Senator Michael G. Ellis

July 20, 2018

Former Wisconsin State Senator, Michael G. Ellis, age 77 passed away at his home on Friday, July 20, 2018. Mike was born on February 21, 1941 in Neenah, the son of Howard and Marie (Gruper) Ellis. Mike attended St Patrick’s Catholic Grade School in Menasha, Neenah High School and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where he received his Bachelor degree in political science and history.  Mike excelled in basketball and football while in high school.  During the summer months he worked as a life guard at the Neenah swimming pool and also supervised the ice rink and toboggan slide.   After graduation, Mike became a teacher at St Mary’s High School, Menasha where he taught history and politics.  

In 1969 he began his political career and was elected to the Neenah City Council.   During this time Mike met the love of his life, Sandy and they were married in 1971.   They bought their present property and established Ellis Quarter Horses.   While serving on the Neenah City Council, he was elected to the State Assembly representing the 55th district and was eventually elected to the State Senate.  Mike held several positions in the legislature including Senate Minority and Majority Leader  and Senate President.  He holds the distinction of being the longest serving Republican in the state’s history.  He was proud that he never lost an election in his life. 

One of Mike’s greatest strengths and sometimes weakness was his blunt way of sharing his thoughts and beliefs regarding life and politics.   

Mike is survived by his wife Sandra, his brothers and sisters, Bettie Spethman, Omaha, NE, David (Mary) Ellis, Neenah, WI, Jean Ellis Sankari, Taos, NM, Robert Michael (Elke) Ellis, Neenah, WI, and Mark (Sue) Ellis, Neenah, WI, and one sister-in-law; Sylvia Ellis, Columbus, GA and many nieces and nephews,  In addition to his parents, Mike was preceded in death by his brothers Howard, Patrick (Dick) and Thomas Joseph Ellis as well as two brothers-in-law; Farouk Sankari and Edward Spethman and one sister-in-law; Joan Ellis.

A very casual gathering to celebrate Mike’s life will be held at Bridgewood Best Western Resort, 1000 Cameron Way, Neenah on Tuesday, August 7th from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm with a memorial tribute at 7:30.  In lieu of flowers, a memorial is being established.


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