In Memoriam: the Rev. Dr. Robert Charles Ellson


Rev. Dr. Robert Charles Ellson was welcomed by his Lord and Savior into everlasting life on July 14, 2017.  He had been a resident at Luther Manor in Wauwatosa since 2011.

Rev. Ellson, was born on March 15, 1925 in Woodhaven, Queens, NY, to Frank D. and Lilian C. (Richardson) Ellson and. He was preceded in death by his brother William E. Ellson and a nephew Gary Ellson. He met his beloved wife, Carolyn at Ohio University where they married in 1946 and graduated in 1947.

Rev. Ellson graduated from Union Theological Seminary, NY, NY in 1949 and was ordained to ministry the same year. He also received a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL in 1975.

Rev. Bob, as he was affectionately called throughout his career began as an Associate Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church, Glens Falls, NY. He also served the Bryn Mawr Community Church, Chicago (1952-1956); First Presbyterian Church, Mattoon, IL (1956-1961); Roseland Presbyterian Church, Chicago (1961-1962);  First Presbyterian Church, Kewanee, IL (1962-1971); Berwyn Presbyterian Church, Berwyn, (1971-1978) and as the Executive Presbyter of Utica Presbytery in upstate New York (1978-1990). 

In addition to preaching, pastoral care, leading his congregations, Rev. Bob had a special passion for theatrical endeavors.  He enjoyed working with youth through Presbyterian Youth Trienniums and Music Art and Drama conferences. He was a pastor who could do it all and used his knowledge to fix boilers, and renovate manses and churches with the skills he learned from his grandfather and through his college studies in engineering.

He put all the administrative skills he had learned in the local church to use as an Executive Presbyter in Utica (NY) Presbytery, working with 42 pastors and their churches. In this role he especially enjoyed organizing and leading the national Association of Presbytery Executives. (APE)

Bob and Carolyn enjoyed an active life in retirement in Bloomington, IN and Wisconsin.  They enjoyed traveling together and participation in First Presbyterian Church of Bloomington and the Wauwatosa Presbyterian Church. Their special interest in mentoring international students at Indiana University resulted in many young adults thinking of them as their American Mom and Dad.

Survivors include his wife Carolyn (Curl) Ellson of Wauwatosa; daughters Barbara (Rev. Frank Baldwin) Ellson of Evanston, IL and Patricia (Robert) Behling of New Berlin, WI;  grandchildren Benton Cook, of Alpha MI, Caitlin Cook of New Berlin, and Charles Baldwin of Broomfield, CO.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 29, 2 PM, at the Faith and Education Center, Luther Manor, 4545 N. 92nd Street, Wauwatosa, WI.  Memorial gifts may be sent to McCormick Theological Seminary, 5460 S. University Ave., Chicago, IL 60615.