Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

George William Ellcey

October 17, 1923 - June 21, 2019
Grand Rapids, MI



Monday, June 24, 2019
1:00 PM EDT
Rosedale Memorial Park Cemetery
50 Lake Michigan Dr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Immanuel Lutheran Church Elders Fund
2 Michigan St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Life Story / Obituary


When reflecting on the life of George Ellcey, words such as hardworking, positive, and friendly come to mind, however, perhaps the word that paints the most vivid picture of his life is selfless. He was always looking for ways to help others. Born with a natural green thumb, George was a masterful gardener who reaped an abundant harvest each season. His wonderful collection of memories will be his greatest gift to all who knew and loved him.

The Roaring Twenties was a period of economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. Jazz music, as well as the automotive industry, were booming. With the media focused on sports heroes and movie figures, Herbert and Cora (Gillespie) Ellcey eagerly welcomed home their own celebrity, their firstborn son, George, on October 17, 1923, in Adrian, Michigan. Later joined by his younger siblings, Violet and Robert, his birth brought his parents great joy.

Growing up during tough financial times, George learned early on the value of a hard day’s work. By the time the family felt the impact of the Great Depression, they relocated to Conklin, Michigan to find work. Later, they settled in Ravenna where they were known to pitch in around the house to help support the family. George was a good student and graduated with the Class of 1942 from Coopersville High School. Eager to make his way in the world, he went straight from school to working at Imperial furniture in Grand Rapids, which was under contract with war department making glider planes for the D-day invasion. Patricia Irene Brodbeck who was working there as a parachute packer caught his eye and the rest was history! Smitten right from the start the two of them began dating and within a short time were planning a wedding! Joining in marriage on June 30, 1948, at Zion Lutheran Church, in Woodland, MI. The happy couple settled into an apartment before saving up for their home at 2459 Walker Ave. NW. They then became members of Immanuel Lutheran Church. Together they raised five wonderful children; Charles, Edward, Donald, Elaine, and Steven.

As a family, they enjoyed tending to their roadside produce stand each summer. Their large acre size garden was known for its peppers, tomatoes, and green beans. Fresh strawberry and corn season, however, proved to be by far the family favorites. George supported their years at Simon Elementary School as well as Kenowa Hills Public Schools where they all went on to graduate. He wanted nothing more than the best for his children. They have fond memories of learning how to fish with George. He often frequented the local Grand River as well as Lake Michigan in Grand Haven for perch. He was a dedicated family man who would do anything for each and every one of them. Their joy was his greatest happiness.

Retirement afforded he and his lovely wife, Patricia, many shared memories. They welcomed several grandchildren over the years and were blessed beyond measure when they had great-grandchildren. They enjoyed countless holidays, celebrations, and special gatherings over the years. He was generous in sharing so much of himself. Whether it was life lessons he had learned or his never-ending wisdom when it came to the secrets of growing a successful garden, they looked forward to their visits and never took a single day with him for granted. Known to share his love of the Detroit Tigers, they always knew they could rely on him for the latest score or update on how they were doing each season. His grandchildren will remember him for his kind and caring ways. Following his loving wife Patricia's death in 2011, George moved to Garfield Ave NW where he was fortunate to have his son, Don, move in to help care for him.

Active and outgoing most of his life, George’s later years were focused primarily on his family. He enjoyed their visits and sharing in their every success. Sadly, he recently fell and broke his hip on May 2, 2019. After surgery, he moved to SKLD Nursing Care on East Beltline for rehabilitation. Although he was making progress, his health soon began to diminish and he passed away. There is no doubt that he will be greatly missed by his loving family and many special friends. His loving presence will never be forgotten. May his loved ones be comforted in knowing that his life held purpose and that he cared for them immensely.

George William Ellcey, aged 95, of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away on Friday, June 21, 2019, at SKLD Nursing Center. He was the older of three children born to Herbert and Cora Ellcey (Gillespie). He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Patricia (Brodbeck), his sister, Violet (Foster) Starks and his brother, Robert (Gloria) Ellcey. He is survived by his children, Chuck (Karen) Ellcey, Ed (Laura) Ellcey, Don Ellcey, Elaine (Mike) Simpson, Steve Ellcey; 8 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Caroline Brechisen, Paul (Carol) Brodbeck, Marie Brodbeck; many nieces, nephews, and friends. George retired from Imperial Furniture. He loved gardening and fishing. He was a longtime member of Immanuel Lutheran Church. A graveside service will be held on Monday, June 24 at 1:00 pm at Rosedale Memorial Park, 50 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Contributions in his memory may be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church Elders Fund. To sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at heritage@lifestory.com