Remembering Harlow Ellis

A. Harlow Ellis passed Sunday, October 15, at Falmouth, MA. A long time resident of St. John, he was born in Hyannis, MA, to Eva Harlow Ellis and Henry Hilton Ellis.

He was introduced to the world of automobiles by two Swiss men, Felix Bosshhard and Gaston Andrey, and together they formed a car racing team and mulitiple auto dealership in the Boston area. Harlow was a forerunner in the development of the electric car.

The Ellis Family moved to St. John in 1984, where Harlow was a past Commodore of the St. John Yacht Club and served on their board for several terms.

An avid golfer, Harlow was best known for his kindness, energy, enthusiasm and persistence both in his personal and professional life. Forever the entrepreneur and businessman, he was constantly looking for new ideas and projects to keep himself busy and to assist others. A simple question could lead into a very long philosophical discussion that would challenge anyone.

Anyone who has been kind enough to reveal his birth date and place knows exactly this feeling. And yes, Harlow was deeply involved in his astrology project until the day he passed. Yet it is for this that we all came to know and love him. His enthusiasm inspired us all.

A question to Harlow was met with respect, thought and action. If we felt we could not, he felt we could. Sometimes to the point where we wished we had not asked, but he had an exceptional manner of following up with a persistence that was aggravating yet done with kindness and in a manner that created action. More importantly, it let us know that he cared and was truly interested in us as individuals.

Beyond this, Harlow was a friend. He was always willing to lend a hand however he could and he truly loved his family and friends. He once told me that when his father died, the church could not hold everyone wishing to pay respect.

Yet, somehow I believe the same would be true of my father if everyone he touched could meet in one location. I saw it time and again after his passing while we were on the Cape and upon returning to St. John. People told me stories about times they had spent with him or adventures they had and each person had a glow in their eyes. A glow that said to me, “This was a man that truly touched us in a positive way and whom we will not forget.”

A loving husband and father, Harlow is survived by his wife Mary, son Matthew, step-children Todd and Jodi Burlingame, his brother Grant, his grandson Benjamin and brother-in-law Rob Crane.

A memorial gathering is planned for December 2, at 6 p.m. at home of Rob Crane in Frank Bay.

On behalf of my family, we sincerely thank everyone for their loving support and kindness during this difficult time. Words cannot express how truly thankful we are.    

In lieu of flowers, donations are asked to be sent to The St. John School of the Arts, P.O. Box  180, St. John, VI  00831.

– Matthew H. Ellis