Obituary for Tim Ellis, November 21, 1955 – January 7, 2021. Age 65.
Timothy Edward Ellis was born in Southern California to William Charles Ellis and Joyce Allen, both of Minnesota. Tim grew up in Southern California and lived in the cities of Palos Verdes, Baldwin Hills, and Woodland Hills. He graduated from El Camino High School in Woodland Hills, where he was on the football and wrestling teams. After high school he attended Pierce Junior College in Woodland Hills. Tim then transferred to Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Engineering in 1981. In 1980 he met another student at Cal Poly, Deborah Dobbs, and they were married in 1983 until Tim’s death. Their daughter, Sara, was born in 1989. After graduation from Cal Poly, Tim worked in the computer and electronics industries at several companies in the San Francisco Bay Area: Intel, a small startup in Cupertino, Altos Computer, Molecular Dynamics, Amersham which was eventually purchased by General Electric, and finally Forte Bio. In 2008 Tim left the electronics industry and joined his wife to work with Debbie in her own business as a consulting arborist and horticulturist. In that capacity he was instrumental in developing software and programs for the business. He also served as engineer in charge of acoustic and electric tomography of tree trunks and large branches, used to image hidden interior decay and cavities. This was the first use of this technology in the western United States, and Debbie could not have done it without Tim.
In 2016 both Tim and Debbie retired and were able to spend more time volunteering, traveling, and participating in their various hobbies. Tim had many hobbies which included: cycling (both road and mountain bike), hang gliding, kayaking, brewing beer, cooking, baking (especially fine cakes and pastries), flying remote control planes and gliders, building and racing remote control cars, hiking, and downhill skiing. Tim spent a few years after retiring taking art classes at nearby West Valley College in Saratoga. He took several sessions of bronze wax sculpture casting as well as drawing and painting classes. He loved spending time at the Tahoe/Truckee vacation house bought in 2012 where he and Debbie would hike, mountain bike and ski and work on trails. He was a member of the South Bay Soaring Society through which he participated in remote control glider flying and competitions. He was a very good home beer brewer and had taken several brewing classes through the U.C. Davis Brewing Science Department. He brewed beer in his garage brewery every month or two with his good friend, Bill.
Tim’s many volunteer activities before and after retirement included coaching the Robotics Club at Independence High School in San Jose, building and maintaining hiking and mountain biking trails in the San Francisco Bay area and Tahoe, working at the food bank of the West Valley Community Center, helping at COVID testing sites and serving in the Saratoga CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). He also served as the first room “dad” one of the years Sara was in elementary school, when previously only women did that job. He was active in the cycling community and a member of Almaden Cycle Touring Club and Western Wheelers Bicycle Clubs. He volunteered as a bike mechanic and in various other capacities for the annual century rides that these clubs put on. Tim was the Logistics Chair for Almaden’s Tierra Bella Century in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He was the president of Western Wheelers in the early 1990’s. He was a member of the WSK (Western Sea Kayakers) and BASK (Bay Area Sea Kayakers) clubs for 8 years. He was the webmaster for the BASK club and did much to improve their online interactive Trip Planner. All that knew Tim understood what a kind and giving person he was.
Tim died suddenly and unexpectedly on January 7, 2021 due to Sudden Cardiac Death; a complication of the serious bicycle accident he had on October 17, 2020. As a result of the accident, Tim broke his neck and severely injured his spinal cord. He was hospitalized from October 17 through December 10, 2020. From November 4 to December 10, he had the good fortune of being treated at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Spinal Cord Injury Unit in the Rehabilitation section of the hospital. At Valley Med he improved enough to come home and continue physical and occupational therapy there. His positive attitude, hard work with therapies and amazing physical improvement impressed his doctors and all that spent time with him. Because of his remarkable rehabilitation progress, we were hopeful that Tim would be taking his first supported steps soon. Unfortunately, he was taken from us before that happened. A tribute to Tim, on the Northern California Spinal Cord Injury Foundation web site, can be viewed from this link: https://norcalsci.org/tim-ellis
Tim is survived by his wife Debbie of almost 38 years, his daughter Sara (Raleigh, North Carolina) and sister Nancy (Sacramento). He is preceded in death by his parents Bill and Joyce and brother Paul. Everyone that knew Tim felt that he was a good, kind and giving person. Always ready to help, always with a positive attitude. He was not religious, but he lived his life like a true Christian.
A memorial service will be held for Tim after the threat of the COVID virus has subsided, hopefully in the Summer or Fall of 2021. Details will be posted on the Caringbridge web site.
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