On Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007, Raymond Lyle Ellsworth went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to be reunited with his beloved wife, Ellen.
He was born Oct. 5, 1919, in Crawford, Neb., to Fred and Orpha Ellsworth. Following his birth they moved to Fort Robinson, Neb., where his father trained horses for the calvary. Later he and his dad traveled throughout the northwest settling for a short time in the Seattle area where he attended and graduated from high school. In 1937 they moved to Winchester, Idaho and while working there at the sawmill he met the love of his life, Ellen Adams, whom he married in 1939. They moved to Lewiston in 1948. Although they lived in other towns in and around Idaho, Lewiston was always their real home.
He is survived by sons and daughters-in-law: Raymond Jr. and Lana of Lewiston, Arnold (Butch) and Mary of Potlatch, and Kenneth (Pete) and Lisa of Culdesac; daughter and son-in-law Jacki Rogers and Larry Turner of Spokane; a sister, Blanche Hammacker of Lisco, Neb. He had 14 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Ellen, his sister Lenore Nichols, and grandson James Sotin.
Ray worked as a union carpenter from 1944 until he retired in 1984. He did both residential and commercial carpentry. His handiwork can be seen all throughout the Lewis-Clark Valley and Inland Northwest. He worked on grain elevators on the Palouse and Camas Prairie, the Kingdome and buildings at the local hospitals, Potlatch Corp., U of I, WSU, Dworshak, Lower Granite and Little Goose Dams to name a few. When he worked on the grain elevators, the saying was "a keg a day or you won't stay" referring to the 50 pound kegs of nails used each day hand nailing the "crib work" and framing walls of the elevator. Ray was always a hard working man. Many of the younger men would comment on how he could "work circles" around them.
His love of Morgan Horses began early in life while still on the post at Fort Robinson. In 1953 he became one of Idaho's first breeders of registered Morgans. He was proud of the versatility of the breed and would tell anyone who'd listen that he "worked his show horses and showed his working horses." He trained many champions over the years, always believing the way to start was on the ground with love, trust and discipline. With wife Ellen they started the first chapter of the Morgan Horse Club in Northern Idaho. He served as president and vice-president of the organization for many years. He and Ellen were 4-H horse club leaders during the 1960s and 70s.
He was an inspiration to many young people who had an interest in horses in any way. Teaching them not only how to ride but, more important to him, was teaching them safety around their animals. During his years as 4-H leader he provided a riding arena to the community by transforming one of his pastures so one and all would have a place to ride. As leader of the Diamond-L 4-H club he, along with members and parents of the group built the first horse arena and facilities at the Nez Perce County Fairgrounds. Along with his activities in the Clearwater Valley Morgan Horse and Diamond-L 4-H clubs he was also a lifetime member of the 49ers Saddle Club. Horses were a way of life for Ray and almost every activity involved his beloved Morgans. Family outings included trail rides, horse shows and camping trips. In the fall the family would take those "show" horses to the mountains on hunting trips and use them to pack in the food and equipment and pack out the game. He was an avid deer and elk hunter and didn't consider a horse to be of much worth if it wasn't reliable in the mountains. Most of the family meat came from those hunting trips. He taught his family to hunt and to this day they enjoy those outings and the meat that comes from them. He also raised various breeds of cattle over the years, finally settling on Simmentals. He generally got top dollar for them at the livestock sales, but he often said "cows are for selling, deer are for eating."
He was well loved in the community. He would help a friend or neighbor before working on his own projects. He enjoyed helping others and was often away from home long hours assisting in any project where his hard work and expertise was always much appreciated. He will be missed by all who knew him.
A memorial service will be conducted at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17, at Tammany View Baptist Church, 3722 20th St., Lewiston, with pastor Tim Palmer Officiating. A meal will follow.