Margaret Fay Ellis

November 12, 2020
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Margaret Fay Ellis

BILLINGS — Margaret Fay Ellis “Fay” passed quietly on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in Billings. Margaret Fay Holmes was born to Daniel Holmes and Margery Pring, and grew up in Colorado Springs, where she attended Colorado State University, was the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Queen and Colorado State Dairy Princess. While studying Animal Husbandry at CSU, she met George Ellis and they soon married and moved to the family farm in Indiana, where they had three children.

In 1970 the family moved to Montana, where they managed Beartooth Ranch in Columbus and, in 1979, were able to purchase a partnership in the historic ranch from founder Vern Sanders. Fay was instrumental in day to day operations and as many of us know, hospitality was second to none for guests, employees and family. She made everyone feel welcome and was a “second mother” to countless people that stayed in her home and worked at the ranch. She was a founding member of the National Organization of Poll-Ettes, established for supporting women and youth in the Hereford business, served in several local and national livestock organizations and was a tireless supporter of livestock youth events.

The arts were a passion for Fay, and she exposed her family and friends to all forms of art and music. She was nationally recognized for her volunteering support of the arts, was a lifelong supporter of the Billings Symphony and served over 40 years on the Symphony Board. From 1976 to 2016, she served as Secretary, Vice President and President, and also worked on Events Programming, Development, Strategic Planning and Finance committees. She gave selflessly and was proud to serve, as so much of what the Billings Symphony is today has been touched and influenced by her input and guidance.

Fay was an inspiration to all she met, no matter what was on her plate. Her warm smile and twinkle in her eye made you feel instantly comfortable, she was always interested in what you were doing. We will miss the steady guiding hand, the loving Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother and the rare and truly caring friend. She is survived by children Debbie Andras (J.C.), Dan Ellis (Lori), Donna Todd; grandchildren John Andras (Cathy), Geoff Andras, Whitney Andras, Logan Todd (Jessica), Dillon Todd (Cindy); and great-grandchildren Millie Ryan Andras and Eleanor Fay Todd. Because of current restrictions, services will be held at a later date. She asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Billings Symphony.

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