Ellis John Civello Sr.
April 12, 1926 – May 12, 2020
On May 12, 2020 our Heavenly Father called home one of his rugged warriors, Ellis John Civello, Sr., age 94, after a prolonged and difficult five year end of life battle, to an everlasting, well-deserved, and peaceful rest. Ellis was born in Dallas, TX on April 12, 1926, the only child of Sam and Sadie Nancy Pinola Civello, and is survived by, in his own words, his “beautiful, loving, caring, faithful and dedicated wife”, Marion Runyon Civello of Wichita Falls and Dallas. His birth was on the occasion of his parents’ first wedding anniversary. Born a handful of years after the last great pandemic, and only three years old when the Great Depression struck, Ellis went on to graduate from Crozier Tech High School in Dallas on January 28, 1944. Less than a week later, on February 1, 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Our country was at war, and Ellis answered the call to active duty in March. After boot camp, he was assigned to the First Marine Division, “the Old Breed”, for further training in the South Pacific. On April 1, 1945, an Easter Sunday, the First Marine Division and U.S. forces under theater commander Adm. Chester Nimitz invaded Okinawa Island. During this engagement, one of the fiercest during World War II, Ellis traded in his M-1 Garand for a Thompson submachine gun. His mission: to protect the forward observer radioing back battlefield intel. The two were blasted and injured by a nearby artillery shell strike, but survived being thrown many yards and down into a bunker. He suffered injuries to his neck and hearing which stayed with him through life. In the final years before his passing, Ellis began to recount his experiences with a great sense of presence, even retracing his steps patrolling through the bombed-out remnants of Shuri Castle. After eighty-two days of combat engagement, the Battle of Okinawa was ended, and the island was secured. Also later in life Ellis spoke of his subsequent mission into China to assist in its liberation, remembering in amazing detail the landscapes and rivers, buildings and people. On December 10, 1948, Ellis married Marion Edith Runyon Civello. They enjoyed the bounty of an amazing 71 years of marriage, and were blessed with four wonderful children who survive him: Sam (wife Doreen), Dr. Ellis John Jr. (wife Tammy), Tony (wife Charlotte), and Missy (his favorite daughter!). Ellis and Marion were one of the founding families of St. Pius X Catholic Church, and they volunteered their time in abundance. Ellis was an usher for the Sunday 8:00 AM Mass at St. Pius for more than a decade, as well as a coach for baseball and basketball for many seasons, while Marion was a volunteer at St. Pius and then head of the school cafeteria for many years. Ellis and his wife were remembered fondly by the many school children who passed through their lives. Their friend and pastor of many years, the late Msgr. Thomas W. Weinzapfel, always spoke highly of Ellis and Marion when recalling the many years of their association with the parish. Ellis was the family patriarch and leader by example. He held steadfast to his Christian family values; his love of God and His Son Jesus Christ informed his life and was his Guiding Principle. His love of family flowed from this, and no sacrifice was too great for him. To further support their values, Ellis and Marion worked long hours so their children could attend St. Pius X Catholic Grade School, and then Bishop Lynch High School, both of which they supported from their earliest days as institutions. The dedication to family did not cease with child rearing and obtaining for his children the best possible education. It continued on for decades under his guidance through many family reunions and holiday gatherings, both large and small. Sharing of food, fun, and renewing family ties were first and foremost in the decades of these gatherings; the family patriarch would have it no other way. Through all of his life, Ellis remained a devout Catholic and role model of devotion to family. While predeceased by his parents, Ellis was survived by not only his wife and children, of whom he was so exceptionally proud, but also by his eleven loving grandchildren: Sam (wife Ashley), Andy, and Lt. Dan of the DFD (wife Jordan); Michael, Jacqulin and Dominic; Jeremy (wife Deanna), Jennifer and Josh; Phillip and Alessia. He was also blessed with and survived by ten great grandchildren: Hogan and Griffin, Emma and Olivia, Hunter and Haley, Rush and Raegan, Ford David and Sawyer Ellis. While services at Calvary Hill Chapel and the DFW National Cemetery are delayed due to the current pandemic, his wife Marion, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren invite you to remember and celebrate in your hearts and prayers one of the Old Breed and the Greatest Generation, Corporal Ellis John Civello, Sr.
Ellis John Civello Sr.
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May 21, 2020
Our condolences to the entire Civello family in their time of loss. Growing up with them I have great memories of them all including their Dad. He will be missed but will be in our prayers.
Richard and Jane Lorenz.
May 20, 2020
The Jim and Anna Murphy siblings from the St. Pius X, Bill, George, Pat and Rosey extend our condolences to the Civello family with the passing of your father, Ellis John Civello, Sr. Back in the day, there was hardly an early Sunday mass at St. Pius, that didn't have a Murphy or Civello ushering. I can remember Sammy being a huge New York Yankee fan, while I loved the Milwaukee Braves. Your dad and ours were always coaching, boy scouting or just being part of our lives at St. Pius and Bishop Lynch.
Discipline was part of our lives back then and we were known to have some pretty strict parents; but, in a lot of ways we needed it.
Our dad too is gone now and we will always miss him. Their passing makes you miss them even more now that they are no longer here to talk to, to offer advice and guidance and just be your dad.
We'll miss Mr. Civello and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Bill, George, Pat and Rosey Murphy
May 20, 2020
To AuntMarion and all the Civello family, my sincere condolences .
I have fond memories of Uncle Ellis. I remember he was always quick to laugh. Whenever we drove to Texas from Pennsylvania we always saw Ellis and Aunt Marion. I was grateful when they attended my mother's funeral, it was a long ways to come. It is strange that just last week i told my wife Cynthia I wondered how Ellis and Marion were doing. He had a long and wonderful life. He will be missed. Carlos
Lora Rios- McBride
May 19, 2020
I have have fond memories of Uncle Ellis. When I was growing up we would take the long car ride from Pennsylvania to Texas to see family. Dallas was our first stop when we hit Texas. I remember the family get togethers - much laughter and love. Though the distance was far - the trips were always wonderful . In later years we saw our Texas family periodically - and the warmth was always there. Uncle Ellis will be missed.
May 18, 2020
Memories of Uncle Ellis for me will always be of a gracious and friendly man who generously included Ann and Me in Civello family gatherings and with whom I shared a common Marine Corps bond. I still remember with reverence when he took me aside to give me a lapel pin with the USMC and USA crossed flags that he bestowed on each of his fellow, living Marine friends. Clearly God had other important plans for Ellis when he went ashore on Iwo Jima. Though severely wounded he survived and was able to return to Marion and live an exemplary and full life filled with family, service, and an always willing smile and an open & helping hand. The sorrow of his passing is tempered only by the celebration of the lives he and Marion created and those of us he touched.
Ann and I offer our most heartfelt condolences to Marion and all the Civello family. Your sorrow is our sorrow as well. You are in our hearts and prayers.
May 17, 2020
I have very fond memories of Ellis, he was always so kind to me and I will never forget that smile! I can still remember the Thanksgiving we all spent together and the game of football we all had after. His grilling abilities were second to none and he taught how to cook a steak to perfection. My thoughts go out to all of you and I hope that someday after this crisis ends we can see each other so we can share all our great memories of Ellis in person.
My deepest condolences ,
May 17, 2020
To all the Civello family, our most sincere condolences in the loss of Uncle Ellis. Such a warm and caring man and husband, we always enjoyed our time with him on our visits to Dallas. He had the best smile! We wish you all the the best as you go through this time of grief. A group virtual hug is sent and a larger sendoff may need to happen later as we all go through these strange times. Stay safe and well!