Loy M. ‘Sonny’ Ellis

POWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Loy Milton “Sonny” Ellis, age 87, of County Road KCI, Powell Township, entered eternal life Thursday, February 21, 2013, at his home.

Born January 25, 1926, in Marquette, a son of Loy M. and Rhea (Gawley) Ellis, Sonny was raised in the Birch area near the Halfway Location, and he was the last family to live in the Birch Depot. Sonny was a graduate of the John D. Pierce High School and during his high school years delivered telegrams for Western Union. He entered the U.S. Army in 1944, serving during the last portion of World War II, and was honorably discharged in 1946. While serving his county, Sonny was awarded the Asian Pacific Campaign Medal, American Campaign WWII Victory Medal, Middle Eastern Campaign with Battle Star, Bronze Star and a Good Conduct Medal. Returning home, Sonny enrolled in Forestry School at Michigan Technological University which led to a lifelong career in the logging industry. In 1948, he married the former LaVerne St. John and together the couple set up a home and raised six children. Sonny was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, and playing a good game of cribbage, having achieved the once-in-a-lifetime 29 hand.

His community involvement included being a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, charter member of VFW Post 7960, member of the Big Bay Sportsman’s Club, Richard Jopling Post #44 of the American Legion, instituting the Yellow Dog Horseshoe League, and serving over 25 years on the Powell Township School Board, many of those years serving as president.

Sonny is survived by his children, Doris (Stephen) Childers, Sheila (Timothy) Leahy, Cheryl (Stephen) Girard all of Big Bay, Barbara (Louis) Wallin of Holland, Mich., and Loy (Michelle) Ellis of Big Bay; his grandchildren, Mindy, Jennifer, John, Matthew, Brenden, Andrew, Sean, Ashley, Cassie, Brittany, Levi, Jesse and Melissa; 22 great-grandchildren; his special lifelong friend and companion, Betty Bourgeois of Big Bay; sisters, Mary Lou Britton of Limestone, Claribel Smith and Loyola Steeb both of Marquette; brothers, Ralph Ellis of Manistique and Donald Ellis of Savannah, GA; numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Sonny was preceded in death by his wife, LaVerne in 2000; a son, Robert Ellis in 1992; and granddaughter, Jamie Lynn Ellis in 1991. Sonny loved his family and they will miss him dearly, especially his favorite, and often used, saying, “puttuppapa” which drove everyone crazy. Rest in peace, Sonny.

In celebration of Sonny’s life a gathering will be held Monday February 25, 2013, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Powell Township Community Center.

Honoring Sonny’s request, a private family celebration of his life will be held and burial will be made in the Powell Township Cemetery, Big Bay, this summer.

The Fassbender Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at www.fassbenderfuneralhome.com.