John Scott Ellis arrived on December 16, 1958 in Palmerston, Ontario to parents John David and Grace Mabel (West) Ellis. He joined older sister Jackie (1950) and completed the family. The Ellis Family owned a mixed farm in Normanby Township, outside of Clifford. John proved to be an energetic, outgoing little boy. Stories were told of his antics on the electronic horse at the grocery store, and how John used a light bulb to convince his parents he could not go to school because he had a fever. Smart kid! Thankfully he mellowed out with age! :) John attended Normanby Central School in Ayton, and was the valedictorian for his class in Grade 8. He went on to attend John Diefenbaker Secondary School in Hanover. When John was a teenager, the Ellis family moved to Hanover where his father began in the construction industry. By his early teens, John was working alongside his dad on weekends and during the summer months. His love for woodworking and fixing things soon formed, as he learned a great deal from his father during this influential time in his life. It was also during these years that John worked as “the chef” in the kitchen of the Skillet Restaurant at the Zellers store in Hanover. It was here that he was introduced to a young woman by the name of Margaret Biermans. She too worked first as a waitress and then in the kitchen. Who knew then that their lives would reconnect a few years later.
After graduating from high school in 1976, John attended University for a short time before finding his true career path. He enrolled at Conestogo College in the Engineer & Information Technology program and graduated two years later. In 1981 he accepted a job with Allen-Bradley in Kitchener, where he would remain with the company (now Rockwell Automation) for the next 37 years. When he retired in 2018, John was the Canadian Regional Field Quality Leader and was often the go-to guy or “fixer” when there were challenges.
In 1983, John and Margaret's lives reconnected. Margaret purchased a couch from Jackie, John's sister, and he was given the task to deliver it. Let's just say the romance took off from there or as Margaret puts it, "John came with the couch". They were married at St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church in Chesley on September 7, 1985 and called Toronto home. They moved north to Holland Landing in 1986 and began their family, welcoming Michael in 1988. In 1992, they moved to Barrie. Matthew joined the family in 1993, followed by Morgan in 1995. By this time they had filled up all the rooms in their home, leaving a spare room for guests.
When not busy with his career or family, John loved woodworking. Over the years he made a variety of furniture for family and friends. His creativity and skills did not end there. Michael and Matthew recall John building their very first treehouse. There were the trips to the hardware store for supplies, countless hours in the backyard constructing it, and finally the secret entrance. Just what the kids wanted. In later years, John helped Michael with art projects, built a breakfast bar for Matthew and made a variety of furniture pieces for Morgan. These are but a few of the tokens of love he provided for his children.
Margaret and John loved their tropic vacations. As long as it was a warm climate, good food and had a beach to walk on with Margaret, he was all in! When relaxing at home in front of the television John preferred documentaries and the History Channel. However, ever since 9/11 he was drawn to current news. Some might say obsessed. He would often have Global or CNN on as he worked away with his tasks and he never missed the 6 o'clock News or The National nightly. When it came to music, John enjoyed classic rock from the 70's and 80's. He also was an avid reader, but not in the way you might think. He loved researching, and that meant reading everything from his next item on the “To Do” list to his next purchase. If he was going to do or buy something, John always did his homework. You had to be careful of the timing in asking him when to do his research. I was told he was not to be approached before his third coffee (with cream) of the day. He liked barbequing for family and friends, was a notorious snacker and liked his comfort foods. He was reknown for his turkey carving talents and often joked that he was “the chef” in the house. He liked to remind Margaret that it was he, the head chef at the Skillet, who taught her how to cook.
John loved his four-legged companions. First, there was Margaret's cat Chaser (keyword Margaret’s). I am told they didn't always like one another but as the story goes they loved the same woman, so they worked things out! :) John was more of a dog person, and their first dog Shelby was definitely an extension of their family. In 2011, Allie (a Cockapoo) was welcomed to the family. John would always put on a tough front about his affection for the animals, often using phrases like "I didn't want a dog“ or ”you can't love a dog" but he was always the first to sneak them some table treats. In retirement, John and Allie went for a walk daily and really grew to enjoy each other’s company at home.
John was also known to be quite the handyman. He would try his hand at everything. There was no task too big or too small for him to tackle. He was always working on his “To Do” list. Some of his many projects included, deck building, plumbing and electrical, sprinkler installation and so much more. John was meticulous in his research of each subject or product before beginning any task. He was detail-oriented, a perfectionist and successful to a fault. Every task was seen through to the end. His patience and hard work always paid off. Many of these traits can now be seen in John's children, as they picked up these qualities through his teachings.
John was a devoted and loyal family-oriented husband and father, who always showed unconditional love to everyone around him. He was quick to show appreciation to others, enjoyed helping others and was very humble. ‘Gentle John,’ as he was often referred to, was always hands-on and willing to try anything. That could include a new food, a new challenge or simply something he had yet to experience in his life. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, getting down to their level and fully engaging in whatever they were up to! He was a good listener but not an active listener (Margaret's words, not mine!) Sounds like a man thing or maybe a spouse thing! Either way, he was loved and loved those around him unconditionally.
John was just starting to settle into his retirement. He would have been the first to admit, slowing down and living a more relaxed lifestyle was a challenge at first. He and Margaret were looking forward to the next phase of their life together. They were planning to share more time together and further enjoy time with their children, grandchildren, family and friends. Sadly, this was not God's Will as John contracted Covid-19 in March. In the days that followed, John's condition deteriorated until he was hospitalized. He was immediately placed on a ventilator and continued to fight for his life for the next four weeks. Sadly, this battle proved to be too much for his physical body and he passed away, surrounded by his loving family, at Royal Victoria Health Centre on Thursday, April 30, 2020 in his 62nd year.
Beloved husband of Margaret (Biermans). Loving father of Michael, Matthew (Caela Logan), all of Toronto, Morgan (Troy Archer) of Barrie and Emily (Tim) Ciolfi of Burlington. Cherished Papa of Cole and Brook. John will be dearly missed by his sister Jackie Ellis of Barrie as well as his Aunts, cousins, and the entire Biermans’ family. Allie, his four-legged companion will miss their daily walks. John was predeceased by his parents John and Grace (West) Ellis.
The love and support of family and friends are so important at times like these, and even more so when we are not permitted to gather to support one another. Please leave a detailed condolence, or perhaps a favourite story, or a way John touched your life – something to inspire a measure of comfort and hope to all who read these comments. Thank you!
A private funeral service will be held on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 with cremation to follow.
Please consider donations to RVH Foundation, Heart & Stroke Foundation, or your local food bank as a way of honouring John’s life.Send to friend