In Memory

Ellis Houseman (Chip Tester) - Class of 1976 VIEW PROFILE

Ellis Houseman (Chip Tester)




Ellis Houseman    

MISSOULA – Ellis R. Houseman, 90, peacefully passed on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, to again join Rose, the love of his life, who had passed away on April 5.

Ellis was the surviving twin born to Clarence and Myrtle Houseman on September 13, 1925, in Hebron, Nebraska, and was later joined by four sisters. The family homesteaded in Brooks, Alberta, Canada, where Ellis grew up and received his education. After returning to the states in 1942, the family eventually settled in Kalispell, where Ellis met Rose Nelson. The couple married on June 1, 1953, and began their almost 63 years of adventures together.

In his early career, Ellis engaged in a variety of occupations such as ranch hand, taxi driver and construction worker including work on Hungry Horse Dam. During this time, he also served in the National Guard. After marriage, the couple moved to Boulder, Colorado, followed by a move to Yuma County, Arizona, returned home to Kalispell, and made a final move in 1956 to Missoula. In Missoula, Ellis was first the foreman of a mink ranch where his young family lived for a decade. During that time, Ellis completed education in accounting. He then spent 10 years as a chip tester at the pulp and paper mill, joining the mill’s credit union. He grew passionate about the credit union movement, became the credit union manager for 23 years, and led the credit union from a small operation run from his dining room table into the successful Montana Forest Products Federal Credit Union (now Parkside Credit Union).

In 1966, Ellis and Rose built their home on Mullan Road where they happily shared the next 50 years. In his later years, Ellis could often be found enjoying the view from his “sunny spot”. The property served well as the home for Ellis’ other passion, Houseman Rabbitry. The grandchildren have fond memories of Ellis letting them play with baby bunnies that he had carried in his coat pockets from the barn into the house. Among his many ventures with the rabbitry, Ellis developed the Cinnamon rabbit breed which was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1972. A lifetime member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association and Garden City Rabbit Breeders Association, Ellis was a national rabbit registrar, a well-known 4-H rabbit judge in Montana, and the rabbit and poultry barn superintendent at the Western Montana Fair.

Never one to sit still, Ellis was an avid reader and, in addition to raising rabbits, his many hobbies over the years included fly fishing, shooting sports, rock hounding, wine making, gardening, caring for his horse and dogs, and playing pool at home with family and friends. Ellis was a member of the Hellgate Mineral Society and had been a club officer while he also served as the treasurer for the Montana Council of Rock and Mineral Clubs. Rose was a supporter of Ellis’ activities and the couple was fortunate to share many of their hobbies together including their love of travel. The couple spent winters in Blythe, California and a summer visiting Alaska, traveled throughout the U.S. and Alberta, Canada, attending rabbit shows, and explored the backroads of Montana.

Ellis enjoyed engaging with other people and, through his work with both the credit union and his rabbit business.  He touched the lives of many. Additionally, Ellis loved spending time with his family and was a supporter and champion of all of their goals and activities. He will be remembered for his warm nature, the twinkle in his eye when he was joking with you, and his positive outlook on life.

Ellis is survived by his children, Belle and Fred (K.C.); siblings, Gail (Art) and Evelyn (Gleed); grandchildren, Sarah (Ryan), Julia (Wyatt), Emily, Thomas, Travis and Kyler and great-grandchildren, Charlie, Grace and Claire. Ellis had requested no services and, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Humane Society or similar organization.

Rest in Peace dear Friend.

Click here to see Ellis' last Profile entry.