Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Gary W. Ellis

SAXON, Wis. - Gary W. Ellis, 88, of Saxon, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024, in Beaver Dam.

Gary was born on Aug. 25, 1935, in Ashland, the son of the late Clarence and Hildur (Peterson) Ellis. He was a graduate of Saxon High School.

Gary was drafted into the U.S. Army and spent time as an MP in Frankfurt, Germany. After being honorably discharged from the Army, he returned to Saxon to run the family farm which he ran until 1989. After selling the farm, Gary worked a few different jobs in the area, including his final full-time job at the veneer mill in Mellen for 15 years.

On Nov. 9, 1968, Gary married Donna J. Damgard. They enjoyed 50 wonderful years together before she passed away on Nov. 23, 2018.

He was a longtime member of the American Legion Post 371 in Saxon, served on the Saxon Town Board and served for 18 years on the Iron County Board of Supervisors. He was a lifetime member of the Saxon Presbyterian Church.

To say Gary loved sports would be an understatement. He backed the Packers, Brewers, Bucks and Badgers, as well as local high school sports. The Hurley High School added an annual baseball trophy in his name for the player of the year. More often than not, Gary was watching sports on television as well as listening to the radio broadcast simultaneously. If anyone in Saxon had a sports question, Gary was their first call.

Gary will be dearly missed by his three children, Rori (Paul) Mattson, Reeseville, Shannon (Joe) Wendler, Wittenberg, and Ryan Ellis (Tanya Pankratz), Mellen; five grandchildren, Jeremy, Garrett, Cassidy, Cadence and Jase; a sister, Elaine Kaminske; two sisters-in-law, Dennice (Bill) Polencheck and Karen Damgard; numerous nephews, nieces and cousins; and many friends.

Besides his parents and wife, Gary was preceded in death by father-in-law and mother-in-law, Walter and Leone "'Blondie"' Damgard; two brothers-in-law, Emil Kaminske and Denny Damgard; and a grandson, Aaron Wendler.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Feb. 9, at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation at 10 a.m., at the First Presbyterian Church, 205 4th Ave. S., in Hurley, with the Rev. Dr. Ardyth Kovacevich Johnson officiating.

The family extends an invitation to gather at the Saxon Community Center for fellowship and food immediately following the service. Please contact Toni at 715-360-9494 regarding food donations for the luncheon.

A committal service, full military honors and interment will take place at the Lakeview Cemetery in Saxon, in the spring.

Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, Michigan, is assisting the family with arrangements. To send online condolences or to share a memory, please go to

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