Richard Mason “Dick” Ellinwood, 95, of Norwich, NY and Safety Harbor, FL passed away peacefully with family members by his side on Thursday, August 15, 2019, in Safety Harbor.
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Born on June 2, 1924, in Norwich, Dick was the son of Robert and Margaret (McPherson) Ellinwood. After graduating from Norwich High School with the Class of 1941, Dick went on to attend the University of Michigan, where he completed Naval ROTC training. His college education was interrupted when he was called to active duty in 1944, was commissioned as a Navy Ensign and served during World War II. His Naval ship assignments included tours in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, as well as the Philippines, Guadalcanal, Okinawa and support for the invasion at Normandy.
Dick was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946 and continued at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy where he completed his college degree. In 1947, he returned home to Norwich and was employed by the Norwich Pharmacal Company where he would meet the love of his life and bride-to-be, Alice Anne Rowley. On October 16, 1948, in Utica, Dick married Alice and they enjoyed a wonderful life together until Alice passed on July 8, 2014, after 65 years of marriage. Together they would raise their three children, Peggy, Charlie and Susan.
In 1948, Dick joined his father in the family business, Ellinwood Auto Parts, and became owner and President until his retirement in 1996. His commitment to the automotive service industry and providing services to customers were a source of great joy and satisfaction. It was not uncommon for him to get calls at home for assistance after store hours and he never said “no” to helping out someone in need. His support and generosity were uncompromising and were recognized by all who worked with him.
In addition to being a devoted husband, father and entrepreneur, Dick also proudly served his community. He served as the Leader of Boy Scout Troop 63 and in 2003 was honored by the Baden-Powell Council of the Boy Scouts of America with its Distinguished Citizens Award. Dick served as an officer and board member of the Norwich Rotary, Tri-County AAA Motor Club, and as board member and president of the Chenango County Chamber of Commerce. He also served on Chamber committees including the Small Business Council, Personnel Committee, Executive Committee and was Chairman of the Chamber Board in 1989. Dick worked tirelessly with other community leaders toward the planning and creation of what became the Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich, where he saw its doors open to the public in 1997 and where he served as board and executive committee member, as well as board President from 2001-02. He also served as a board member and then President of the NYS Automotive Wholesalers Association. In 1994 he was elected to the New York State Automotive Wholesalers “Hall of Fame.” Dick had also served as a board director of Chenango Memorial Hospital, Town of Norwich IDA, Astoria Federal and the BOCES Advisory Board. In 2018, Dick was elected to the “Greater Norwich Golfer’s Hall of Fame” at Canasawacta Country Club for his many contributions to charitable golf events such as the Father Festa Annual Golf Tournament.
In addition to his family, what Dick enjoyed most was his passion for outdoor sports, including golf, mountain biking, sailing and downhill skiing. He was an amazing inspiration while still competing in downhill ski racing at the age of 83 and finally gave up his mountain bike at the age of 84. Only weeks before his passing, he was still practicing his putting on the green at his residence at Stratford Court. All who knew Dick will say that he was just a fun guy to be around because he was always open to some type of adventure be it golfing with his buddies in Hershey, PA, skiing at Labrador and Gore Mountains, or bringing friends together at their summer camp at Genegantslet Lake for a pig roast. He knew how to have fun and his laughter and can-do attitude were infectious. One of his favorite adventures was when, at the age of 16, he purchased a 1923 Willys automobile for $25 and with his good friend, Bub Charters, decided to take a road trip to Long Island. They were stopped by police in New York City and because they were not 18 were told they had to return home and, fortunately, without a ticket. His memory of this exciting adventure has been shared countless times and hearing him tell it never got old.
Ultimately, Dick was all about love for his family and he took great pride in his marriage to Alice, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as many extended relatives. Dick was predeceased by his parents, Robert and Margaret Ellinwood; wife, Alice and granddaughter, Maureen Ellinwood Pluvinage. He is survived by his children, Peggy (Bob) Raynor, of Safety Harbor, FL, Charlie (Rosemary) Ellinwood, of Summit, NJ, and Susan (Greg) McBride, of Safety Harbor, FL; grandchildren Christie (Sol) Cohen of Sudbury, MA, Catherine (Charlie) Nettleton of Rye, NY, Charles M. Ellinwood of Hoboken, NJ; grandson-in-law Mathieu Pluvinage of Zurich, Switzerland; great-grandchildren Myles Cohen and Asher Cohen of Sudbury, MA, Scott Nettleton and Caroline Nettleton of Rye, NY; brother-in-law, Dr. Joseph Rowley, of Ithaca, NY, and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial Mass for Dick will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 7, 2019, at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Norwich, NY, where he was a member for many years. A private committal service will follow at West Hill Cemetery, in Sherburne. There will be no calling hours.
To remember Dick, please consider a donation to the Northeast Classic Car Museum at 24 Rexford Street in Norwich, NY 13815.