Matthew Preston Ellis, of Hereford, Arizona, died peacefully in his sleep at his home on Saturday, July 30, 2022. He was 60 years old.
Matt was born on April 10, 1962, in Paris, Kentucky., the seventh son and last of nine children. In November 1967, he and his family moved to Delta Junction, Alaska, where his father and mother had transferred to work as Department of the Army civilians at nearby Fort Greely.
Matt attended kindergarten through 12th grades at Delta Junction schools, graduating in May 1980. A year later, he enrolled at Wyoming Technical Institute, in Laramie, Wyoming., and graduated with a certificate in auto-body repair. He mastered the trade and worked as a body man until a few years ago, when he began spending more time in the front office.
In 1984, after completing trade school, Matt returned to Alaska, where he lived and worked until 1993, when he moved to Arizona to be with family. He gained friends and found love, and became the proud stepfather of a young boy, Vincent, the son of his former spouse. He also shared a special connection with his nieces and nephews, all of whom could count on their Uncle Matt to show up at birthdays and holidays to share his wit and wisdom.
Matt was an avid motorcyclist and spent many happy days on his bike with the wind in his hair, riding into the sunset and beyond. His also loved auto racing, which earned him a side job as a member of his company’s race-car pit crew.
He was a deeply spiritual man. He never judged, and he always helped family and friends, even strangers – anyone who needed a helping hand. He adopted stray dogs and cats in need of a home, including his beloved mutt, Jackson, who he hiked with in his favorite place, Miller Canyon, in the Huachuca Mountains.
Matt left this world way too soon. All who knew him grieve over his passing, but we all know that he left behind a legacy of light and love that we will hold in our hearts forever.
Matt was preceded in death by his mother, Elaine Ellis, and father, Lawrence Ellis; and three brothers, Lance Erley, Eric Erley and Dave Ellis.
He is survived by his five brothers and sisters: Clyde Erley and his wife, Pompi, of Sanford, North Carolina; Mike Erley and his wife, Jennifer, of Lexington, Kentucky; Tim Ellis and his wife, Mary Leith, of Delta Junction, Alaska; Casi Ruffo, and her husband, Anthony, and Lauri Ellis and her husband, Pat Brown, all of Hereford. Matt’s also survived by 11 nieces and nephews: David Erley and his wife, Debra, of Philadelphia; Kenneth Erley and his wife, Danielle, of Augusta, Georgia; Kevin Erley and his wife, Jessica, of Ann Arbor, Michigan; Denise Erley, of Ypsilanti, New Your.; J. Michael Erley and his wife, Caroline Bannister-Erley, of Georgetown, Kentucky.; Mieka Erley, of Hamilton, New Your; Ian Ellis and his wife, Tsaile, of Tucson, Arizona; Colin Ellis, of Hereford; Antonia Ruffo, of Phoenix; Jeremy Bussdieker and his wife, Shanna, of Nooksack, Washiington; Adam Bussdieker and his wife, Candice, of Murray, Utah. He’s also survived by his grand-nephew, Archer Bussdieker, of Nooksack; his grand-niece, Rosslyn Ellis, of Tucson; and his honorary nephew, Vincent Davis, of Hereford.
Memorial services are pending. In lieu of flowers, the family asks all who grieve over Matt’s passing to give to the needy and love one another.