Obituary: Charles Ela
December 23, 1928 – April 8, 2022
Charles “Skip” Ela
Charles Sumner “Skip” Ela passed away in the caring comfort of Hope West Hospice on April 8th after a brief illness. He was 93, the youngest and last surviving of 5 remarkable Ela brothers, sons of W.D. and Lucy Ferril Ela of Grand Junction. His brothers took him to the circus when he was 8 where he was fascinated by a clown named Skippy. He adopted the name and has been known as Skip or Skippy ever since.
Skip grew up in Grand Junction. He graduated from Grand Junction High School in 1947, took classes at Mesa Junior College and then served in the US Air Force for four years. He returned to Grand Junction after his honorable discharge to help care for his ailing father. Skip spent two summers working in Yellowstone National Park where his brother, Tom, was a ranger before starting a career with Mountain Bell, the phone company. That job took him to Aspen in 1963 where he has resided until this year, becoming a fixture in the Aspen community. His working career finished with 15 years at the Snowmass Ski Area working for the Aspen Ski Company.
Skip loved living in Aspen. He had lots of golfing buddies there and, in particular, valued the friends he made as a longtime member of the Aspen Elks Lodge. He was also a proud member of the Eagles and Masons. Skip greatly appreciated the help he got from his fellow Elks as he got to be older and frailer. A case of his favorite Budweiser appeared on his doorstep for his 93rd birthday. Skip was able to live independently as long as he did thanks to those friends and to his caring neighbors. Also much appreciated was the kind help he received in his final days from the St. Mary’s ICU staff and the Hope West staff as well as the staff at The Lodge assisted living facility.
Skip was preceded in death by his 4 brothers, Capt. D.K. Ela (USN), Thomas F. Ela (US Park Service), Wendell P. Ela (USMC, killed in action WWII) and Judge William M. Ela. He is survived by 11 nieces and nephews and their extended families. A celebration of Skip’s life will be held in Aspen at a later date.
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