William “Bill” Eldridge Ensign – Chattanoogan.com
William “Bill” Eldridge Ensign, 85, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, died Friday, September 24, 2021, at the home where he was surrounded by the love of his family.
Bill was born March 25, 1936 to James Lee and Wilma Eldridge Ensign and raised in Rossville, Georgia. He attended Missionary Ridge Elementary School and graduated from McCallie School in 1954. He graduated in 1958 from Emory University where he was a member of the Airforce ROTC and Phi Delta Theta fraternity. After graduating from Emory, he proudly served in the US Air Force for five years, including two in Okinawa.
After his military service, Bill joined his parents’ floral business, Ensign the Florist, in Rossville. Under his leadership, Ensign the Florist flourished and became one of the largest florists in the Chattanooga area. Founded by his parents in 1922, the florist continues to thrive and will celebrate 100 years of business next year. Bill treated his employees like family and his gracious nature and generosity will be remembered. In addition to his work at the flower shop, Bill was a longtime member of the board of directors of Rossville Bank and remained active with the Rossville Jaycees.
An avid fisherman, Bill particularly enjoyed spending time with friends hunting (if not always catching) rockfish and speckled trout in Apalachicola Bay. The entertaining stories he brought back from these trips will continue to be told in the future. An accomplished gardener, his green thumb was evident in his lush vegetable and flower gardens. Bill also enjoyed spending time with friends on the golf course. He especially enjoyed the occasional tour with a special group of longtime buddies who often called him “the mystery guest.”
Bill was a member of the Anglican Church of the Redeemer family.
Bill was a loving husband, father and grandfather as well as a loyal brother and dear friend to many. With his smile and his composure, he treated everyone with kindness, respect and compassion. Nothing made him happier than helping someone in need.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 53 years, Connelly Parks Ensign, his brother James Lee Ensign, Jr. (Martha), his son William Eldridge Ensign, Jr. (Meredith), his grandson Liam Parker Ensign and his daughter Janet Ensign Neder (Adam), granddaughters Claire Lee Neder and Mary Hamilton Neder, of Spokane, Washington, as well as many cousins. He was predeceased by his parents James Lee and Wilma Eldridge, and his niece Christie Ensign Wright.
The family will receive friends on Sunday, October 3 at the Heritage Funeral Home in Fort Oglethorpe from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. A private funeral service will be held at Forest Hills Cemetery the next day with Reverend Phil Hanner as celebrant.
The family invites you to celebrate Bill by brightening the day of someone you love by sending them flowers.
Visit www.heritagebattlefield.com to share your condolences with the family and view the memorial tribute online.