In memory of Dr. Barry Ellis


Dr. Barry Len Ellis, 58, though he celebrated his 39th birthday every year, passed away suddenly in his home with his wife, Terri Lynn Ellis, at his side on Oct. 20, 2018. Though his time on this earth, like the music he conducted, was too brief, he remains in our hearts and memories forever. 

A visitation will be held at First English Lutheran Church on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, where the family will receive guests from 4:00-8:00 p.m. On Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, a Celebration of Life will be held in the Brodbeck Concert Hall at the Center for the Arts on the UW-Platteville campus beginning at 4:00 p.m. A service will take place at Taylors First Baptist Church at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, with burial at Woodlawn Cemetery in Greenville, South Carolina. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Barry L. Ellis Music Scholarship Fund through the UW-Platteville Foundation. The Melby Funeral Home & Crematory, Platteville, is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at

Barry was born on Jan. 31, 1960, in Greenville, South Carolina, the son of elementary school teacher Grace Routh Ellis and the late Dan Atkins Ellis, longtime director of bands at Furman University. This is the same university where Barry and his brother Keith received their degrees in music education. Barry went on to receive his master’s degree at Virginia Commonwealth University and his doctorate from the University of Illinois, where he was the Harry Begian Conducting Intern.

Barry was the professor of music and director of bands and orchestra at UW-Platteville for 27 years. He served as the conductor of many ensembles as well as a private instructor in conducting, bassoon, saxophone, woodwind methods and wind literature. He was the director of the UW-Platteville Pioneer Summer Band Camp, Band Conductor’s Art Workshop, Founder and Director of the UW-Platteville Tri-State Honors Band Festival, the Wisconsin College and University Faculty Woodwind Ensemble, the Rountree Wind Symphony and director of the UW-Platteville Marching Pioneers during his tenure. Dr. Ellis was principal bassoonist with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the Rountree Ensemble, a professional chamber ensemble in residence at UW-Platteville. He produced and conducted the Rountree Wind Symphony’s recording of The Music and Art of J. Clifton Williams (Mark Records), which received many accolades, including a 2014 Grammy Entry List Appearance.

Barry was an active member of the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, Music Educators National Conference, Wisconsin Music Educators Association, International Double Reed Society and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He was the Wisconsin state chair of the North Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association and the college representative for the National Band Association – Wisconsin chapter.

Barry will be remembered as a generous, gentle spirit, with mischievous laughter and twinkly eyes. His creative and collaborative energy and his bond of word made him a beloved mentor, colleague and friend to all. Devoted to his community, he inspired the best in people and nourished others through his music and incredible zest for life.

Barry is survived by his wife, Terri Ellis, and their children, Sarah and Daniel Ellis, who will carry his legacy every time they lift their instruments in song. He is further survived by his mother, Grace, and brother Keith’s fiancé, Shelia Pugh. He is preceded in death by his father, Dan, and brother, Keith. His memory will also live on through the lives of countless students and colleagues on which he made a profound impact.

Melby Funeral Home