Paul Clifford Ellingsworth was born in Stone County, Missouri, on July 24, 1929, and entered Heaven’s Gates on October 1, 2023, at the age of 94. He was the firstborn son of Oliver Arvin and Stella Hammonds Ellingsworth. Five siblings followed: Betty Jo, Doyle (Curly), Carroll Dee, Jerry, and Treva.
On April 30, 1950, Paul married Della Rea Hedrick in Harrisonville, Arkansas. They spent their honeymoon camping and swimming in the creek. The mornings were dedicated to picking strawberries to barter for groceries. They welcomed their first daughter, Pamela Paulette, on June 1, 1951. The young family moved to California, where a second daughter, Debra Jeanette, was born on July 7, 1953.
Paul entered the workforce and supported his family in various ways: selling watermelons, offering door-to-door Bibles and paintings, working in different harvests, and eventually in the building trades where he excelled as a carpenter. There’s very little he hasn’t tried, and every endeavor was a success. He dabbled in film developing, taxidermy, basket making, and sewing (even crafting a dress for Della, which she proudly wore). He also built a renowned “Pink Convertible.”
In the fall of 1962, Paul and Della, with their two daughters, left their first home with its cherished lemon tree to return to Missouri, where Paul was called into the ministry. Paul constructed the brick church at the intersection of Green and Williams in Chillicothe, where he served as a pastor until his retirement in 1997.
Paul loved traveling, spending time with friends and family, and studying God’s word. He was an exceptional Bible teacher who enjoyed singing and worshiping the Lord. He played the guitar and had a knack for the harmonica.
Many who were mentored by him refer to him as Pastor Ellingsworth. He was always eager to assist, and he typically had precisely what one needed for a project. (If he didn’t, it wasn’t necessary!) His life lessons often encompassed guidance on living joyfully, being economical, and prioritizing God first, family second, and oneself last.
This cherished man is survived by numerous friends and family, including his wife Della; daughters Pamela (Donald) Anderson and Debbie Gabrielson; and eight grandchildren: Stephanie (Lance) Harvey, Amy (Shawn) Clark, Steve (Kelly) Gabrielson, Jon Gabrielson, Phillip (Amanda) Anderson, Katie (Jeremy) Purdy, David (Morgan) Gabrielson, Micah (Aaron) Douglas, and Matthew (Ashley) Gabrielson.
Twenty-five great-grandchildren affectionately call him Papa: Gracyn and Piper Harvey; Lane and Dylan Clark; Ethan, Juliann, and Lydia Gabrielson; Keith, Aaron, and Kaitlyn Gabrielson; Maddie Anderson; Gage and Graham Godsey; Zayne and Shay Purdy; Litton, Greenly, and Fallon Gabrielson; London, Kobe, Malachi, and Salem Douglas; and Halle, Gentry, and Rorie Gabrielson.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two sons-in-law, David Leach and Steven Gabrielson.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Cornerstone Church in Chillicothe, Missouri, on Sunday, October 8, 2023, at 1:00 a.m. Visitation will take place at the same location on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friends may visit Lindley Funeral Home in Chillicothe, Missouri, on Friday, October 6, 2023, from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The burial will occur at Edgewood Cemetery in Chillicothe, Missouri. Memorial contributions can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and sent to Lindley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 47, Chillicothe, Missouri 64601.