Robert James Ellingson, “Bob/R.J.”
June 7, 1923 – June 4, 2020
Robert James Ellingson “Bob/R.J.” died on June 4 peacefully surrounded by his family in his home of 52 years.
He was born on June 7, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois to Fortunata (née D’Amelio) Ellingson and Mark James Ellingson. After his father’s death in 1925, his Mother remarried to Alvin E. Meinicke and Robert gained 3 stepbrothers (John Edward, Alvin Richard, Robert Fred) and had a half-sister (Dorothy).
Bob served as Staff Sergent in the Army Air Corps from 1943-46 where he constructed and published psychological test forms for trainees. While serving, he earned the American Theater Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal and World War II Victory Medal.
R.J. was a brilliant and well-accomplished man. Graduating High School early, his Mother urged him to pursue drama school to be an actor like his father. He performed on several Chicago radio programs including the 1930s popular children’s serial, “Skippy”. Robert eventually ended up at Northwestern University where he earned his Liberal Arts degree in 1944, his Bachelors of Science in 1947, Master of Arts in 1949, Ph.D. in 1950 and lastly his M.D. at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in 1963.
Robert was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. During a function for returning WWII veterans held by the Alpha Delta Pi sorority in 1946, he met Marjorie “Marnie” Ann Shinn. From the first moment Bob saw her, he knew she was the sweetest girl in the world and the one he would marry.
Marnie and Bob married in Aurora, IL in 1948 and in 1950 moved to Omaha where Bob worked and taught for the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Marnie was an author. They lived in Dundee for several years, had a son, Eric, and a daughter, Julia. In 1968, they moved to West Omaha where they both were able to live their lives to the very end, thanks to the never-ending love and care of their son.
During his extensive career, Bob held too many titles to list, belonged to numerous organizations, received countless awards and recognitions, taught multitudinous students, wrote profusely in his field and traveled the world learning, teaching and researching. He focused his work in Neurology, Psychiatry, and Medical Psychology, specializing is sleep studies.
One of the organizations he worked the most with was the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology in which he served as president from 1981-1985.
He first retired in 1994 from University of Nebraska Medical Center. He later retired in 2002 from the Nebraska Health System ending his tenure with Clarkson Hospital•University Hospital, Methodist Hospital, Richard Young, and Creighton Medical Center. In his retirement letter he stated, “I have enjoyed my 52 years association with the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and 39 years on the Medical Staff.”
Bob loved classical music, particularly Mozart. You never dare asked for a vodka martini as he would let you know that a REAL martini was Gin – nothing else but a hint of dry vermouth. He and Marnie were avid Husker Fans (GO BIG RED!) and Frazier’s run at the end of the 3rd Quarter at Fiesta Bowl ’96 was his favorite Husker moment. He traveled extensively with his family and had lunch with the Queen as Marnie would like to recount, “while the children and I wandered lost and hungry around Bruges.”
Bob was preceded in death by his dear wife, Marnie in 2014, all his stepbrothers and his sister. He is survived by his adorable son, Eric Kerr Ellingson who served as his primary care giver and his wife Joan; his sweet daughter, Julia Ellingson-Schwerdtfeger and her husband, Jeff Schwerdtfeger, and his precious granddaughter Ella Ann Schwerdtfeger.
The family wishes to extend our sincere “thank you” to Kim Rolf and AseraCare Hospice, who took great care of Dad during his final days.
A Celebration of his Life will be held later this summer for family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in memory of Dr. Robert J. Ellingson to Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601 https://www.alz.org