Cover photo for Donald L. Ellison's Obituary
Donald L. Ellison Profile Photo
1933 Donald 2024

Donald L. Ellison

May 27, 1933 — January 24, 2024

Don's service will be live streamed to our funeral home Facebook page. We will begin livestreaming before the service begins. To find the video, please click the link and livestream will appear on our Facebook page:

Donald Lee Ellison of Rising City, Nebraska, was called to his heavenly home with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, January 24th, at the age of ninety. Or as he would like to say, during his 91st trip around the sun. He was blessed to have been able to spend his final days surrounded by loved ones at David Place, senior living center.

Donald was born on May 27, 1933, in Topeka, Kansas to Firman Allen and Florance Edna Roberts Ellison. Their family moved to Waco, Nebraska where they ran the York County Youth Baseball League. After graduating from Waco High School, Don went on to attend York College where he fell in love with Ramona Anne Burgett, his wife of 65 years.

Don volunteered for the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was deployed to Panama as a radioman. He distinguished himself in the Caribbean Theater Army basketball competition.

Upon his return home, Don attended the University of Nebraska which brought him a true sense of pride. He was an outstanding gymnast and became a member of the N Club by receiving his letter in gymnastics. He spent his summers working for the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad line through the Moffat Tunnel and as a brakeman through the Royal Gorge both in Colorado.

Don and Ramona were married in Beverly, Kentucky on August 23, 1958. They moved to Gresham where Don worked on a farm and they welcomed daughter, Brenda Jo to their little family. They moved to Rising City where Don worked in Farmer's State Bank as an insurance agent and where they added Bradford Lee and Beth Anne to increase the number in their family to five.

Don took over Farmer's State Bank in 1971 and was the president until 1986. Both he and Ramona were Shaklee supervisors for many years. He was always eager to share the wonders of Basic-H and Vitamin C with anyone who would listen. They earned their vehicles for many years by way of the Shaklee business. The other business venture he enjoyed was with Nebraska Pure Water. He worked the state fair for many years and put many a mile on his beloved vans traveling the state installing and servicing the distillers that he sold.

Don lived a very service oriented life, becoming deeply ingrained in the community not just in Rising City but the surrounding area. He served on the Rising City School Board as treasurer for 29 years. Don started working with the Educational Service Unit #7 as an auditor and was elected to the board in July of 1971. He served as president from 1986 until 2020. He continued his time on the board until just this past year when he stepped down. He received special recognition for 50 years of service. He was very proud of that. On his 70th birthday, he was named an Admiral of the great navy of the State of Nebraska. It is the state’s highest civic honor bestowed upon individuals by approval of the governor.

Of all Don’s service, the area in which he took greatest pride was Boy Scouting. He began his years of leadership in 1969 when his son, Brad became a scout. Brad and two grandsons, Micah and Josiah, became Eagle Scouts as did many other boys with his guidance. Among his many awards and distinctions were Order of the Arrow, Silver Beaver, Wood Badge, and the 75 year award. He attended four World Jamborees, the latest of which was in 2019 and he never missed a National Scout Jamboree, which he proudly took his grandsons to. He was a leader with the Boy Scouts of America until his death.

Don made the best of his time with Farmer’s State Bank, Shaklee, scouting and the Educational Service Unit facilitating his travel, attending many conventions. A collector at heart, he collected many treasures from the convention vendors which he thoughtfully gifted to family members and friends.

Over the years he mentored many young people both in his home and outside. First were his cousins that he often brought home from college to spend a weekend. Second, in an attempt to keep them connected to the family, were his brothers’ children. Then came Young Song. Some of you knew him as Albert Bahr. He spent so much time in his home that he became a son to Don & Ramona. There followed his great nephews. And next, there were the exchange students, Pedro Tavares, Maria (Claussen) Hopkins and Klaus Schmerler. Not only did Don and Ramona host these three, but he was also close to many of the other exchange students in the area. And finally, there were his beloved Boy Scouts.

Don had exactly two hobbies. Skiing and puttering around in his basement. He enjoyed skiing with his family and anyone he could take to Colorado. There was at least one trip each year and they always included family, friends of his kids, exchange students or extended family and friends. Quite often these trips included a stop at Casa Bonita before heading up the mountain.

Don was a faithful member of the Rising City United Methodist Church for over 60 years and a quiet man of faith, exuding the attributes of God.

Don is survived by his wife Ramona and children, Brenda (Bob) Givan, Brad (Maggy) Ellison, Beth Anne (David) Philson, and Young (Tami) Song. Grandchildren: Parker Givan, Ceilidh Givan, Cara (Christopher) Pedone and their daughter, Tahlia; Noah Philson, Micah Philson, Josiah Philson, Elijah (Anastasia) Philson and their sons, John and James Philson; Truman Song and Juliana (Matthew) Carter. Also surviving are: his sisters, Mary Jean (Loren) Stuhr, Ruth Ann Sargent, and Dorothy Mae Westphal; sisters-in-law, Ellen Jones and Janet Swanson; 6 nieces, 6 nephews, 11 great nieces, 16 great nephews and their spouses, 9 great-great nieces, 15 great-great nephews, and 1 great-great-great nephew. All held Don in the highest regard. He is preceded in death by his parents, his two brothers, Bill and Bob, 3 brothers-in-law, a niece, 2 nephews and a great great niece.

Condolences can be sent to Ramona Ellison, 260 S 10th St, #214, David City, NE 68632-2032, or to , Beth Philson at
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald L. Ellison, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, February 2, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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Funeral Lunch

Friday, February 2, 2024

Starts at 12:00 pm (Central time)

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