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A graveside service for Richard A. Ellerby, M.D., 78, of Coos Bay will be held at 1:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 22, at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.
Richard "Rich" A. Ellerby was born July 2, 1940 in Portland. He was the beloved son of the late Joseph Ellerby and Helen Ellerby (Steen). He passed away unexpectedly Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, after bravely fighting a long illness.
Richard was a lifelong resident of Oregon, living in Portland, Corvallis, and later, Coos Bay. After graduating from high school, he went on to attend Oregon State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in June of 1962. Richard was a brilliant and profoundly accomplished physician. He attended medical school at Oregon State Health Sciences University, followed by internship at Emmanuel Hospital and Health Center in Portland. He entered residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in both Internal Medicine and Oncology, followed by fellowship at the University of Wisconsin in Medical Oncology. Richard also held several research, faculty, and teaching positions over the years at the University of Wisconsin, Emmanuel Hospital and Health Center, Good Samaritan Hospital and Health center, and his alma mater, Oregon Health and Sciences University. Additionally, he published prolifically from 1973 to 1989. He served as the Medical Director of Emmanuel Hospital and Health Center from 1985 to 1989.
Richard’s numerous professional accomplishments include serving in the U.S. Air Force in active duty from 1967 to 1969, where he achieved the rank of Captain. He later joined the Oregon Air U.S. National Guard from 1973 to 1990, achieving the rank of Colonel Commander with the 142 USAF Clinic. He was especially proud of his concurrent time as a Command Flight Surgeon (1973-1990), where he logged over 1,000 hours of flight time in fighter aircraft.
It is impossible to overstate what an incredibly gifted and caring physician Richard was in his civilian life, where he specialized in oncology. His son, Chris, recounts many days as a child when his dad would take him to the hospital with him on rounds. He was always touched and impressed by his father’s dedication and empathy toward his patients. He was known to even check up on them at home if he knew they were alone, something almost unheard of in modern healthcare. He retired from medicine in 2000, though he stayed extremely active in numerous professional organizations and committees, acting as a lecturer and moderator, and serving as Program Director for the Southern Oregon Oncology Symposium, which was later named in his honor as the Rich Ellerby Oncology Symposium. Additionally, he was a member of the U.S. Air Force Association, the Military Officers Association of America, and the Commanders Club of Disabled American Veterans.
In his spare time, Richard was an avid golfer, gardener, fly fisherman, and former president of the Flyfishers' Club of Oregon, and was known to spend hours carefully and skillfully tying his own flies. He was also a gifted tennis player, winning championships in both high school and college, and had the honor of playing against Arthur Ashe while serving in the Air Force.
Richard is survived by his partner of 22 years, Judy Gilbert; his son, Chris; and his older brother, Joseph Ellerby Jr.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Helen; his sister, Mary; and his brother, Robert.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University), 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd, Portland, OR 97239.
Arrangements are under the care of Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131.
Friends and family are encouraged to sign the online guestbook at www.coosbayareafunerals.com and www.theworldlink.com.