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Ellinger, Wally

newcandles125x125 39Wallace Gordon Ellinger was born August 24, 1918 in Webster Groves, Missouri. He served in the Air Force from 1942-1946, and graduated from Conception College with a Bachelors in Philosophy in 1949. He graduated from Kenrick Seminary (St. Louis) in 1953 and was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. During his years as a parish priest in Missouri, he gave dedicated service in many areas of social justice and human welfare. Among his many responsibilities were: chairman of the Missouri Delta Ecumenical Ministry, which established co-ops, credit unions, and legal aid services in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau region of Southern Missouri; chairman of the Bootheel Comprehensive Health Planning Council; chairman of Social Concerns for the Missouri Catholic Conference; and service on the Task Force for Corrections of the Missouri Director for Public Safety. He was Area Director for the Extension Volunteer Program (similar to VISTA) in a 39-county region as well as the Papal Volunteer Program for Latin America (the "Catholic Peace Corps"), as well as acting as school superintendent for four schools and ministering to his own parishioners. After 23 years of active ministry, Wally received a papal dispensation to leave the priesthood. He married Ruth Hunter Ellinger on April 24, 1976. He joined the staff of Comptroller Bob Bullock and worked in the Training Division, enlivening and extending the training system, until his retirement in 1986. In Austin, Wally continued to work actively for social justice, working with CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) for sixteen years and seven years as its Executive Director. He also continued to befriend and mentor ex-offenders and help them re-enter the free world and become self-reliant. He was active in the West Austin Democrats, the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Council, Austin Groups for the Elderly (helping them acquire their building), and AMBIS, a non-profit group providing low-cost funeral and memorial services. Wally and Ruth's home was the heart and hearth for the extended Ellinger family and was the scene of many gatherings and celebrations, from La Posada on Christmas Eve to Easter Egg hunts with over a hundred children. Wally worked tirelessly to keep up the home but still gave generously of himself to help others. He wore the label of "do-gooder" proudly, and said, "If we aren't do-gooders, what are we?" For him the politics of justice was both global and personal. Wally passed away on February 14, 2007. He is survived by his wife Ruth, by 12 stepchildren, nephews, and nieces, and by their children and by many friends. A memorial service for Wally will be held at 3:00 p.m. Sunday February 18th at the AFL-CIO Auditorium at 11th & Lavaca in Austin. A memorial mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday February 19th at St. Austin's Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in his name to Texas Cure, 4121 Burning Tree Lane, Garland TX 75042.

Wally was CORPUS member.