Obituaries & Tributes

Dennis (Denny) Eugene Ellis: Jan. 14, 1944-Dec. 27, 2023

Dennis (Denny) Eugene Ellis went to heaven on Dec. 27, 2023, at 79 years of age, surrounded by his family. He had a very strong love for the Lord and his family.

Denny was born in Emmett, Idaho on Jan. 14,1944 to Erwin and Marie Ellis, joining his older brother, Thomas, and later by his younger sister, Carolyn. 

His family moved several times while growing up. He graduated from Creswell High School in 1962. His athletic achievements during his high school years included winning first place in the shot put, discus and javelin at the State Track and Field Track meet. He received the MVP trophy for the State Meet. Denny was inducted into the Creswell High School Hall of Fame.

After graduating from high school, Denny attended Southern Oregon College (SOC) where he had many athletic accomplishments. He was a four-year letterman in Football and Track, finishing in the top four nationally each year. He averaged 48.3 yards punting in 1965, which led NAIA schools.

Denny holds SOC school records for the longest punt 87 yards, punt average for a game of 55 yards, in 1965. He held SOC’s records in the shot put and javelin in the district championship in 1965. He also won the national championship in the javelin. Denny became the first Track and Field All American for SOC in 1965. Denny was inducted in the SOC’s Hall of Fame in 1996.

Denny received and turned down offers from the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions to punt in Pro Football in 1967.

While attending SOC, Denny met and married Barbara Gardner in 1965. After graduating from college, with a teaching degree Denny accepted a job offer from the Mapleton School District, in Mapleton, Ore., where they raised their family, Greg, Lori, and Chris.

He taught and coached at Mapleton for 32 years. He coached an “All Star Track and Field team from Oregon and Washington that competed in Hong Kong and Communist China.

When he was not teaching and coaching, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and golfing. He sang in a gospel quartet the “Trust and Obey Boys” and they sang throughout Western Oregon. He also sang in the Barbershop Choirs.

Denny was a very active member of the Lions Club for 35 years. Some of Denny’s joys were going on Work and Witness trips to build churches, teaching Bible study and Sunday school.

Denny is survived by his wife of 58 years, Barbara; his sons, Greg (Becky) and Chris (Augusta) and his daughter, Lori (Nick) and their spouses; his grandchildren, Will, BreaAnna (Josh), Bailey and Braiden; his brother, Thomas and wife, Colleen; and his sister, Carolyn, and husband, Art, and their families.

There will be a Memorial Service for Denny on April 27, at the Mapleton High School Gym at 1 p.m. All are welcome.


Tana Laatsch, 54, died Oct. 31, 2005. 

Randall A. Masters, 67, of Eugene, died March 3, 2024.

Jose Luis Flores, 36, of Eugene, died March 13, 2024.

Wesley John Sawtell, 58, of Dorena, died March 14, 2024.

Brenda Kay Olsen, 83, of Creswell, died March 24, 20024.

Michael Lance Naish, 79, of Eugene, died March 26, 2024. 

Lee Benjamin Mathis, 46, of Eugene, died  March 28, 2024. 

Jason Brantley, 42, of Cottage Grove, died April 5, 2024.



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