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Arthur Emmett Ellis
September 14, 1932 - June 14, 2013
Arthur Emmett Ellis, age 80, lost his battle with liver cancer on June 14, 2013, at Woodland Hospice in Mt. Pleasant, MI.
A Memorial Service will be held on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at Clark Family Funeral Chapel in Mt. Pleasant. Visitation will be held on Monday, June 17, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m, and on Tuesday at 10 a.m. prior to the service. Memorial donations are suggested to the Arthur E. Ellis Beaver Island Scholarship Fund at Central Michigan University. Envelopes will be available at Clark Family Funeral Chapel or donations may be sent to: Arthur E. Ellis Beaver Island Scholarship Fund, Central Michigan University, Carlin Alumni House, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859.
Art was born on September 14, 1932, to Archibald and Antoinette Ellis in Grand Rapids, MI and raised in Jackson, MI. The challenge that formed his life began in 1942 with the passing of his father. It was at this time that he met the threat of poverty head on and soon developed a strong work ethic and leadership skills. He graduated in 1950 from Jackson High School as Student Body President.
Art entered military service in 1953 during the Korean War. He was nominated to Officer Candidate School and completed his military career as an Army First Lieutenant in 1956. On September 14, 1955, he married Sibyl Marie Clark in Jackson.
Art worked as a Budget Analyst at Walker Manufacturing Company in Jackson from 1957- 1962 prior to his public sector positions. He became a Budget Analyst at the Legislative Service Bureau from 1962-1964 continuing on as the first Director of the Senate Fiscal Agency in 1965. In 1968, he began his career in higher education as the Secretary of the Board of Regents for Eastern Michigan University (EMU). It was in 1970 when Art moved his family to their permanent residence in Mt. Pleasant as he accepted the position of Vice President of Public Affairs at Central Michigan University (CMU). He remained with CMU becoming Interim President in 1975 and again in 1985. Art accepted the ninth Presidency of CMU in 1986 until he retired in 1988.
In 1991, he was called back to public service by then-Governor John Engler who appointed Art as the Director of the Michigan Department of Commerce. In 1995, the State Board of Education then appointed him as Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction and later appointed him as the Superintendent of Public Instruction effective January 1, 1996. Again, retiring in 2001 to spend some well-deserved time at his cottage “in the woods” that he dearly loved.
Art earned an associate degree from Jackson Community College in 1952, a bachelor of arts in economics from Michigan State University in 1958, a master of arts in education from EMU in 1969, and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from CMU.
Through his many years of working in state government, he was also a strong supporter of his local community. He, along with Sibyl and his children, owned and operated two small businesses for over 30 years, Someplace Special, Inc. and Four Seasons Floral in Mt. Pleasant. Other organizations that Art generously supported are: The Mount Pleasant Community Foundation, McLaren Central Michigan Hospital, United Way of Isabella County, Woodland Hospice and Art Reach Center.
Art was devoted to his wife of 58 years, Sibyl, who survives him and was a loving father to his son, Mark (Terri) Ellis, of Mt. Pleasant; and two daughters, Marcia (Kim) Tillotson, of Mt. Pleasant; and Marian (Brian) Mahoney of O’Fallon, MO. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, Arthur Bradford (Hanako) Ellis, of Tokyo, Japan; Brian (Karen) Ellis, of Ann Arbor; Katherine Ellis of State College, PA; Alan (Melissa) Tillotson and Amanda Tillotson of Mt. Pleasant; Brendan and Brigit Mahoney of O’Fallon, MO along with two great grandchildren, Veronica Ellis and Leah Tillotson.
Art was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Marian Young; and brother, George Ellis.