Joseph "Papa Joe" Fielding Ellison

1926 — 2019

Joseph Fielding Ellison, age 93, born to Charlie McKinley and Nancy Ellen Coggins Ellison in Cocke County, TN, February 5, 1926, passed away November 12, 2019, in Ivins, Utah. Joe grew up in Pacolet, SC. After school and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he joined the Navy and was stationed in Hawaii. He married Lorene White who gave birth to a son. Upon returning from war, his marriage ended. Joe accepted a call to serve in the Southern States Mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1947-49. Afterwards he met and engaged “the prettiest girl he would ever know,” Portia Watson of Hartsville, SC on Christmas Eve, 1949. They married and were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple, April 5, 1950. Joe obtained work for the United States Postal Service, and they raised four children in Hartsville. He transferred to Provo with USPS then after retiring Joe and Portia became caretakers of Camp Mia Shalom Girls Camp. For twenty years they were able to work in their cherished mountains near Fairview UT and he was Papa Joe to thousands of young women and leaders. They then served 6 years as temple workers in Columbia, SC. In 2008 they moved to Washington, UT where they finally retired. As Joe’s health declined, he was admitted to Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins, where he made friends with nurses and fellow veterans of pod 600. Joe’s family extends a heartfelt thank you for his great care there, and a thank you to all our veterans. He was preceded in death by parents, siblings, and a grandson and is survived by wife Portia “Snookie” Washington City; son Barry (Susan) Spartanburg, SC, daughter Trena (Neil) Zaugg Ririe, ID; son Joey (Wendy) Leeds; son LeGrand (Jamie) Island Pk, ID; daughter Dawn “Doan” (Mike) Curtis Orem; brother Heber (Geraldine) Hartsville, SC; 17 grandchildren and 45 great- grandchildren. A memorial celebration in Joe’s honor will be held Nov. 23, 1-3 p.m., 1122 Grand Ave, Provo. In lieu of flowers please donate to the Southern Utah Veterans Home by calling 435-634-5220.