Charles F. Ellis, 82, art teacher, illustrator

Posted: October 15, 2004

Charles F. Ellis, 82, formerly of Narberth, an art teacher and illustrator, died of heart failure Oct. 1 at his daughter Kathy Mannering's home in North Richland Hills, Texas.

In 1971 Mr. Ellis was hired to teach illustration at the newly opened Art Institute of Philadelphia. He remained at the school for 22 years, teaching promising pupils such as poster artist Richard Amsel and painter Jamie Wyeth, who became a friend.

Mr. Ellis also worked as a commercial artist for local advertising agencies; did illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, Jack and Jill magazine, The Inquirer's Sunday magazine and other publications; and painted portraits for wealthy clients.

With six children to support, his son K.C. said, he often worked late into the night in his studio on the top floor of his home in Narberth.

The artist, whose grandfather Charles Ellis was mayor of Camden, grew up in Audubon in Camden County and graduated from Audubon High School. While studying art in Philadelphia, he worked at Taws art-supply store and attracted customers by painting watercolors in the store window. In August 1988, he again painted for the public in the window of the Gallery of the Art Institute of Philadelphia.

Mr. Ellis graduated from the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art (now University of the Arts), where he later taught. He also studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

In 1948 he married Elizabeth Hall. The couple moved to Narberth in 1954. He was a volunteer with the Narberth Fire Department for 30 years.

Mr. Ellis' wife died in 1995. In addition to his son and daughter, he is survived by sons Stephen and Jeffrey; daughters Carol Ann Cutler and Lisa Ellis; and 11 grandchildren.

A memorial service will be from noon to 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Gallery of the Art Institute of Philadelphia, 1622 Chestnut St.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.

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