Fay Ellis

June 19, 1936


November 12, 2020

Fay Ellis

June 19, 1936


November 12, 2020

Margaret Fay Ellis “Fay” passed quietly on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in Billings.

Margaret Fay Holmes was born to Daniel Holmes and Margery Pring, and grew up in Colorado Springs, where she attended Colorado State University, was the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Queen and Colorado State Dairy Princess. While studying Animal Husbandry at CSU, she met George Ellis and they soon married and moved to the family farm in Indiana, where they had three children.

In 1970 the family moved to Montana, where they managed Beartooth Ranch in Columbus and, in 1979, were able to purchase a partnership in the historic ranch from founder Vern Sanders. Fay was instrumental in day to day operations and as many of us know, hospitality was second to none for guests, employees and family. She made everyone feel welcome and was a “second mother” to countless people that stayed in her home and worked at the ranch. She was a founding member of the National Organization of Poll-Ettes, established for supporting women and youth in the Hereford business, served in several local and national livestock organizations and was a tireless supporter of livestock youth events.

The arts were a passion for Fay, and she exposed her family and friends to all forms of art and music. She was nationally recognized for her volunteering support of the arts, was a lifelong supporter of the Billings Symphony and served over 40 years on the Symphony Board. From 1976 to 2016, she served as Secretary, Vice President and President, and also worked on Events Programming, Development, Strategic Planning and Finance committees. She gave selflessly and was proud to serve, as so much of what the Billings Symphony is today has been touched and influenced by her input and guidance.

Fay was an inspiration to all she met, no matter what was on her plate. Her warm smile and twinkle in her eye made you feel instantly comfortable, she was always interested in what you were doing. We will miss the steady guiding hand, the loving Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother and the rare and truly caring friend.

She is survived by children Debbie Andras (J.C.), Dan Ellis (Lori), Donna Todd; grandchildren John Andras (Cathy), Geoff Andras, Whitney Andras, Logan Todd (Jessica), Dillon Todd (Cindy); and great-grandchildren Millie Ryan Andras and Eleanor Fay Todd.

Because of current restrictions, services will be held at a later date. She asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Billings Symphony.

Condolences may be made at www.michelottisawyers.com.

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5 thoughts on “Fay Ellis”

  1. My condolences to the family. Fay was a kind neighbor and a helpful lady in the affairs of our Pines Condo complex, many years riding herd on our various vendors. Fay was included in our six owners, five ladies and then there is Jim, minor player, but Fay added the spice! She’ll be sincerely missed.

  2. Ken Schlenker and Gretchen Knight

    Fay was a great neighbor and friend. When we first met we thought our pool parties would be a little loud and introduced ourselves she said she loved the sound of people having fun. That was Fay. She always watched out for our dogs and will miss chatting with her over the fence

  3. JoAnn Dean(Jim Janke's daughter)

    Fay always had kind words for me when I would see her when visiting my Dad. Fay’s daughter Donna took such good care of her and I’m sure made her Mom’s life as enjoyable and as stress free as possible.

  4. So sorry to learn of Fay’s passing. Over the years I worked with her (and George), I heard so many stories of each of you – her family. She was always bragging on all of you. Always the proud mom and grandma. She was the first I knew in our generation to get on FaceBook because she “had to keep up with the grandkids.” When I retired in 2012 and, eventually, moved to Boise, hugs from Fay were one of the things I really missed. She was a sharp business person and as “spunky” as they come. May you all be comforted with memories of better days.

    Dennis Hall

  5. Donna, Debbie and Dan,
    Our family has many fond memories of your mom (and dad). We always enjoyed them. The tradition seemed to be to gather at your dining room table for a chat and coffee. One of my fond memories is helping your mom with a big Christmas or New Year’s bash in the late ’80s. Laura had been helping your mom all week. On the morning of the party, your mom started to panic and called me saying “we need more help can you come down now and stay for the party?”

    Your mom was a very classy and kind lady. She seemed to always have a smile on her face.

    Cherish the memories and god bless,
    Renee Simmons Richards

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