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Bruce Alfred Ellingsen

February 4, 1940 October 6, 2021
Bruce Alfred Ellingsen
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Obituary for Bruce Alfred Ellingsen
Bruce was born on February 4, 1940 in Spokane, WA to Virginia (Kuhn) and Carl ‘Tuffy’ Ellingsen. He passed away at sunset on October 6 surrounded by his family.

Bruce grew up in the Hillyard neighborhood. He was co-valedictorian of the class of 1958 at Rogers High School and a three sport athlete, earning All-City Quarterback honors. Following his father’s legendary coaching advice, he “kept his head up and eye on the main event,” continuing his academic excellence at Washington State University and playing quarterback on the side. It was at WSU that he made lifelong friends in the Beta house, who will always remember their good times with Brucie and his quick wit. After just three years at WSU, Bruce went on to earn his M.D. with honors from the University of Washington Medical School 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 mentor to many.

Bruce was an innovator and visionary leader. While at Harvard, he conducted ground-breaking research in glaucoma and later introduced non-penetrating glaucoma surgery into the United States. He also introduced refractive eye surgery to the Spokane area. In 2005, WSU awarded Bruce the Alumni Achievement Award for his academic accomplishments, medical practice, community engagement, and commitment to WSU.

Bruce had many successes in his life scholastically and professionally, but he always stated his greatest accomplishment was 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 in him that blossomed into 59 years of marriage, three children, nine grandchildren, and countless memories. The family especially enjoyed summers at Hayden Lake and the many fishing and camping adventures they shared throughout the years. He was a kind, supportive, wise and devoted husband, father, brother, Papa, and friend who will be greatly missed - you were so wonderful to 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 families; and the extended Henry family, whom he always considered his own. The family extends their gratitude to Koleti, Maata, Maki and Jayme, who lovingly assisted with his care in his final months.

A Celebration of Life is planned for Saturday, November 20 at 2:30 PM at the Manito Country Club. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Bruce Ellingsen Scholastic Advancement Fund that will support established charities with the goals of student advancement for the Northeast Spokane community. All gifts should be payable to: Schwab Charitable with memo of: FBO Bruce Ellingsen Scholastic Advancement Fund.

Please mail to:
Twenty Twenty Investment Advisors, LLC.
Attn: Bruce Billeter
PO Box 30474
Spokane, WA 99223

For more information about the donor advised fund and Celebration of Life, please visit our website at

A Celebration of Life is planned for Saturday, November 20 at 2:30pm at the Manito Country Club. You may join the celebration in person or Livestream at
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Previous Events

Celebration of Life




2:30 PM 11/20/2021 2:30:00 PM
Manito Golf and Country Club

5303 S Hatch Rd
Spokane, WA 99223

Manito Golf and Country Club
5303 S Hatch Rd Spokane 99223 WA
United States

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