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Winston Ellison, Vietnam Veteran Succumbs

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By Cheryl Brown

The United States Air Force was one of the proudest times in Winston Ellison's, life if you don’t count raising his children and his marriage to Charlotte Seymour Ellison.

Winston Earl Ellison, Jr. was born on November 15, 1940 in Kansas City, Kansas to Winston, Sr. and Geraldine Ellison. He was the oldest of six children.

Following his graduation from Sumner High School in 1959, he enlisted in the Air Force. It was peacetime after the Korean Conflict but before the Vietnam War.

He always spoke fondly of his military service saying many times that it met all of his expectations. Winston traveled all over the world. He was an aircraft mechanic and a Flight Engineer on the C-141 cargo airplane. For 20 years he proudly served his country.

After three years in the Air Force, the Vietnam War started. Following flight school training he flew to Vietnam every month until the end of the war in 1969.

Winston was a hero. He was on the next to the last plane lifting refugees out of Vietnam and his plane caught on fire as they were leaving. He received several meritorious service medals and other certificates too numerous to mention.

During his long bout with cancer, caused by his exposure to the Agent Orange defoliation chemical, he was upbeat. His response to any question regarding his health was always a big GREAT! "I feel great!" No matter the pain he experienced.

After his retirement from the service Winston met and married the former Charlotte Seymour. It was a marriage made in heaven and Winston wanted to share it with a child. Through his leadership they adopted a daughter.

He also had a thirst for education and in 1981 received his AA Degree from San Bernardino Valley College.

Winston went to work for Omnitrans as a coach operator. He loved his job and after surgery he returned to work for close to a year.

As a child, his family's church membership was with Trinity AME in Kansas City. Earlier this year he took a leap of faith and was baptized in the 16th Street Seventh Day Adventist Church. But he became the recipient of a personal experience with God two weeks before his passing when he was raised from his death bed, went to church, and testified to the goodness of God.

Winston was a jack of all trades and a master of all of them. He was a master plumber, taught by his father who owned a plumbing business. He could repair anything around the house or a car.

Even in his sickness he set his oxygen container down and pulled a motor out of a car. From making minor repairs to repairing transmissions he was able to do it all.

Winston enjoyed driving and fishing more than anything. Many days he’d be found fishing with a buddy or one of the many kids in his life. He enjoyed driving so much that even after lung surgery he drove twice to Kansas to visit his family.

His presence will be missed but his memory will live on in the hearts of his wife Charlotte of Loma Linda; daughters Stephanie (Steve) Keys of Los Angeles, Francyne "Renee" of New York City; sons Wells Forde of Fontana, Weldon Forde of Colton, Wade Forde of Loma Linda, Winston "Oliver" (Roshanna) of Loma Linda; daughter Tiffani of San Bernardino, mother Geraldine Ellison Darden; sisters Delores (Van) Williams, Judith (James) Roland; brothers Gerald (Maureen) of New York, Kenneth of Kansas City, Kansas; Loving mother and father-in-law Madeleine and Charles Seymour; six grandchildren; and a host of relatives and friends. His father and brother Donald preceded him in death.

Funeral services will be held Friday, January 17, 12:30 p.m. at 16th Street Seventh Day Adventist Church in San Bernardino.

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