August 3, 1935 - July 8, 2017
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Ellis Feinstein from injuries in an auto accident July 8, 2017, near Medford, Oregon. Born in San Francisco August 3, 1935 to Louis and Henrietta Feinstein, Ellis grew up in a farmhouse in Petaluma, California.
He graduated from Petaluma High School in 1952. After graduation, his first job was as an engineering clerk at Bechtel Corporation, and it was the beginning of a prolific career in broadcast communications and engineering. During this time, he met his future wife, Barbara. She moved to the Rogue Valley in 1954, and Ellis followed soon after. During this time, Ellis began working as a DJ, then as Chief Engineer for KWIN Radio. Ellis and Barbara married, and welcomed their daughter. Sheri.
Ellis was Chief Engineer then Director of Engineering for Radio Medford (later Sierra Cascade Communications) from 1957 to 1978. In 1979, an investment group headed by Ellis purchased an antenna company from the bay area and moved it to Medford, Ore. Scala Electronic Corporation became one of the leading antenna manufacturers in the broadcast industry.
The word “broadcast” might conjure quaint images of families gathered around the radio or television, but make no mistake, in his time Ellis was a technical wizard. Before the age of smartphones, the internet, and satellite communications, Ellis designed, created, and installed broadcast systems that enabled people to transmit and receive sound and pictures locally and throughout the world. In fact, if you live in the Rogue Valley and have a set of rabbit ears on your TV, you are able to receive local TV channels because of his vision.
Ellis gave his time as a board member for many different professional organizations. He especially enjoyed the lifelong friendships that came as a result of his work with the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Translator Association. A list of awards and accolades Ellis received would fill pages, and while he was proud to be recognized by his peers, he was essentially a man who liked to solve problems and take care of the people he loved. As an employer, he provided steady jobs for hundreds of people in the Rogue Valley. He seldom shut his office door and usually could be found out on the floor engaging with employees and keeping things flowing. Ellis was good natured, extremely intelligent, fair-minded, generous – and entertaining. It seemed like he was never too busy to talk, troubleshoot with the engineers, tell a story, or provide help where it was needed. If you worked at Scala you were part of a family. In fact, in 1990, Ellis married Patty in the lunchroom at Scala, to the surprise of the entire staff.
From a young age, Ellis had a strong connection to the natural world. Stories about his adventures with his younger brother Mel during their summers spent in Yosemite are always family favorites. He spoke often of his rafting trips through the Grand Canyon and enjoyed camping at Lake of the Woods. It was there that he was able to combine his passion for restoring wooden boats and soaking in the incredible landscape around him. Ellis and his good friend and fellow engineer, Mike Bach, donated their time and expertise to install improved communications systems at the Sycan and Zumwalt Prairie preserves here in Oregon. The park rangers spoke highly of the increased safety and dependability of communications and, most importantl, Mike and Ellis created lasting memories on the many road trips taken to these wildlife preserves.
Ellis is survived by his wife, Patricia Feinstein; his daughter, Sheri Feinstein and her high school sweetheart and husband, Don Cameron; his brother, Mel Feinstein; his niece. Melinda Feinstein and his nephew, Josh Feinstein and his wife, Shay; his step-daughters, Maria McNeely and Mishelle Skinner; and his three grandchildren, Rachel Neff, Chase Jensen, and Wyatt Thorpe.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Sunday, August 13, 2017 at Eden Vale Winery, 2310 Voorhies Road, Medford. All are welcome to attend and celebrate his life.
In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation to SOPTV at www.soptv.org or Jackson County Special Olympics at www.soor.org/jackson.
He will be remembered by his family and friends for his determination, generosity, and warmth. We love you Ellis-Dad-Grampie.