Cover photo for Tanner Clay Ellis's Obituary
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1955 Tanner 2023

Tanner Clay Ellis

November 4, 1955 — January 8, 2023

Hot Springs

Tanner Clay Ellis of Hot Springs, Montana left to ride that rainbow unexpectedly on January 8, 2023, at the age of 67. He was born in Anchorage, Alaska on November 4, 1955, to Don and Ada Ellis.  He grew up on the family ranch near Cascade, Montana then moved to Livingston in 1966 where he graduated from Park senior High school in 1974.

In his early years, Tanner worked as a guide for Black Otter Guide service in Livingston under his mentors and close friends, Duane and Ruth Neal, leading pack trips into the Absarokee Beartooth wilderness and surrounding areas.  He later apprenticed as a carpenter under his father before taking over Anvil Construction and pursuing log home construction under the handle of Yellowstone Log Works, building custom log homes throughout the western united states, and providing construction consultation on an international scale.  After 40 years in the construction industry, he hung up his tool belt and settled into a ranch caretaker position at the Namchak Ranch near Hot Springs Montana.  Enjoying the remainder of his life in his garden, tending to his apiary, hatching, and raising chickens, fermenting anything that would bubble, and drinking beer with friends. 

Tanner spent significant time in Cooke City, MT growing up where his father owned and operated the Anvil Inn for almost a decade.  Cooke City was a special place he held dear to his heart, having lifelong friends in the community. Some of his fondest memories were there and talked of them often.

He was married to Rhonda Heath from 1978-2006 and had three children: Katie (Matt) of Stevensville, Tyler (Chelsea) of Stevensville and Jake (Veronica) of Livingston. 

Tanner was preceded in death by his parents Don and Ada Ellis (Jorgensen).  He is survived by his three children, his four sisters Cindy Shue (Dan) of Los Lunas, NM, Kally Undem (Toby) of Livingston, Jody Ellis (Kostas) of Belgrade, and Lori Gates of Hillsboro, OR, two stepbrothers Jem Blueher (Shari) and Chris Blueher of Livingston, six grandchildren, Faith, Robert, Kylie, Parker, Kiah, and Zoe, and beloved longtime friend Marcie Ellis, plus numerous nieces and nephews.

Tanner lived life to the fullest and was deeply rooted to Montana.  He had a gentle soul, big heart, and a personality larger than life.  He loved the first signs of spring, his corgi dog, a nice sunset, 60’s and 70’s tunes, and an ice-cold beer with a good, warped joke.  He was loved by his corgi dog, family and friends, and the Hot Springs and Park County communities.

A celebration of life will be held at the Elks Lodge in Livingston April 29, 2023, at 4 pm.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Yellowstone Gateway Museum in Livingston.

Uva Uvam Vivendo Varia Fit

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