Obituary: John Ellis

By Scott McNee

University of Strathclyde hydraulics lecturer John Ellis has died at the age of 68.

Ellis originally studied at the University when it was known as the Tech, graduating his civil engineering course in 1967 with First Class Honours, before re-enrolling to achieve his PhD, accomplished in 1970.

Ellis stayed at the University after the completion of his education, teaching hydraulics – a field that allowed his personal interest in fluid mechanics and dams.

While teaching at the university, Ellis notably provided several companies with computational models of proposed structures – at the time a recent concept, and one that conserved unprecedented funds intended for physical models.

In 1977, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) awarded Ellis with the Robert Alfred Carr Prize, awarded to ‘the best paper published by the Institute’ that year, as well as the James Watt Medal for prowess in mechanical engineering.

Ellis left his position at Strathclyde in 1986 due to ill-health, and later became a private consulting engineer and a research fellow at Glasgow University.

His health worsening again, Ellis was unable to continue his 10-week lecture course at Glasgow University, and began working his consulting business from home.

In 2004, fearing his ill health would prevent completion of contracted projects, Ellis retired from his longstanding consulting business.

Towards the end of his life, Ellis achieved notable success as an author of textbooks in his chosen subject – his last book, Pressure Transients in Water Engineering, was published in 2008.

John Ellis is survived by his wife Elizabeth.