PATRICIA “TOBI” ELLISON
Feb. 23, 1935 - Feb. 4, 2020
Patricia “Tobi” Joan Ellison was born on February 23, 1935 in Los Angeles, California. She was the youngest of five children of 1930’s actor and composer Benjamin F. Ellison and Laura R. Lynwood Ellison. At age nine Tobi attended the Saints Industrial and Literary School in Lexington, Mississippi for five years. She loved public speaking and writing poetry, to sing and dance, and performed for much of her life.
In 1948 Tobi met Helen Krisel, chair of the Eastern Star’s Elocution Competition in Seattle, Washington. Subsequently, she joined the foster family of Helen and George Krisel and remained a part of that family. In pursuit of her passion for singing, dancing, writing poetry and general wanderlust, in the late 1950’s Tobi began her many travels through Oregon, Alaska, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and eventually she solo backpacked throughout Europe. Tobi founded “Miss Tobi Townes – The Lady of Sounds” in 1955 and performed under that name until 1969. From 1970-1973, she lived in Philadelphia where she received a 2-year certificate at Philadelphia’s School of Office Training. From 1973-1976, she founded T. Ellison’s Secretarial Service where she worked at Morehouse College and the Georgia Institute of Technology. One of her fondest memories was working for the Governor’s Office of Planning & Budget in Atlanta, Georgia from 1976-1978. Although Tobi’s travels found her relocating in several parts of the country, she always returned to her Seattle family.
Tobi relocated permanently back to Seattle in 1985 upon the death of her foster sister Bernice. In this chapter of her life she managed the Gregory Gene Apartments and worked at McCaw Cellular and the Central Area Senior Center. Refusing to relinquish the thread of artistic creativity running through her life, Tobi continued to publicly recite her original poetry and sing jazz standards. As a deeply spiritual free-spirit who wished peace and calm for everybody, Tobi founded the “Spirit of Life and Oneness” (SOLO) to promote these ideals. She had a passion for living---always grabbing life’s reins and holding on as best she could and always her way.
Patricia Ellison is preceded in death by her parents Benjamin and Laura Lynwood Ellison, sister Jane Ellison Sage, foster family Bernice Price, George Collins and Helen Krisel Perryman. She leaves to mourn her brother Tommy Ellison of Miami, Florida; nephew Greg Sage (Kieren) of Kensington, California; nieces Teresa Sage of New Mexico, Helen Harris and Tamishia Garrett both of Renton, Washington; grand nephews William and Rasha Sage, LaMar Lowe, Richard Ticeson and Lawrence Garrett; grand nieces Maya,Hannah, Rachel Sage and Elizabeth Garrett, along with a host of great nieces, nephews and many friends who miss her dearly.
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