John was born in Kalispell, April 21, 1948, to Royal and Barbara (Vukonich) Ellis. He attended Fortine Grade School, Eureka High School, and art school in California with a minor in ancient history. He then joined the service. The death of his father brought him back to Grave Creek.
John put the “you” in unique. Avid reader, constant photographer, John lived a minimalist lifestyle without electricity, running water, refrigeration, or an automobile. However, he could make it to town and back for groceries, dog food, cigarettes and whiskey more quickly than most car owners! He also had a cell phone and knew the local and world news and politics quickly and not without producing an opinion concerning both just as quickly!
Sensitive, caring, generous, hardworking, art critic and companion … John could engage quickly, adapt to any condition, jump into any project, and see the funny side of everything. He was generally a peacemaker, loved his friends unconditionally, loved thrift shopping, his dogs, conversation and lots of coffee. His Croatian genes were responsible for his work ethic and ability to have fun. His last 20 years were spent brushing roads all over Lincoln County with his best friend Roland Snedigar. Outside was his playground where he mapped with David Billow. His time and talents were graciously spent on his cousin, her husband and nine nieces and nephews in the Anaconda area. Wedding and birthday gifts, little notes and lots of pictures arrived unexpectedly.
John died Sept. 6, 2017, on a remote section of road in Idaho doing what he loved best, working as a brusher. Our lives will be changed because he loved us and we loved him … but love knows no end and goes on to even greater heights, out of this world and on into eternity, where we can hear John say, “Next one here bring the camera, I’ve never seen things and colors quite like these”! Graveside rites will be at 1 p.m. on Sept. 24 at Fortine Cemetery.