Captain Robert Edward Ellis, USN, Retired, of Stonington, passed away peacefully on July 7, 2020 at Westerly Hospital. He was the devoted husband of Judith (Gritman).
Born in Providence, RI on May 10, 1937, he was the son of the late Claude B. Ellis and Mildred (Clay). He was a direct descendent of the Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins, and abolitionist Jonathan Walker, the subject of John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem, "The Branded Hand."
Ellis was raised in Marion, MA and graduated from Tabor Academy. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1955 and retired after 38 years of active duty. He served significant tours of duty in USS Hazelwood (DD-531): USS Barry (DD-933); USS Cascade (AD-16), and USS Orion (AS-18). He had shore tours at Bainbridge, MD; Keflavik, Iceland; Great Lakes, IL; Newport, RI and Boston, MA. He was Aide and Flag Secretary to Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two in Charleston, SC; Third Fleet in Pearl Harbor, HI, and Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Coronado, CA. He was the Force Personnel Officer in the Combat Construction Force (Seabees) in Vietnam. He was the Commanding Officer of the Personnel Support Activity Network in New England, New York, and Newfoundland from 1980-1985, and Commanding Officer, Personnel Support Activity, Atlantic in Norfolk, VA from 1987-1991.
Ellis’s decorations include two Legions of Merit, Bronze Star with Combat "V", for valor in Vietnam, and numerous other personal and unit rewards. He was a qualified Surface Warfare Officer and Fleet Officer of the Deck.
Following his retirement from the Navy, he worked part-time at the Mystic Aquarium and volunteered for several years at the Mystic Seaport. He and his wife enjoyed traveling, gardening, and boating. They spent several winters in Florida where they especially enjoyed spring training baseball games.
Affectionately known as "Captain Bob," he made many anonymous donations of his time and money. He delivered Meals On Wheels for many years in the local area, and also was a driver for the Cancer Society taking people to their treatments. He was an avid fan of the old Boston Braves and Boston Red Sox. He was an active member of the Knights of Columbus and a devout communicant of Saint Patrick’s Church, Mystic. His Catholic faith was the central part of his life. His gentleness, kindness, and sense of humor will be greatly missed.
In addition to his beloved wife Judy of 60 years, he is survived by his two sons, Michael and his wife Monika, of Blair, NE, Christopher and his wife Zekie of Stonington, CT, and three daughters, Janet of Chandler, AZ, Jacquelyn and her husband R. Cushing Taft of Valencia, CA, Roberta and her husband John Keenan of San Diego, CA, and 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. He was the brother of David Ellis of Marion, MA, and Claudia and her husband Kirby Falkenberg of South Bend, IN and Sarasota, FL.
A private funeral mass was held at Saint Patrick’s Church, Main St. Mystic where he was a faithful parishioner. Donations can be made to Saint Patrick’s Church, the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center or St. Edmund’s Retreat, Enders Island.