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William Kenneth Ellis

March 13, 1944 ~ November 15, 2020 (age 76)


William Ellis, 76, of River Vale, NJ passed away on Sunday, November 15, 2020 in McLean, VA.  He was a kind and loving husband to his wife, Maura, a wonderful father to his four children, and a decent grandfather to his nine grandchildren. 


Bill was always the life of the party.  He loved a good martini - Bombay Sapphire with as many olives as the glass could hold - and after the first, he loved any martini, often followed by unsolicited renditions of Danny Boy and Amazing Grace.  He was a notorious Uno cheater and enjoyed many a game late into the night with his best friends, Chris and Terry Kirkby.  An avid reader, he often went through multiple books a week.  Bill loved puns, some good, most bad, and used them as often as possible without regard for prior use.  A master of minutiae, there was never an unconquered crossword puzzle in the home or a college ranking forgotten.  Bill challenged every Jeopardy player, and by his own account, always beat the buzzer.  An animal and nature lover, one of his favorite pastimes was long walks in the woods.  There was never a plant under-watered or a pet unloved when he was around.    


Bill was a fixture in River Vale. From the time Maura coaxed him to start coaching soccer in 1984 to get him out of the house, to serving on the soccer board and coaching more than one winning travel team - an amazing feat for someone who knew nothing about the sport – he dedicated himself to volunteerism and his children.  During his lengthy service as recreation director in town he pioneered the Oktoberfest celebration and grew the Rag-a-muffin parade and town Easter Egg Hunt.  His children have fond memories of filling thousands of eggs and serving as the Easter bunny.  Bill helped build the memorial playground near Holdrum School and was so proud of the park he often took his grown children, and later grandchildren, to visit.  His strong commitment to the children of the town was also evident during his 17-year service on the River Vale Board of Education, a volunteer job he loved deeply. 


The son of Molly (Koshkin) and Herman Ellis, Bill is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Maura, brother Robert, daughter Jennifer (and Michael Corcoran), sons Charles (and Cathy), Kevin (and Sarah), and Michael (and Kate), grandchildren Molly and Michael Corcoran, Connor and Nathan Ellis, Asher, Grayson, and Eleanor Ellis, and Anna and Emily Ellis, as well as many nieces and nephews whom he loved deeply.  The family will hold a memorial service next summer in River Vale.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Pascack Valley Regional High School earmarked for the William and Maura Ellis Family Scholarship. 

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