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ELLSWORTH, Robert J. Robert J. Ellsworth, a Unionville resident, Channel 3's first and long time 11 o'clock news anchor, local celebrity and radio personality passed into eternal rest on Friday morning, (October 9, 2009) at 7:30 a.m. at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. Bob was a child protégé who gave a piano recital in Carnegie Chamber Hall at the age of fourteen, a World War II veteran, a Colgate alumnus, a loving and much loved husband, father, grandfather and friend. He served in the Pacific Theatre with the U.S. Army, which he joined at the age of 17 in 1943. During his active army career, Bob was awarded the Bronze Star with a "V" for valor, earned a Purple Heart and rose from Private to the rank of Lieutenant. In the late fifties, Bob rejoined the armed forces, serving in both the Army Reserve and the Connecticut National Guard, ultimately retiring with thirty years of service and the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Three. He was active in several Guard service and social organizations, including the Old Guard. He also worked tirelessly in causes dedicated to recognizing the sacrifices of the country's armed forces during the twentieth century conflicts, including most recently as a member of the committee that spearheaded the creation of the Connecticut Veterans Memorial in West Hartford. Following the conclusion of the war, Bob entered the broadcast industry in New York, beginning a career that would result in Bob's face and voice becoming recognizable the world over. Over the years he worked for several local radio and TV stations, the Voice Of America in Washington DC, and narrated literally thousands of documentaries, films and programs in a rich baritone voice instantly recognized by his many listeners and fans. With a smile and personality that lit up any room he chose to enter, Bob was the type of person who inspired people to cross a street just to share a few words with him. But Bob was also a humble person who immensely enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. He took great joy in the time spent and special occasions celebrated with the instant family he took on when he married the great love of his life, Rosemary, in 1974. For his many friends, Bob was someone who selflessly reached out to help in times of personal trouble or to give them a boost on their climb up the ladder of life. To his grandchildren, Bob was a special man, loving and being loved as deeply as any grandfather could be. He always believed that some of the best pictures ever taken of him were those where he was playing with his grandchildren or entertaining them with the myriad voices and facial expressions which he was capable of creating on a whim. Some of his more recent favorite pictures are those of him amongst the joyous grandparents posing with the newly wedded bride and groom, or as the proud great grandfather holding his newly born great grandson or great granddaughter. To have "Grandpa Ellsworth" read a specially chosen passage at their wedding was considered a choice opportunity not to be passed up by his grandchild and newly-wed spouse. In addition to his beloved wife, Bob leaves behind his six children by marriage, fifteen grandchildren, five young great-grandchildren and hundreds and hundreds of individuals who each counted themselves honored to be one of his closest friends. The world is a better place for the short time in which Bob lived in it and poorer with his passing. Bob's life will be celebrated during an 11 o'clock service at St. Peter Clavier in West Hartford on Thursday October 15 and his remains interred immediately thereafter at Fairview Cemetery. Donations in Bob's memory to Holy Family Monastery in West Hartford and WJMJ Catholic Radio in Hartford would be welcomed by each of these organizations and a cause of celebration for Bob were he still amongst us. On line messages of remembrances and sympathy may be made at www.molloyfuneralhome.com

© The Hartford Courant, 10/11/09


Memories of Bob Ellsworth

Bob Ellsworth Guest Book at Molloy Funeral Home

WJMJ Tributes to Bob Ellsworth (October 9-12, 2009) Courtesy Walt Pinto


 Bob Ellsworth: Hartford Area Broadcast Pioneer

Bob Ellsworth, the first man to anchor the 11 p.m. news for Hartford's Channel 3, died Friday at the Hospital of Central Connecticut.

Ellsworth, 84, of Unionville, was also known for his deep interest in the armed forces as a soldier in the Pacific during World War II, with the Army Reserve and Connecticut National Guard after the war and as the longtime master of ceremonies of West Hartford's Memorial Day observance. He also worked on the committee that created West Hartford's veterans memorial at North Main Street and Farmington Avenue.

During World War II, Ellsworth received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Ellsworth went to work for WTIC radio in 1956. The following year, WTIC began broadcasting on Channel 3, and Ellsworth anchored the 11 p.m. news. The stations were at the time owned by the Travelers Insurance Co., hence the call letters. Travelers sold the stations in 1973.

Al Terzi, who joined WTIC-TV in 1968 and who continues to anchor broadcasts for Channel 3, now WFSB, called Ellsworth "a legend" and remembered him as "a very affable guy who was just a lot of fun to be around."

Although Ellsworth had more experience than many at the station, he was always gracious, Terzi said.

Sherm Tarr of South Windsor, a former WTIC-TV reporter, said Ellsworth was a great practical joker, but also a versatile broadcaster. "They would do live programs in the afternoon and he would play the piano," Tarr said.

Arnold Dean, who joined WTIC in 1965, said Ellsworth used to sign off each newscast with a salute. Management demanded that he stop, but veterans demanded that Ellsworth be allowed to keep saluting and management relented.

"He was absolutely the best," Dean said. "No matter who you are, how nice you are, there are people who are detractors. But I never met anyone who didn't absolutely love Bob Ellsworth."

Ellsworth also worked for Voice of America and other outlets. He had a production company and narrated thousands of documentaries, films and commercials.

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

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