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We Mourn the Passing of Eric Ellis, Dear Friend and Community Member

Published September 22nd, 2018 in Community Perspectives

By Peter Moore

Hello friends, Peter here. I have known Eric Ellis for more than 20 years. I would like to tell you a little about him now.

Back in 1997, Eric came to Breitenbush. His first job was to update the Breitenbush events database, converting it from a rather primitive Microsoft Excel DB to a comprehensive File Maker Pro DB. Among other tasks in the Events Team, Eric worked at this complex conversion for four years. His developed expertise in this, combined with great aptitude and attitude, led to him being hired into the role of Marketing Director for a couple of years in the late 1990s.

Eric left Breitenbush in 2001 to pursue other interests, the dominant ones being two-fold. First, he was a committed spiritual seeker. In this time he connected with a celebrated author, Catherine Ingram, author of “In the Footsteps of Gandhi” and other books. For some years he managed her events calendar and other details. His other interest was real estate. Eric’s innate skills with clear communication, numbers and contractual covenants all combined in Portland where he became quite successful as a real estate broker.

Eric returned to Breitenbush in 2010 and remained here since then. Once again he applied his skills in programming to solve a vast array of outstanding little problems, including filling in some holes that BLISS (Breitenbush Living Information Sharing System) did not address. In 2012, Eric was hired into a unique job on the Admin Team called “Team Support”. Ever the documentarian, he developed the Info Tab, various “Tickler” alerts, and many other systems that help our Office, Events, Finance, Personnel, IS and other workers. He was the rare person who could pass effortlessly between the digital realm of the “back end” and the practical management realm of the “front end”, meaning that he could as easily be the worker behind the desk as the developer of the systems that worker worked with. He filled in regularly for Office and Events teams. Eric was also an awesome trainer for Office workers, Event Coordinators, Personnel persons and others, including Board members. He was probably the most effective and successful writer of proposals in the history of Breitenbush, developing the Elder policy, Parental Leave policy, Car Share policy, and other complex policies that support workers in the co-op life.

In his years living and working with the Breitenbush Co-op, Eric was entrusted with many important jobs. In addition to his roles in the Events Team including Marketing Director, and the Admin Team as Bookkeeper and Team Support, he was at various times elected to serve on the Community Council, the Board of Directors and the Facilities Council, among others. Every job performance evaluation on file for him is “Excellent”. A note from his 2014 Annual Evaluation sums it up: “Excellent work with FMP, organized, focused, calm, and has clarity in seeing to the heart of things. Easy to work/share space with. Helpful, fun to work with, great proposals. Brings joy into the workplace and community, very competent.”