Tysons, VA

There’s black bunting up on the Vienna Volunteer Fire Station in commemoration of George William “Bill” Ellis, a man who worked in the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department for 50 years and served as chief for 20.

Ellis died last Friday (Feb. 22) at 81 in Fairfax Hospital.

He was born in D.C. in 1937 and joined the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department at 18, according to his obituary. He attained the rank of Fire Chief in 1980 and remained in that role until 2001 when he and his wife, Joan Ellis, moved to Culpeper. He was the longest serving volunteer firefighter.

There, he joined the Salem Volunteer Fire Department and continued to work as a fire truck driver until a little over a year ago.

“He represents the best of Vienna over the years,” said Vienna Town Councilmember Howard Springsteen at a meeting on Monday.

When he wasn’t volunteering at the fire department, Ellis was a cable splicing technician with C&P Telephone, hanging off of telephone poles to install and fix lines.

“Bill enjoyed tinkering with everything,” according to the obituary. “His collection of nuts, bolts, washers and various fasteners, tools and wire allowed him to create a device for almost every situation. If you were missing a small part, Bill had it or could make it. His basement in Vienna and, later, his garage in Culpeper were his domain. Only he knew where things were.”

The Salem Volunteer Fire Department will host a celebration of his life on Saturday (March 9) at 11 a.m. in their headquarters at 13428 Scotts Mill Road.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to his wife, Joan, to assist with medical and funeral expenses. Donations can also be made through PayPal by contacting Bill’s son, Robert Ellis at [email protected]

Ellis photo via Twitter, Vienna Volunteer Fire Department photo via Facebook

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