Joe Alan Ellenberger, 93, died November 29th, 2021.
Central Illinois’ golf community lost a long time Pro with the passing of Joe Ellenberger. Joe and his wife Pat, managed Hazy Hills Golf Course for over 30 years. A friend said of him “When Joe hit the golf ball, even at his age, the sound of the club face hitting the ball was so pure, I had to smile.”
Joe was born September 15th, 1928, in Forest City, IL, to S. Horace and Mayme Ellenberger. The second oldest of four children, his family moved to Gridley, IL when he was two. Joe was quite the catch in high school as class president, Yearbook editor, he acted in plays and musicals, and lettered in four sports. Joe married “the prettiest girl in school”, Pat Ethington. Their marriage produced two children, Patti and Tom, and lasted for over 70 years. As a graduation gift from his father, Joe took pilot lessons. He later used his license to fly an ultralight plane he and Tom built. Joe and his father opened the Philips 66 Oil and Gas station in Gridley, selling oil in bulk for distribution for local farms, gas stations, and residential heating oil. After 20 years in the oil industry, Joe made a career move to manage El Paso Golf Club. He later went on to be a member of the U.S. Golf Association as a licensed Golf Professional. Joe was also a member of the Central Illinois Golf Course Superintendent Association.
Joe was a humble man of few words. He scored two hole-in-ones, a feat that most would brag about, but not him. In retirement, Joe would still golf, shoot pool, and make sure his lawn and garden were immaculate. Joe was a devoted husband to Pat. When she entered the nursing home, Joe would visit daily, and always have her favorite candy. Pat passed in May of this year. It gives his family great comfort knowing that they are happily reunited.
Joe is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Pat; parents, Horace and Mayme (Etherton) Ellenberger; siblings, Larry Ellenberger, Jane Gramm, and Mary Ann Carlson. Joe leaves behind daughter, Patti (Larry) Uphoff, and son, Tom (Michelle) Ellenberger; Joe was “Gramp” to five devoted grandchildren: Chrissie (Todd) Strong, Sam (Toni) Uphoff, Ed (Michelle) Uphoff, Mike Uphoff, and Dorothy Uphoff; Seven great grandchildren; and three great-great grandchildren.
Joe was authentic, intelligent, easy going, and hard working. His kind smile and soft laugh will be missed.
A private family memorial will be held in spring at Hazy Hills Golf Course for both Joe and Pat. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. Online tributes and condolences may also be made at www.ruestmanharrisfuneralhome.com.