Dr. Ellis J. Williams passed away at Providence Medical Center on Nov. 11, 2020. He could not have chosen a better day out of the year, Veteran’s Day, to leave this earth to be with Our Lord. Dr. Williams was a proud Veteran, and he will be celebrated every Veteran’s Day.
Dr. Williams was born in Gaylord, Michigan, on Sept. 2, 1959. He was the first-born of three sons to Robert J. Williams and Betty Lorain (Harney) Williams. Ellis grew up on a farm in Breckenridge, Michigan. He was active in 4-H and FFA for many years. Ellis raised his own pigs for 4-H, and at the time he left home, his stock of pigs numbered over 200 heads. Ellis graduated from St. Louis High School, St. Louis, Michigan in 1977. He was a class scholar and he excelled in football, wrestling, and baseball. He treasured his numerous deer hunting and fishing adventures on Bois Blanc Island in the Great Lakes at the family cabin with his parents and brothers.
Soon after graduation, he left home at the age of 17 and started his military career by completing his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was sent to Edgewood Arsenal Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, where he learned about explosives and various forms of warfare. He was assigned to the Chemical Corps and spent his first four years of his Army career as a Battalion Chemical Non-Commissioned Officer with the 66th Maintenance Battalion, at Kaiserslautern, Germany. Ellis was recommended by his commander for an appointment to the United States Military Academy, West Point, and graduated in 1985. Ellis started his officer career in the Military Police Corps, and completed the Officer Basic Course at Fort McClellan, Alabama. His first duty station was Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he completed many deployments with Special Forces in Southeast Asia, as well as, served as a Platoon Leader, Bravo Company, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), 1st Special Operations Command; Platoon Leader and Executive Officer with the 118th Airborne Military Police Company; Company Commander, US Army Garrison Military Police Company; Assistant Brigade Operations Officer, 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne); and, Brigade Training Officer, 44th Medical Brigade.
He switched from the Military Police Corps to the Medical Service Corps and served in the 44th Medical Brigade for a greater opportunity to work in the hospital setting. While preparing for deployment with the 44th Medical Brigade in support of Operation Desert Storm, he received his acceptance letter to medical school at the University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, Missouri. The Medical Brigade commander sent Ellis packing to the Midwest versus the Mideast for him to go to medical school. His commander told him, “There would always be wars to fight, but you don’t pass up an opportunity like this. The Army needs you more as a doctor.” Ellis graduated in 1995. He completed his internship program at Carson City Hospital, Carson City, Michigan. After completion of his internship, he was pulled back to active duty to complete his four-year obligation and was assigned to Fort Leavenworth. While stationed at Fort Leavenworth, he was a general medical officer with additional duty as physician in charge at the United States Disciplinary Barracks. He completed many deployments to Korea, Germany and the Balkans in support of contingency medical operations. Upon completion of his obligations, he joined the Army Reserves.
Ellis returned to Michigan to attend the family practice resident program at Bay Regional Medical Center, Bay City, Michigan, and then returned to Kansas to rejoin his family.
Ellis enjoyed the ability to pick and choose his deployments with the Army Reserves. Ellis’s last tour of duty was Operation Iraqi Freedom supporting Task Force 14 Medical to Camp Cropper, Baghdad. While in Iraq, Ellis was the physician in charge of the Emergency Department and the Detainee Medical Care Clinic Operations. Ellis received many military awards and completed many military enlisted and officer training programs, but for Ellis, it wasn’t about the awards. It was about “Duty, Honor, and Country” and serving proudly. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Medical Corps. When there wasn’t a need for a military assignment to be fulfilled overseas, Ellis worked with Docs Who Care and Medical Doctors Associates. At the time of his death, Ellis was the Medical Director at the Lansing Correctional Facility.
Though he found his various medical duties challenging at times, he felt so rewarded, and he enjoyed the staffs he worked with whom he made everlasting friendships.
1st Lieutenant Ellis Williams married 2nd Lieutenant Kathleen E. Hoy, from Falls City, Nebraska, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Oct. 29, 1988.
Ellis is survived by his wife, Kathleen, his stepsons, Jeffrey (Melissa) Simpson, Lansing, and Matthew (Beth) Simpson, Easton; his five grandchildren, Logan, Toby, Tucker, Hunter and Maggie; his parents, Robert and Betty Williams, Breckenridge, Michigan; two brothers, Ronald, Clearfield, Utah, and (Dale) Mac, Elsie, Michigan; seven brothers-in-laws and their wives and many nieces and nephews. Ellis enjoyed his numerous animal friends throughout life and leaves behind his dogs, Bo and Bagger, and his cats, Midnight, Shadow, Jules, and Jasper. Many times, his animal family members came from abandon animals left in the country needing a good home.
His celebration of life with Our Lord will be Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, at St. Francis de Sales Church in Lansing, Kansas at 5 p.m. The service will only be attended by family members and close friends to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Facial masks will be required to attend and social distancing will be practiced. His service may be viewed on live stream through St. Francis de Sales Church website at https://stfrancislansing.org. The service will be available for viewing at the site at a time more convenient for your viewing as well. A memorial service through R. L. Leintz Funeral Home, Leavenworth, Kansas, is being planned for the public at a later date to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The family requests donations to St. Francis de Sales Church, Lansing, Kansas, and the Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society (LAWS), P.O. Box 498, Leavenworth, Kansas.
Ellis’s family appreciates all the care afforded him from the various nursing staffs, various medical physicians, and all the specialty staff at Providence Medical Center and St. John Hospital for the numerous times he received care from you. “Thank You’s” are not always enough to show the true meaning felt in our hearts.
Published on November 25, 2020