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Harold William EllisonFresno, California – Harold Ellison was born on September 22, 1924 in Fort Towson, Oklahoma to George and Nell Ellison. Harold’s siblings from oldest to youngest are, Juanita, Betty, and brothers Leon and Ronald. Harold’s roots go back to Ireland and his ancestors immigrated to America shortly after the American revolution. As a young boy in Oklahoma, Harold would head out to the woods to hunt rabbit, squirrel and go fishing to help feed the family. In his teens while going to school he worked with his father in his gas station riding his bike miles a day to get to work. Harold went to Enid High School in Oklahoma where he enjoyed sports, especially basketball. Another “sport” in Oklahoma was sheltering from the severe thunderstorms which often stir up tornadoes. As the story goes one day while his father was away working in Texas a storm came upon Enid and the family had to rush to the storm cellar. They ran from the house in the wind and rain to the storm cellar. In the cellar it was dark and wet, with wooden crates on the floor to keep your feet dry and above the frogs, lizards, and snakes. Everyone was scared and Harold, being the oldest boy, had to get everyone in and secure the door. But the wind kept whipping the door open again and again. After what must have seemed like forever, he eventually got the door shut for good and they waited out the storm. As was common at the time, Harold and some friends volunteered to join the army in 1942, before High School graduation. He was sent to the Pacific Arena as part of the Airborne 503 and was a soldier of the campaign, under General MacArthur, to retake the island of Corregidor in the Philippines. Harold and his fellow soldiers parachuted onto the island and after a heavy battle eventually reclaimed the island for which he received a Presidential Citation. Harold returned to the US, not to Oklahoma from where he started, but to Orange Cove, California where his family had moved while he was in the Army. Upon his discharge he was given his High School diploma. There Harold met the love of his life Frances Osborn and on March 28, 1948 they were wed at the Orange Cove Presbyterian Church and soon began to raise a family − son Allen and daughters Terrie, Janice and twins Debbie and Donna. Harold worked various jobs until he got a position with the Bureau of Reclamation as a surveyor in the Orange Cove office and began his 40-year career with the Bureau. This was a time of some grand statewide water projects and this led Harold and family to quite a bit of moving around−Orange Cove to Delano to Berkeley to Hayward and eventually Coalinga. Along the way Harold worked as a surveyor on the grand and impressive California Aqueduct and Pine Flat reservoir. He and his colleagues surveyed the tree line elevation around the entire Pine Flat reservoir! By the time the Ellison family reached Coalinga their family was complete−four daughters and one son. Family fondly remembers when they first moved to Coalinga, where they moved into a Government issue single-wide 55-foot trailer with two bedrooms. All this for two adults and five kids. Coalinga became home for Harold and family. In time they found a home and began a good life in Coalinga. Harold had a passion for hunting and fishing and there are many recollections of what might be on the dinner table – quail, deer, pig, antelope and one of Harold’s favorite, frog legs. There was plenty of hunting in the area and Harold was a good shot with a shotgun. It’s been said that during hunting trips the “new guy” had to get initiated. Well, it went like this, you threw up your hat and Harold gave a shot with his shotgun. With Harold being a crack shot, the poor rookie found his hat scattered in the wind. During those Coalinga years the family made many trips back to Orange Cove to visit his parents and also his wife’s parents Ruby and Roger at the ranch. The kids all have fond memories especially of the “pond” at their Grandparents’ ranch. They also made many a trip to the coast where Harold and family would have beach picnics with fresh abalone, clams and crab. Hume Lake was also very popular with Harold. Swimming with the kids and fishing was always a treat for everyone. His favorite travels took him north to Modoc and Lassen counties to hunt and fish and camp with his brothers, sisters, and their families. His favorite spot at the time was Hat Creek campground and there were always good times, good hunting, and good fishing to be found with the Ellison clan. Harold also enjoyed bowling and he was on a local softball team, but he really enjoyed horseshoes and when there was a gathering or an Elks Club tournament, he was always competitive to the end. It was a good life in Coalinga, but life goes on and Harold and Frances divorced, and he remarried. In time Harold was transferred to the Fresno Bureau office in 1977 where he retired in 1985 from the Bureau of Reclamation. He was well respected in the Bureau and received a High-Performance award for his surveying work. Finally, in retirement with his children all doing well and on with their lives Harold, his brothers, Leon and Ronald, and some friends bought some acreage near Adin, California in 1988. They called it “The Camp”, but it was always referred to as Deer Camp. Harold spent a lot of time there as he and his brothers (with sisters, wives, friends, and sons) built a cook house and powered it up with a generator and water from a spring. The camp well has the best drinking water around. And speaking of drinking water, Harold’s brother Leon and wife Donna had a bar in Adin where good times were a plenty as were colorful stories, some maybe even with a little truth in them. Every year since, the Ellison families have gathered at Deer Camp for opening day of deer season which in that area is October 1. The scouting trips with Harold and Leon prior to opening day were not to be missed. Hunting, fishing at Eagle Lake, sitting by the campfire, and BBQing was a way of life that Harold and the family created at Deer Camp. Goods times all around and always lots and lots of family. To say Harold was a lucky man would be true. But the lucky ones were also those who knew Harold Ellison. Harold was a gentleman and a gentle man. He was a loving son and father and a friend to all. He will be missed. He is survived by his sister Betty and his children Terrie, Janice (Donny), Allen (Lana), Debbie (Jack), and Donna (John), many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, 24 grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren and 17 great-great grandchildren. The Ellison family is so grateful to Hinds Hospice from Fresno County. Their attention to Harold and the family were so very helpful in giving Harold comfort in his final days.
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