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Elmer Ellingsen (1913-2002) was born in North Vancouver to Sigurd and Gladys Ellingsen. After graduating from high school, he took a short course in business at Sprott Shaw College. In the early 1930s Elmer worked in logging and became a strong supporter of the trade union movement. He also had classical piano training in school, later turning to popular music; he played for many dances and parties until well into his eighties.
Elmer married May Freeman on August 1, 1936. They built a float house and spent the next ten years in the Loughborough Inlet/Phillips Arm area where Elmer worked in his father's logging operations. While there, their children Shirley (1939), Bruce (1940) and Andy (1941) were born. In 1946 they moved to Von Donop Creek, where Elmer formed a logging partnership with Mike Herrewig and Scotty McKenzie. In 1950, he formed a new partnership with Erne Anderson for logging in the Whaletown area, and moved the floathouse to Manson's Landing lagoon. Two years later their floathouse was moved to its present location on Hague Lake.
After traveling from home to various logging operations, Elmer retired from logging. He bought a D8 Caterpillar tractor, backhoe and gravel truck and worked for the next forty years excavating, delivering gravel and moving things. He often worked with BC Hydro and BC Tel on pole installation, repair and maintenance.
Both Elmer and May were very active in community life. They sponsored weekly movie nights through the 1950s and square dancing in the sixties. Elmer was a leading promoter of bringing ferry and hydro service to the island; he helped renovate Manson's Hall in the late 1970s, lobbied for road paving and helped initiate the Cortes Island Firefighters Assoc. in the 1980s. Both were founding members of the Cortes Island Museum and Archives Society.