Ellis Dwight Rainsberger passed away July 17th , 2021 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ellis was born in St. Louis, Missouri on October 20, 1932 the son of Paul and Helen Rainsberger. Ellis was pre-deceased by his parents, brother Bob and sister Myrah, along with his beloved wife Shirley Rainsberger.
Family members included six children, Becky Rainsberger, Ellis “Bud” Rainsberger, Cathy Rainsberger, Sandy Gorzen, Chris Rainsberger and Mike Rainsberger: 14 grandchildren: Kevin, Genevieve, Meghan, Kris, Katie, Ian, Amanda, Ronnie, Kyle, Madison, Paula, Lisa, Amber and Jacob. 6 great grandchildren: Tenley Jo, Remy Mae, Michael, Bryar Faye, Axel and James.
Ellis lived with an Uncle while attending Christian Brothers High School in St. Louis, where sports especially football was his ticket out of the East St. Louis. Ellis was raised in a difficult time of our country. He tells the story of living in a one room tar paper shack without running water along the Mississippi river, and selling newspapers on the street corner for a nickel, then swinging a chain to avoid being robbed by the gangs for his money.
Ellis served in the U.S. Army in the Regimental Combat Team during the Korean War conflict and became an Airborne Instructor while serving. He met and married Shirley while stationed at Ft. Benning, GA. When the war ended, he and Shirley packed up and headed to Kansas State, Shirley expecting their first child. They lived in the married housing- old Quonset Hut army barracks, then moved under the old stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. While there they had three children- Becky, Bud and Cathy.
Ellis was a 3-year football letterman at Kansas State University in the 1950’s, and was a two time All-Big Eight selection. He was Co-captain of the team. Ellis was a founding member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He was also the Missouri Valley Heavy Weight Wrestling Champion. He wrestled professionally under the nickname “Cowboy Bob Ellis” He played briefly for the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.
Ellis’s coaching career started in 1958 as a high school coach and teacher at La Salle Peru HS in IL, then as an assistant at Drake University, Head Coach at Washburn University in Topeka, KS, an assistant at Kansas, Head Coach at Southern Illinois, offensive coordinator at Illinois, offensive coordinator at the University of Wisconsin, Head Coach at his alma mater, Kansas
State, Assistant at Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League. Ellis coached in the fledgling USFL for the Denver Gold and Pittsburgh Maulers, then with Nick Saban at the Toledo Rockets. He coached and scouted in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins, retiring in 2007.
Ellis loved sports and his family. He had a passion for developing young men through the game of football and was his life’s work. He had an ability to help young men discover one’s strength’s and pull that out of them, not just from football, but through their own life’s trials and tribulations. Ellis was known for his being a tough, but fair task master and mentor.
Funeral services will be held at Swan Law Funeral Home (501 N. Cascade Ave) Colorado Springs, CO on Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 1:00 pm. Burial will be in Wyuka, Cemetery, in Nebraska City, Nebraska with Service on Monday, July 26th, at 11 am. The family will receive friends and have visitation from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm, Sunday evening at the Gude Mortuary- 403 S 9 th St, Nebraska City, NE where he will be buried next to Shirley.
Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to the Ellis Rainsberger Coaches Scholarship Fund. You can make a cash or appreciated securities gift to benefit young scholar/athletes in
need in his honor. You can email bud@rwapartners for details on making a contribution.The address if sending a check is: Schwab Charitable 1958 Summit Park Drive, Suite 200 Orlando FL 32810 FBO Ellis Rainsberger Coaches Scholarship Fund, account 9900-7851.