Posted on: November 4, 2021
F. Ellison Conrad, 85, passed away on September 6, 2021.
Our town mourns the loss of Ellison Conrad, beloved physician and community leader. Dr. Conrad was born in Tallahassee, Florida to Fred and Jessie Conrad in 1936, with his brothers Marshall and Jack, where he spent his formative years. He graduated from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and then from the University of Florida College of Medicine in 1962. After an internship at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, he joined the U.S. Navy, serving as a Naval Flight Surgeon and was awarded the Vietnam Campaign Medal. After completing his naval service, Dr. Conrad completed an ophthalmology residency at the University of Virginia, and a fellowship in facial plastics at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
He moved with his family to Abingdon, VA. in 1971 where he opened Abingdon Eye Associates, where he practiced and served the community and surrounding areas for almost half a century. Dr. Conrad was recognized by everyone who went to him for help as an astute diagnostician, and known to his patients and their families as a truly compassionate and caring individual who was willing to go to any distance to heal and comfort. In his career, he was a force in the building and improvement of the local medical community, the new Johnston Memorial Hospital, and an inspirational mentor to the many medical students and resident physicians who trained under him. There was no patient from whatever circumstance, in whatever trouble, day or night, that did not deserve and receive Dr. Conrad’s very best efforts.
Ellison had an undergraduate degree in English, and owned, to the chagrin of some, a sharp pen. A man of Renaissance temperament, truly comfortable bait-house to ballroom, he rode in English fox hunts and held forth on the latest technology, and those who knew him marveled at his breadth of knowledge across a wide range of topics from medicine, to literature, history, to physics. A private instrument pilot for almost six decades, Ellison was a notable and pointed voice on commission meetings that developed and grew our Virginia Highlands Airport. He was an avid hunter, horseman, and a natural shot from his time growing up in the woods and swamps of north Florida. Quick with a good-natured jab – especially to his Tennessee Volunteer friends – he was the beloved fixture and Florida Gator fan at Painter’s Creek Marina known to all simply as “Old Man.”
He is survived by his wife, Baja; brother, Marshall; daughter, Kathryn; sons, Patrick, Jeff, and Jay; and grandchildren, Coleman, Sydney, Britton, Mason, and Alden.