John Ellis came as a legacy to the doors of the Sigma Tau chapter of Phi Gamma Delta. His brother, Robert Ellis was a member of the Class of ’46 until he left school to join the World War II effort where he gave his life.
Ellis was born and raised in the Seattle area. He and his wife Doris met in high school and have been married for 57 years. They live in Bellevue and have four children and 8 grandchildren. He was educated at John Muir Grade School and Franklin High School. He received his undergraduate BS degree in 1950 and his JD law degree in 1953 from the University of Washington. He served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1952 as M/Sgt.
Ellis began his career in 1953 as an attorney with the firm of Perkins, Coie, Stone, Olson & Williams (now Perkins Coie), and was with the firm for 17 years, eight of which he acted as chief counsel to Puget Sound Power & Light Company (now Puget Energy). In 1970 he joined Puget Power as Executive Vice President, becoming President and Chief Executive Officer in 1976, and Chairman of the Board in 1987, retiring in 1992.
In 1992 Ellis headed up negotiations to acquire the Seattle Mariner franchise from Major League Baseball. He subsequently became Chairman, CEO and a director of the Baseball Club of Seattle, which was formed to acquire the Mariners. Ellis then led the successful effort to build Safeco Field, and under his leadership the Mariners grew to become one of baseball’s most successful teams, attendance growing from 1,651,398 in 1992 to 3,507,975 in 2001.
At the close of the 1999 baseball season, Ellis retired as Chairman and CEO and was elected Chairman Emeritus, a position he currently holds. In that capacity, he serves on the Executive Council of Major League Baseball and is a member of its Finance, Budget and Compensation Committee, International Committee, and Chairman of its Baseball Endowment Committee. Coming full circle, he also was very pleased to rejoin his old law firm, Perkins Coie, as Counsel.