Ernie worked to promote excellence in farming and the production of good seed. He served on the board of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, where he annually presented a trophy to the winner of the Manitoba Flax Championship. He was a member of the Canadian Seed Growers' Association for over 20 years and produced pedigreed seed on his farm. He was committed to active participation in democracy. He was president of the Brandon-Souris Liberal Association, president of the Souris-Killarney Association, and ran as the Liberal candidate for the position of MLA for the Souris-Lansdowne Constituency. He also served on the Oakland Council for 11 years. His love of Canada was always the bedrock of his convictions. Ernie's community work started at the age of 13, when he helped build the rink at the corner of Park and Fourth Streets in Wawanesa. Fifty-three years later, at the age of 60 he was elected chairman of the first Board of Directors of the newly opened Wawanesa and District Recreation Centre. His fundraising for this new rink included skating around the rink with a 100 pound bag of grain on his shoulders. In 1989 when Wawanesa celebrated its Centennial, Ernie and Alyce spent countless hours researching and writing the history of the Village of Wawanesa for Sipiweski, Light through the Trees, the book published for this occasion. This book continues to be a major resource of information about the community. Ernie had a major interest in the standard of health care in Wawanesa and rural areas. He was a trustee of the governing board of the Wawanesa and District Hospital for 20 years, serving as chairman for the last 12 years. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Manitoba Health Organization. In these capacities he wrote briefs and made presentations advocating for the additional facilities needed for those who required long term personal care. His greatest concern was the need for effective representation of the rural area so that suitable health programs would be developed for its needs. Classical music was a constant source of enjoyment and solace for Ernie. He played the trombone in the award-winning Wawanesa Band from the age of 13 until it disbanded during the war years. He continued listening to music for the rest of his life. His collection of CDs numbered in the hundreds. Ernie had a creed by which he lived: This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. (Hamlet) The family would like to express their sincere thank you for the loving care that Ernie received at the Wawanesa Personal Care Home. They deeply appreciate the personal quality and the high standard of health professionalism that the staff provided. A tribute in Ernie's memory will be held at a later date. Donations in Ernie's memory may be made to The Wawanesa Foundation, c/o Audrey Wilton, Box 178, Wawanesa, MB R0K 2G0.

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