Bruce Ellingsen obituary (1940 – 2021) – Spokane, WA


Bruce A. Ellingsen
Bruce was born on February 4, 1940 in Spokane, WA to Virginia (Kuhn) and Carl ‘Tuffy’ Ellingsen. He died at sunset on October 6 surrounded by his family.
Bruce grew up in the Hillyard neighborhood. He was a co-adjutant of the class of 1958 at Rogers High School and an athlete in three sports, winning All-City Quarterback honors. Following his father’s legendary coaching advice, he “kept his head up and an eye on the game,” pursuing academic excellence at Washington State University and playing the quarterback on the side. It was at WSU that he made lifelong friends in House Beta who will always remember their good times with Brucie and his quick wit. After only three years at WSU, Bruce received his MD with Distinction from Washington University School of Medicine and completed his ophthalmology training and glaucoma fellowship at Harvard. Bruce was a respected physician and surgeon at the Spokane Eye Clinic for over 30 years and a mentor to many.
Bruce was an innovator and a visionary leader. While at Harvard, he conducted groundbreaking research on glaucoma and then introduced non-penetrating glaucoma surgery to the United States. He also introduced refractive eye surgery to the Spokane region. In 2005, WSU awarded Bruce the Alumni Achievement Award for his academic achievement, medical practice, community involvement, and commitment to WSU.
Bruce has had many successes in his life academically and professionally, but he has always said his greatest achievement is his family. Bruce met the love of his life, Kathleen Henry, in high school. Although he fell asleep on their first date, Kathleen saw something special about him that blossomed into 59 years of marriage, three children, nine grandchildren and countless memories. The family especially enjoyed the summers at Hayden Lake and the many fishing and camping adventures they have shared over the years. He was a kind, supportive, wise and dedicated husband, father, brother, dad and friend who will be sorely missed – you have been so wonderful with us!
Bruce is survived by his wife Kathleen; children Eric (Tricia), Kathryn Picanco (Kevin) and Karen Janout; grandchildren Max, Alex, Kate, Julia, Trevor, Radek, Dominik, Mirek and Nela; brothers Jim (Tekla) and Don (Lani) and their families; and the extended Henry family, whom he always considered his own. The family expresses their gratitude to Koleti, Maata, Maki and Jayme, who lovingly assisted in his care during his final months.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Saturday, November 20 at 2:30 p.m. at the Manito Country Club. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Bruce Ellingsen Scholastic Advancement Fund which will support established charities aimed at the advancement of students for the community of North East Spokane. All gifts must be payable to: Schwab Charitable with note from: FBO Bruce Ellingsen Scholastic Advancement Fund.
Please send a letter to:
Twenty Twenty Investment Advisors, LLC.
Attention: Bruce Billeter
P.O. Box 30474
Spokane, WA 99223
For more information on the Donor Advised Fund and Celebration of Life, please visit our website at
To plant a tree in memory of Bruce Alfred Ellingsen, visit the Tribute store.

Posted by Pacific NW Cremation – North Spokane on Oct 21, 2021.


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