Cover photo for Kathlyn Ellis's Obituary
Kathlyn Ellis Profile Photo
1929 Kathlyn 2020

Kathlyn Ellis

September 9, 1929 — October 7, 2020

Kathlyn (Kassy) Gray Brucker Ellis, of Natrona Heights, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. She was a sister, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother; family was the center of an extraordinarily rich life.

Kassy was born September 9, 1929, in Natrona Heights a daughter of the late William and Catherine (Coyne) Gray, and spent her life in the Valley. As the aquatics Director at the YMCA in Tarentum, she taught countless children to swim and led women’s camps long before empowering women was a societal concern. She helped women conquer their fears, become comfortable in the water, and enjoy one another’s company. Her catalogue of campfire songs was legendary.

On June 3, 1972 she married the true love of her life, Benjamin Ellis. Together they owned and operated Jay’s Auto in downtown New Kensington, became fixtures of the New Ken community, and willingly gave to those down on their luck. Together they raised their children and then assumed the role they were undoubtedly made for: grandparents. She hosted picnics for bowling leagues, church groups, family, and her family’s friends. She welcomed everyone, celebrated all, and loved unconditionally. Holidays always included dinner around her table, games, and a little mischief—which she usually created. She was a small woman with a big heart and a sharp sense of humor. A proud matriarch, a loving mother, a doting grandmother.

Kassy is survived by her children; Kathy (David) McPherson, Michael Brucker (fiance, Carolyn), Donna (Chris) Harkins and Diane Ellis, her grandchildren, Jennifer (Jeff), Brad (Mary), Sara (Shawn), Jesse (Philippe), John, Aaron, Christina, Chris (Olivia), Cole, Heather (Jeff), Maggie (Fabian), Ben, Abbey and Katie (Mike) and great-grandchild, Crosby and numerous other great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Benjamin, her daughter, Margie, her grandson Tyler and her siblings Andy, Jean, Bob and Libby.

Friends will be received on Friday from 2-4, 6-8 p.m. in the Cicholski-Zidek Funeral Home, Inc., 1522 Carlisle Street, Natrona Heights 724-224-8688, where funeral ceremonies will be held on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Officiating will be the Rev. Gary Lyon and Rev. Lisa Lyon. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Tarentum. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Kassy may be made to the Allegheny Presbyterian Church, 1900 State Route 356, Leechburg, Pa. 15656. To send an online condolence please visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kathlyn Ellis, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, October 9, 2020

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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