Ellwood Bruce Crosier passed away on July 21, 2021 with his children by his side. He was born on April 14, 1932 in Lynden, Washington to Norman and Nita Crosier, one of 6 children.
Ellwood loved his childhood in Lynden. Like everyone in his family, he worked hard on their dairy and vegetable farm, but his parents always made time for fun too. He had a lot of respect for his parents who were family-oriented, welcoming, and hard-working people. His grandparents also played a big role in his childhood. His grandpa was instrumental in nurturing his love of sports. He built a basketball hoop for Ellwood and would often sit nearby and watch him practice. His grandmother also held a special place in his heart as she always had time for him.
When Ellwood was starting his sophomore year, the family moved to Wapato, WA. At Wapato High School, he tried out for the basketball team. The coach told him, “Ellwood, you can’t shoot, you can’t pass, you can’t dribble; but I like your hustle so I’m going to give you a try.” He went on to become a key player for Wapato.
After he graduated from Wapato High School in 1950, Ellwood joined the army. After his stint in the army, he enrolled at Yakima Valley Community College. He played on the basketball team and was voted Most Inspirational Player both of his years there. YVCC was also where he met his wife, Arla Christopherson.
After YVCC, Ellwood transferred to the University of Washington and earned a degree in Psychology. He then went on to earn his Master’s degree at Utah State University. Ellwood and Arla moved back to Yakima when he was hired to teach Psychology at his alma mater, YVCC. In 1964, he became the YVCC basketball coach, and went on to coach both men’s and women’s teams for 29 years. He had a very successful coaching career with over 500 wins and 4 conference championships. His success led to him being inducted into the NWACC Hall of Fame and having the basketball court at YVC being named “Crosier Court.”
Ellwood was a very hard worker; besides teaching full time and coaching he was also an orchardist, hay farmer and crop insurance adjuster. Ellwood and Arla also owned several businesses: Residential Fruit Stand (58 years!), The Magic Kitchen, and Christmas tree lots.
Arla and Ellwood raised three children, Marlan (Seattle), Jenell, (Yakima), and Lanette (Yakima). They also “raised” many other young people who came to stay and work during the summer and even stayed for the school year. The Crosier household was never boring!
After Ellwood retired from teaching and coaching in 1995, he continued to operate the fruit stand and his apple orchard until well into his 80’s. He also immersed himself in learning how to handicap horse races. But most of all, he loved spending time with his grandkids.
As a grandparent, Ellwood could always be relied on to show up at their events whether it was karate, soccer, football, basketball, gymnastics or music performances. He was very proud of each grandkid and not surprisingly, was always willing to share his basketball expertise with them.
Ellwood is survived by his 3 children: Marlan (Julie), Jenell (Aaron), and Lanette (Craig), 6 grandchildren: Kaden, Joren, Teegan, Jace, Lucas, and granddaughter, Devin; his sisters: Erma Rae (Jim) Early, Shirley Owen, and Kaylene (Brad) Boardman, as well as many relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by Arla, his wife of 61 years, his parents, and sisters Marna Shepard and Verna Mae (Jackie) O’Dell.
A Memorial service and outdoor reception will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, August 7 at the YVC Sherar gymnasium. Masks required indoors. There will be a time of visitation on Friday, August 6, 4-8 pm at Keith and Keith Funeral Home, 902 W. Yakima Avenue, Yakima. A graveside burial for the family will be held on Monday, August 9.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Ellwood to the Parker Youth & Sports Foundation (www.parkeryouthfoundation.com) or to the YVC Scholarship Foundation (www.yvcc.edu/foundation).
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