Robert Todd Ellis was born in New Haven, CT on October 15, 1964 to Glendora Ellis Gibson and the late Robert D. Ellis. He was educated in the New Haven school system and is a graduate of Wilbur Cross High School. He then earned a Bachelor of Science in Construction Science & Management with a concentration in Civil Engineering from Tuskegee University. After working at the Yale University School of Medicine for several years as a Construction Manager and later a Project Manager in the Design and Facilities Management division, he realized that to make a larger impact he needed to learn more about the business side of engineering. Thus, he obtained a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut.
His professional journey took him to Diversified Technology Corporation (DTC) in Hamden where he became a Business Development Associate and strategic planner as well as construction manager. Wanting to stretch his wings beyond Connecticut, he took a position in Richmond, VA with Yum Brands where he was Facility Lead/Manager for Tricon Global Restaurants. A great opportunity then arose in Philadelphia, and he accepted the position of Vice President of Project and Development Services for Jones Lang LaSalle. A crash in the Philadelphia real estate/construction market brought him back to Connecticut where he first became a consultant with his previous engineering firm, DTC, then a consultant to the City of New Haven. He was then hired full-time by the City of New Haven Economic Development Administration as a Capital Projects Coordinator in the Engineering Department. Robert loved New Haven and having the opportunity to be part of the renaissance of his hometown was very important to him.
Robert valued education and every opportunity he had emphasized that point to his younger relatives, to his friends, to anyone who would listen. He knew there were no shortcuts in life, that staying on the path with hard work and perseverance usually paid off. He embraced the philosophy that it’s important to give back, especially to our youth where he most recently volunteered as a tutor for elementary school boys. He valued community service and was an active member of Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship, Inc, whose outreach extended to both middle and high school students and under resourced communities.
Robert considered himself “Mr. Fix-it” and could actually fix almost everything in the house from plumbing to installing light fixtures. He owns at least two of every tool and has many home projects at various stages of completion. He was always mixing some type of cure-all concoction and often gave medical advice to his wife, who was actually the doctor. He loved to cook and always tried new amazing recipes. He was a fitness fiend who worked out in the early morning hours before work and was an avid cyclist.
Above all, he was a family man. He loved and always spent time with his extended family and especially loved hanging out with the younger ones to “mold them” in his image. He met his wife, Eydie Miller-Ellis, in 1989. She was an ophthalmologist completing her training at Yale. He also worked at Yale and saw her one day walking down the hall on the way to the cafeteria, introduced himself, and it was the beginning of a union that would enrich both of their lives. They got married on August 3, 1991 and enjoyed over 30 wonderful years together with the usual ups and downs, but each challenge brought them closer. They raised their nephew, Joshua Haynesworth, and later had the privilege of knowing his daughter Brittany Brooks, who brought a new and special light to his life. Robert and Eydie were best friends who traveled the world together. Anyone who met Robert loved his optimistic spirit. We will all miss him.
Robert leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Eydie Miller-Ellis, his mother, Glendora Ellis Gibson, a daughter, Brittany Brooks; nephew, Joshua Haynesworth; sister, Shawna Rodriguez (Peter); stepfather, Kenneth Gibson; and many other family members and friends.
A celebration of Robert’s life and legacy will be held Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at 11:00 AM at Bethel AME Church, 255 Goffe St., New Haven. A visitation will be held at the church from 10:00-11:00 AM. He will be buried in Staunton, VA.