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Dr. Dick Ellis, 1928-2020

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Fort Worth  – Dick Gibbs Ellis, MD, 92, of Fort Worth died Sunday, July 12, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Funeral service will be private.

Dick Gibbs Ellis, MD was born in a Muskogee, Oklahoma hospital on April 24, 1928 to Dewey Gibbs Ellis and Bess Bobo Ellis as their third & last child.  In March, 1930, the family moved to Wellington, Texas where Mrs. Ellis had two sisters living. Dick attended public schools there and graduated from WHS in 1945. He was class President his junior year.  He was a Boy Scout & a member of the Sons of the American Legion.  He joined the Baptist Church while in high school.  His employers during high school were the Pruden Drug, the Palace Drug, & the Wooldridge Lumber Company.  He played cornet in the school band. He then attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas for three years & was the Student Assistant to Dr. Cornelia Smith, Chairman of the Biology Department. He worked for the National Park Service in Yosemite National Park the summer of 1948.  After completing the first year at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston (June 1949), he received a BS from Baylor-Waco. He was House Manager for the Phi Chi Fraternity   his junior year.  He spent the summers of 1950 & 1951 as an extern at the Wichita Falls State Hospital (mental), which was a beneficial experience.  He received  his MD in June 1952 and soon began his Internship at St. Louis City Hospital #1. He followed this with a year of General Surgery residency, and then married Katherine Louise Kalisek in August of 1954.

He entered the US Air Force in 1954 and then spent most of the 24 months time in the London suburbs at the 3911th  USAF Infirmary, which  he served as Commander. During the 21 months there, he & his wife were able to travel western Europe very well.  Their first child, Derek, was born in March of 1956.

Following his discharge from the USAF in August 1956, he returned to St Louis City Hospital as a resident in General Surgery, completing that in June 1960. A second child,  David, was born in April of 1957.  Dr. Ellis was Chief Surgical Resident at City Hospital for 18 months and at the Ellis Fischel State Cancer Hospital for 6 months.

His grandparents lived in Rhome, Texas (Wise County) and in the Avondale community of Tarrant County. He always wanted to live & practice in this area. He then (1960-1963) practiced General Surgery with a group in Fort Worth for 3 years, during which time he became certified by the American Board of Surgery. A daughter, Anita, was born in June of 1962.  In late December of 1963, the family moved to Columbus, Ohio for 18 months & Dr. Ellis was a Fellow in Pediatric Surgery with Dr. H. William Clatworthy at  the Columbus Childrens Hospital.   In July 1965 he returned to Fort Worth as Tarrant County’s first fellowship trained Pediatric Surgeon, and first Pediatric Sub­ Specialist.

He was a member of  the following organizations: Tarrant County Medical Society, Texas Medical Association, AMA, Fort Worth Surgical Society, Texas Surgical Society, American College  of  Surgeons, Fort Worth Pediatric Society, Texas Pediatric Society, Texas Society of Pediatric  Surgeons,  American  Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] (Surgery & Urology Sections), American College of Pediatricians, Lilliputian Surgical Society, British Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA).   He is still the only Texan elected President of APSA, the principal organization for Pediatric Surgeons in the USA and Canada. He was an Honorary Member of the Polish & Turkish Pediatric Surgical Societies. He served as President of the Fort Worth Surgical Society, the Texas Society of Pediatric Surgeons, the Surgical Section of the AAP, APSA, & the Lilliputian Surgical Society.  He was elected to two non-consecutive terms as Treasurer of APSA, the only APSA member to hold the same office twice.

In 1975, he was in the first group to be examined and to receive a Certificate of Special Competence in Pediatric Surgery from the American Board of Surgery.  He recertified this “board” several times, the last of which was after his retirement.  He was an examiner for the ACGME (graduate education) which certified Pediatric Surgical training programs. He was Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Texas – Southwestern ­ Health Science Center.

He was on the Medical Staff of many area hospitals in order to see consultations. He participated in the care of many infants & children at John Peter Smith Hospital, especially in the early years. He gave surgical presentations to many area medical staffs and societies.  He initiated the Grand Rounds at Cook Childrens & made the first presentation. Nationally, he presented a scientific paper to every organization to which he belonged.  He had over a dozen scientific publications in national surgical journals. He was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery for ten years.   He was Guest Editor for Pediatric Annals.

He served three years on the Development Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was on the Grievance Committee of the Tarrant County Medical Society for nine years, a group to whom he was never reported. In 1996, the Tarrant County Medical Society awarded him the Gold Headed Cane, their once a year to one physician award.

Locally, he served as Chairman of the March of Dimes, Chairman of the American Cancer Society, and he was on the Founding Board of the Ronald McDonald House.  He was on the Board at Casa Manana for 15 years and on the Outdoor Sporting Committee & Wednesday Wine Committee      at the Fort Worth Club for years. He made two medical mission trips to Guatemala, and was the Grand Maitre of the Confrerie St. Etienne, an Alsatian wine society, for six years.  He held an Advanced Amateur Radio rating with call letters WBSDMQ, and was a Kilocycle Club member. He served as Ship Physician on the famous sailing vessel Seacloud ten times, and on other ships ten additional times.

Eventually he and his wife visited all seven continents and over 100 countries. He hunted in Canada and Mexico, as well as several states. He fished the Rio Negra in Brazil, the Lake llliamna area in Alaska, for sailfish in Acapulco, & for other fish in several places in Colorado, as well as Texas.

Dr. Ellis was very anxious to develop & promote Fort Worth as a medical center for infants & children. For 25 years, beginning with the first class, he lectured to the junior class students at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. When the present Cook Hospital opened in 1989, he arranged a symposium that brought 50 USA Pediatric Surgeons to Cook.  Speakers included three internationally known Pediatric Surgeons   from Harvard, UCLA, & Dublin Ireland. A similar symposium was arranged three years later at Cook, again with an excellent response. Over time, 20 internationally known Pediatric Surgeons were his guests at Cook. When the two Childrens Hospitals in Fort Worth merged in 1985, the Medical-Dental staff had been merged for two years. Dr. Ellis was President elect & President of the Medical-Dental Staff during the merger, and served on both the “Ad Hoc Committee on Unification” and the new By-Laws committee. The merger process was described in “W.I. Cook Childrens Hospital-The Middle Years”, a book he authored about Cook Childrens on Lancaster Avenue.

He was predeceased by his parents and both sisters, as well as by a son, Derek Ellis, DDS.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Kay Ellis; by his son, David Ellis, MD of Dallas; his daughter, Anita E. Harton, JD, LLM, of Atlanta Georgia; and by seven grandchildren and seven great-­grandchildren.

Obituary from Hawkins Funeral Home

https://www.hawkinsfuneralhomes.com/obituary/Dick-EllisMD

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