Retirees Association

John William Ellison, 76, Librarian

Dr. John William Ellison, 76, of Charlotte, N.C., passed away in Novant Health Harris Hospice Unit in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 11, 2018, after a valiant three-month battle against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was born in Darke County, Ohio, on Dec. 6, 1941, to Lena Beatrice (Sites) and Clarence Ellison.

John attended Morehead State University (B.A.), Xavier University (M.Ed.), Southern Illinois University (S.Ed) and The Ohio State University (Ph.D.). John worked as a librarian in public, school, medical and university settings, including at the Wright State University Libraries. He taught in various academic departments at Wright State (where he was also a founding member of the faculty), the National Teacher Corp (Morehead State University), State University of New York at Buffalo (UB), Central Michigan University, University of Kentucky, Emory University, Sam Houston State University, University of Oklahoma, University of Illinois, University of the West Indies (Jamaica) and Cape Coast University (Ghana, West Africa).

During his 38-year career at UB, he was a valued tenured faculty member in the Information and Library Studies master’s program and was a director of the erstwhile Informatics degree program.

Known for his research in intellectual freedom and media study, he produced over 100 publications and media productions. He had the privilege of serving as a Fulbright Professor at the University of the West Indies (Jamaica Campus), at the National Library of Jamaica, at Cape Coast University, Ghana, and the University of the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago Campus).

John was the first professor to deliver long-distance education via the internet at the State University of New York at Buffalo and presented “Critical Issues Related to Internet Teaching,” Keynote Address, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions e-Learning for Management and Marketing in Libraries Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, in 2003.

John was greatly respected and loved by his students. “He mentored me and many others as few others could have done. I never forgot the presence he was in my life. I would not have been able to achieve, thrive nor had the successes I did enjoy without his guidance and wisdom which instilled in me the skills, abilities and confidence necessary to do so,” a former student recently wrote.

John was known for his abundant generosity, energy, humor and passion for social justice. His interests included domestic and international travel with his wife, continuing to mentor his former students, golfing and fulfilling his role as the best Pop Pop ever to his grandchildren.

John is survived by his beloved wife of 38 years Deborah R. Williams; his loving daughter Katelyn R. Bartella and husband Sean A. Bartella; his adoring grandchildren Graham W. Bartella and Florence R. Bartella; his sons Brandon J Ellison and Wildon V Ellison; his siblings JoAnn Roberts, Mary Lou Stewart, and Thomas K. Ellison and sister-in-law Elsie Ellison and a large extended family. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by a brother Robert “Joe” Ellison, a sister Martha Jane Stover, and two brother-in laws James Roberts and Ralph Stewart.

Abiding by John's final wishes, his family is not holding memorial services. He once said he hated funerals and would not attend his own. Memorial donations may be made in John's name to Patterson Library, 40 S. Portage St, Westfield, NY 14787, or the Lymphoma Research Foundation.