Bennie Ellender Obituary
 
In Memory of

Coach Bennie Ellender Jr.

March 2, 1925 - December 23, 2011
Obituary

Coach Bennie Ellender, Jr. went to heaven just after midnight on December 23, 2011 to be with Bette in the presence of our Lord. He was surrounded by many who loved him. He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 62 years, Gladys Elizabeth "Bette" Howard Ellender and his parents, Bennie Ellender, Sr. and the former Alice Gray of Sulphur, LA. He is survived by his brother, Vaughn Ellender of Sulphur, LA and his children in spirit, Stephanie Palmisano, Stephen Grilletta (Michelle) and Rachael Brideveaux (George) as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins that adored him. Coach Ellender was born to play and win. He graduated from...
Coach Bennie Ellender, Jr. went to heaven just after midnight on December 23, 2011 to be with Bette in the presence of our Lord. He was surrounded by many who loved him. He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 62 years, Gladys Elizabeth "Bette" Howard Ellender and his parents, Bennie Ellender, Sr. and the former Alice Gray of Sulphur, LA. He is survived by his brother, Vaughn Ellender of Sulphur, LA and his children in spirit, Stephanie Palmisano, Stephen Grilletta (Michelle) and Rachael Brideveaux (George) as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins that adored him.
Coach Ellender was born to play and win. He graduated from Sulphur High School where he was recruited by Monk Simons to Tulane. He started as a tailback and wingback under Coach Bobby Kellogg as a freshman. Following a break for WWII, he returned from the Navy for his senior year at starting Quarterback for Coach Henry Finka. He received a Bachelor of Education from Tulane and went on to LSU for a Master's of Science. During his post graduate work, he met the love of his life, Gladys Elizabeth "Bette" Howard from New Orleans at the Audubon Park Swimming Pool. The two were married in 1949.
Coach Ellender began coaching at Westlake High School where in 1953 he led his team to the State Championship. In 1959 he joined Coach Andy Pilney's staff at Tulane serving as freshman and offensive backfield coach. He moved to Arkansas State University and soon took over as head coach. At ASU, he led his team to the Pecan Bowl Championships in 1969 and 1970. His teams were in the national rankings six of his eight years. His 1970 team was rated #1 in the NCAA college division. He was voted Southland Conference Coach of the year three times. Coach Ellender was the winningest coach in ASU history and produced more all-Americans (8) than were developed in the school's history culminating in the AFCA College Division Coach of the Year. It's no wonder Tulane called him back to New Orleans in 1971 where his quiet patience and determined perseverance paid off. He led Tulane to its finest season in 25 years in 1973, winning 14-0 over rival LSU. This time he was named UPI Coach of the Year.

Off the field he was a man of much generosity. He attended First Baptist New Orleans serving as a greeter and Sunday school teacher to Special Education adults for many years.
The family would like to thank the amazing staff of St Joseph Hospice and all of the loving staff at Sunrise Assisted Living of Metaire, all of which were drawn to this loving man.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the Funeral Service at Garden of Memories Funeral Home, 4900 Airline Drive, Metairie on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 1:00 PM. Visitation will be held from 11:00 AM until service time. Interment will be in Garden of Memories Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the St Joseph Hospice Indigent Fund, 824 Elmwood Park Blvd, Suite 155, New Orleans, LA 70123 or ASU Red Wolves Club, Arkansas State University, P.O. Box 2219, State University, AR 72467 are preferred.

"I was very fortunate to be able to meet and care for Mr.Bennie in the last months of his life. Who I met was the sweetest man ever. Stephanie, my deepest..." Lori Hunter (New Orleans, LA)

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