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403 North Main Street
Hailey, ID 83333
Phone: 208-788-2244
Fax: 208-788-4792
Charles Ellwanger

Charles William "Charley" Ellwanger

Friday, September 21st, 1934 - Friday, February 26th, 2021
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Charles William Ellwanger (“Charley”), 86, of Tacoma, Washington, passed away on February 26, 2021 at his home in Sun Valley, Idaho. He was born on September 21, 1934 in Centralia, Washington, to Benjamin Starbuck Ellwanger, Sr. and Dorothy Lowe Ellwanger.

He spent his childhood with his family at Lake Quinault and Pacific Beach, Washington, where his parents owned and ran the Ellwanger Cottages. He graduated from Moclips High School in 1952. He learned to be an avid hunter, fisher and clam digger – pursuits he enjoyed his entire life.

He graduated from Puget Sound College (UPS) in 1957 with a BA in Education. He spent summers doing commercial painting to finance his education. He taught at Clover Park and Elma school districts for several years, then at Aberdeen High School until his retirement in 1981. He was voted Favorite Teacher of the Year by the Class of 1977.

He also served as a Major in the Washington Army National Guard and retired after 25 years. He often spent weekends at the Yakima Firing Range and Fort Vancouver and made many friends during his years in the Guard. Following his retirement from teaching and the Guard, he started a cedar products brokerage business at Lake Quinault.

In 1953, Charley married Kathy Watson (Heath). They had two sons, Randy and Ron. They resided in Aberdeen and the boys recall fun times with their dad pulling the Central Park neighborhood kids behind his truck in a homemade sled. In 1970, Charley moved to Lake Quinault and his sons soon followed. They spent countless hours fishing and hunting (deer, elk and grouse), picking mushrooms, raising German Shepherds, driving backroads looking for wildlife and clam digging at Pacific Beach. Smoke was often seen coming out of the salmon smoke house and from the fireplace in the cabin where friends often gathered for conversation and libation.

In 1980, Charley married Kimberly Marie Thompson. The couple resided at Lake Quinault before moving to Redmond, then Olympia, and finally to Tacoma, Washington. They had one daughter, Kate. Charley was “Mr. Mom” well before that was common and was often the only dad in the pool with other moms and kids during swim lessons. The family spent time at their homes at Lake Quinault and in Sun Valley, fishing, hiking and skiing. They took many road trips exploring the northwest and Alaska, and they also traveled extensively internationally. Charley and Kimberly enjoyed entertaining the many friends they have made over the years.

Charley enjoyed canning and was well known for his hot dill pickles and Sauerkraut. He and his family and friends spent much timing canning pickles and digging and cleaning clams at the family beach house. He and his extended family also spent many Octobers at hunting camp in Goldendale, Washington.

Charley is survived by his wife, Kimberly, daughter Kimberly Kate Ellwanger, son Randy Charles Ellwanger (Courtney), grandchildren Candra and Charles, son Ronald Charles Ellwanger (Linda), and sister Betty Stevens. He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Ben S. Ellwanger, Jr. and his sister, Judy Duree.

The family suggests that any memorial gifts be made to the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation, Ketchum Sun Valley Volunteer Association, or the Wood River YMCA. The family is planning a private memorial in late spring.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Cremation under the care of Wood River Chapel
    403 N. Main Street
    HAILEY, ID 83333
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Darrell McKinney

Posted at 11:12pm
He will be missed,just a great man

Billie Hamblin

Posted at 07:10pm
My name is Billie Hamblin and my maiden name was Billie Ellwanger before I got married. I would have loved to know more of my Ellwanger relatives. I did have interaction with Betty when my grandmother Willa was alive. Robert was my father. He later changed his last name to Warner. If anyone is interested, my phone number 253-380-7691 and my email is

Richard Peterson

Posted at 06:52pm
Kimberly, I learned this week from Helen Bache about Charlie's passing. I was saddened to learn of his death. I was blessed to know him and you, and to conduct your wedding many years ago. With the death of my wife 2 1/2 years ago and our older daughter Renee 16 months ago, I am fully aware of the tremendous loss and sense of loneliness that you must be experiencing. I will continue praying for the Lord's comfort for you and your family.

Kimberly Ellwanger Posted at 04:30pm

Thank you, Pastor Peterson. I, also, am sorry for your losses.

Dan Davidson

Posted at 12:52pm
Always enjoyed the conversations I had with Charley at Board Events. My sympathies and condolences to Kimberly and entire family on his passing.
Dr. Dan Davidson

Kimberly Ellwanger Posted at 04:31pm

Thank you, Dan.

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