Cover photo for Richard D Ellison's Obituary
Richard D Ellison Profile Photo

Richard D Ellison

February 24, 1935 — April 23, 2024


Richard D Ellison

Richard D. Ellison of Kewadin, Michigan passed away on April 23, 2024.  He was born on February 24, 1935, in Big Rapids, Michigan.  He married his high school sweetheart, Nancy (Knight) on September 1, 1956, in Big Rapids, Michigan.  Richard and Nancy welcomed the birth of their only child, daughter, Lorry (Ellison-Coats) in 1959.  Later he welcomed a grandson, Tyler (Coats) in 1990.  His wife, daughter, and grandson will miss him dearly.  

Richard served his country for 10 years in the Army National Guard.  He also served his local community for many years in the voluntary position of Fire Chief for Torch Lake Township.  He was the proud owner and operator of East Bay Excavating.  It had always been his dream to own his own excavating business.   He finally realized his dream in 1971 and he worked until the very end (despite years of pleading from his daughter Lorry to retire).  In his own words, “I want to pass away sitting on my bulldozer.”  For the most part he realized that dream too! 53 years of doing what he loved, we should all be so lucky! In those 53 years of business, Richard made many, many friends, and acquaintances.  His grandson, Tyler, would always tell him “I think you know everyone in northern Michigan.” 

          In later years, Richard and his wife Nancy became “snowbirds” and purchased a home in Florida near their daughter and grandson.  This allowed him time to make many wonderful memories with his family.   One of Richards hobbies when he spent time in Florida was working and rebuilding World War II war planes for the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville, Florida.  He was instrumental in restoring and returning to flight the “Tico Belle,” a 1942 C47-A Skytrain that participated in the D-Day invasion among many other WWII campaigns.  

          Richard is preceded in death by his parents and two brothers.  He leaves behind his wife Nancy, daughter Lorry, grandson Tyler, a brother, sister, and many nieces and nephews.  

          A Celebration of life for Richard will be held at his excavation yard in August.  The date and details will follow as plans are finalized.  

          Richard loved animals! It was his wish that a supply/donation (or even an adoption) be given to your local animal shelter or rescue.   

          Arrangements are under the care of the Central Lake Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes.  Please sign his online guestbook at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard D Ellison, please visit our flower store.


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