A Story That Could Have Ended Badly

October 21, 2013

Monte, bw photo with Bald Eagle,smiling, 619Monte’s father John, had an older brother Fred (1909-1975).  Monte’s Uncle Fred was an avid outdoors-man and a self-taught taxidermist.  Over the years, Fred attained quite a large collection of animals and waterfowl and had many of these within glass enclosures in the basement of his home west of Banner, IL.

Fred Ellis passed away from a heart attack in 1975 while duck hunting in the Illinois River Bottoms.

Fred and John Illinois River Cabin. Monte, left, Fred Ellis, far right, Jared Ellis, kneeling.

Fred and John Illinois River Cabin. Monte, left, Fred Ellis, far right, Jared Ellis, kneeling.

 

Fred was married to a short, extraordinarily friendly woman named Theresa (1909-1992). Theresa was known for her radiant personality, perpetual permanent hairstyle and ruby-red lipstick, that would stain the cheeks of the many when in her presence.

Theresa Ellis and Sharyl Ellis in Hawaii, 1970's s

e Theresa Ellis and Sharyl Ellis in Hawaii

The reason this story could have ended badly is because under unknown circumstances, Monte’s Uncle Fred procured the corpse of an American Bald Eagle.  The American Bald Eagle was then stuffed and mounted and is depicted in the first and last photograph in this entry.

Monte was eventually given the American Bald Eagle by his Uncle Fred.

For years, the American Bald Eagle could be seen in Monte’s art room while the Ellis family resided at Big Lake. Eventually, the stuffed eagle was not so prominently displayed due to the mere possession of such an animal was illegal, with grave consequences if found to be in one’s possession.

Monte, bw photo with Bald Eagle, unsmiling, 619A year or two before Monte’s death, he was asked by his son what had happened to the American Bald Eagle.  Rather than directly answering the question, Monte simply replied that time had ravaged the appearance of the American Bald Eagle and that it was in terrible condition.

After Monte passed away in 2009, his home and possessions were carefully searched for the American Bald Eagle.  The eagle was never found.

It is very likely at some point Monte burned the eagle out of fear of not only having it in his own possession, but also out of the concern of leaving such an item behind upon his death.

 

 

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