Allegheny County

Fallen Pittsburgh firefighter remembered as loving family man, and ‘consummate professional’

PITTSBURGH — Family members and firefighters are mourning the loss of a dedicated public servant and family man.

Captain Jim Ellis, a 23-year veteran of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, passed away Wednesday at Allegheny General Hospital.

Ellis was surrounded by loved ones, and succumbed to a battle with pancreatitis. He had previously been infected with COVID-19, according to fellow firefighter and longtime friend, Captain John Gardell.

Gardell said that Ellis also spent decades serving as a firefighter for the United States Air Force. He had a “tremendous ability to teach those around him,” Gardell said, noting that he served as an instructor to recruits.

Ellis was also a dedicated husband to wife, Cathy, and a devoted father to his two sons, Brady and Ryan.

Ellis was reportedly “extremely healthy” prior to falling ill, Gardell said, and his death comes as a tragic shock.

A statement from Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Chief, Darryl Jones reads “Jimmy Ellis was a ‘firefighter’s firefighter’, a devoted family man, and the consummate professional. He was an asset not only to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, but to the American Fire Service, having trained firefighters both nationally and internationally. Captain Ellis was also a military veteran and he spent three years with the Wilkinsburg Fire Department before joining Pittsburgh Fire, to become a respected mentor and lifelong friend to many in the Bureau. He will be deeply missed. Rest with God Captain, we will take it from here.”

A GoFundMe has been launched as an education fund for his sons.

Viewings are scheduled for Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at William Slater II Funeral Service on Greentree Road. Services are scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at St. Bernard Church.

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