In loving memory of Reverend Rodney Lee Ellertson: 1933-2021


Reverend Rodney Lee Ellertson passed away Dec. 18, 2021, in Vancouver, Washington. He was born on April 3, 1933, in Brush Prairie, Washington, to Homer and Marie Ellertson.

“Rod” was a blessed addition to the growing family. He joined his older brothers Ken and Don and welcomed a little sister Kathleen six years later. The family resided in Clark County where Rod attended Vancouver High School. He went to Clark College where he met Joan Sawyer and they were married in 1954.

Rod earned his bachelor’s degree from Pacific Lutheran University and then graduated from Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he received a master's degree of theology. While his profession was that of a pastor, Rod can better be described as a builder. He built a family, congregations, schools, and his pride: the Falcon Cove Beach house. Jane, Sam, Scott and Heidi were added to Rod and Joan’s globetrotting family who built homes on three continents where he spoke three languages: English, French and Gbaya.

Sadly, Joan died of brain cancer in 1976 when she was only 42 years young. Rod’s family grew substantially in 1978 when he married Dorothy Graham who had also lost her spouse, Bruce. Dorothy had six children: Terry, Denise, Mike, Corey, Julie and Doug. Combined with Rod’s children, they had 10 in all. All 10 are married and between them they have 26 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and two on the way.

Rod loved his family, especially the large gatherings that included all of his children. Dorothy passed away from cancer in 2010. Rod remarried again in 2013, this time to a long-time friend from his missionary days, Donna Collet, who had also lost her spouse, Louis. Donna has one son, Phillip. Rod accepted him into the family as one of his own. Rod started his career as a missionary to Cameroon, Africa, for 10 years.

He served as pastor of Fir Lawn Lutheran in Sweet Home, Oregon, and 23 years as pastor of Highland Lutheran Church in La Center, Washington. He also worked as a chaplain and volunteered as a firefighter. After retiring, Rod continued to be active in the ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church, a special place to him as his parents were founding members. His other sanctuary was the home he built with Dorothy at Falcon Cove.

There will be a viewing at Northwood Park Funeral Home and Cemetery, 16407 NE 15th Ave., Ridgefield, Washington, on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, from 12 to 5 p.m. His funeral service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, at 11 a.m. There will be a burial at Bethel Lutheran Church Cemetery located at 12919 NE 159th St., Brush Prairie, Washington. All are welcome to join the family for the internment.