Ellis Ray Fink, 57, a lifelong resident of Winthrop, died suddenly on Dec. 30, 2015, at Central Washington Hospital, surrounded by his family and friends. He is survived by his wife, Callie, three sons, Riley, Emmett and Meritt, brother Deed Fink and sister-in-law Carrie, sister Verna Garcia and brother-in-law Tony, stepmother Joyce Holeman and husband Jerry, step-brothers James and Jerry Woodruff, and his mother Ruby Burns (Ames). He was preceded in death by his loving father Evan Cecil Fink and brother Darrel Johnson.
Ellis was born in Winthrop, Washington, on May 29, 1958. He attended Winthrop Elementary, starting first grade at age 5. Growing up, Ellis loved football, wrestling and baseball. Being raised on a farm taught him to value hard work and reliability. As a young man, he developed a love of animals and bought his first team of draft horses when he was 16. His fondness for the outdoors led to a job on the trail crew with the U.S. Forest Service, where he began his career the day after he graduated from Liberty Bell High School in 1976. By the early 1980s, Ellis was the trail crew foreman and lead packer. Known for his natural easy way with horses and mules, Ellis subscribed to the Jim Abel theory of taking care of the animals before you take care of yourself. Eventually he became the head of the Developed Recreation and Facilities for the Forest Service. He was known for the broad range and depth of his knowledge, his attention to detail and his easygoing and optimistic nature. Ellis chose his words carefully; when he had something to say, everyone listened.
In June 1989, at the Pasayten Airport, Ellis met Callie Marchbank, the young woman who would become his wife. They enjoyed many adventures together on the trail crew, and were married on Dec. 29, 1990. Ellis and Callie welcomed their first son, Riley, in June 1991; their second son, Emmett, in October 1996; and their third son, Meritt, in June 1998. Their sons were the joy of Ellis’ life. He was very proud of his boys and always supported their activities, hopes and dreams.
Ellis was an extraordinary man who lived big. His positive, generous spirit attracted friends from every walk of life. Ellis was able to find something to love in everyone he met. He worked hard, played hard, and was grateful for every minute of every day.
Please join family and friends for a celebration of the life of Ellis Fink at the Winthrop Barn on Saturday (Jan. 9) at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a fund for the Fink boys at Farmers State Bank, P.O. Box 489, Winthrop, WA 98862.