1978 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Success comes to those who accept problems and set about to find creative solutions."
Gilbert Ellis was born on the family farm in Mercer County, Missouri. His father, a country doctor, raised crops and animals to support his wife and five children. During the depression, Ellis' family suffered. During this period his father died. Taking any odd jobs he could find, Ellis was able to save enough money to begin studies at the University of Iowa in 1933. Because of financial needs, he left college in 1935 to take a full-time job with the Household Finance Corporation (HFC). Although he intended to save funds so that he could return to college, he found his new job fascinating. At a company conference, the president of HFC recognized Ellis' potential and named him assistant to the president. He moved up the corporate ladder until he was named CEO in 1973 and chairman of the board in 1974. Ellis was involved in community affairs. He was a member of the Chicago Crime Commission and a trustee on both the Joint Council of Economic Education and the Peacock Camp for Crippled Children.* Deceased