Earl 'Buzz' Ellison: Longtime Los Altos resident towed a quick wit, valued enthusiasm

Mr. Ellison

Chances are that if you own a vehicle and live on the Peninsula, you knew Earl “Buzz” Ellison. He was the owner of Ellison’s Body Shop (1929-1998), located on the corner of Alma Street and Forest Avenue in Palo Alto, and founder of Ellison’s Towing (1965-present).

Mr. Ellison died May 30 at his Los Altos home, surrounded by family. He was just one month shy of his 93rd birthday.

Those who had their cars serviced by Mr. Ellison, an expert at towing and collision repair, probably became friends with him by the time their car was delivered. Quick to wield his wit and charm, Mr. Ellison was described as a friend to many and someone who never met a stranger.

Ellison’s Towing is a AAA Gold Award winner and earned Mr. Ellison the National Tower’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Since 1965, Ellison’s Towing has rescued more than 1 million stranded motorists in the local area.

Mr. Ellison’s family and work were his life. Twenty years into retirement, his former employees still stopped by his home for visits.

In 1948, Mr. Ellison married his wife, Cye. They were married for 61 years until her death in 2009. The couple had three daughters.

Mr. Ellison lived by the motto “Think enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic!” Friends said his enthusiasm for life was matched only by his generosity – he loved helping those around him. The Ellisons had a large, close-knit group of lifelong friends on the Peninsula, most of whom were fellow classmates and graduates of Palo Alto High School.

“He was a man from the Greatest Generation of all time, where duty, decency, reliability, honor, dignity and respect were all qualities that Mr. Ellison held in high esteem and practiced every day during his time on this earth,” according to one of his caregivers.

Mr. Ellison is survived by daughters Debbie, Cheri (Brent Carroll) and Stacey (Dana Pilkerton); and grandchildren Brendan Hope (Sheila); Allie Hope (Constantine Tujios) and Hope Pilkerton.

On the day of Mr. Ellison’s passing, he met, via FaceTime, his great-granddaughter, Avra Ellison Tujios, born May 11.

Services are scheduled 2 p.m. Saturday at Spangler Mortuaries, 399 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos.

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