Robert Ellenby, had travel business

August 08, 1994|By Patrick Hickerson | Patrick Hickerson,Contributing Writer

Robert W. Ellenby, founder and president of Safe Harbors Travel Group Inc., a Baltimore business specializing in international travel, died Thursday of pulmonary disease at Sinai Hospital. He was 47.

He opened Safe Harbors in 1986 with a staff of two that later grew to 12. Shortly after its opening, his brother, Jay M. Ellenby of Bel Air, joined the business to manage the expansion.

"His business is what he put his life into," said Dr. Dolph Druckman, a friend of 20 years who is a physician in Washington. Dr. Druckman said Mr. Ellenby came to Baltimore in 1983 to start a job that didn't work out, so he decided to start his own travel business.

Mr. Ellenby was a fervent supporter of maintaining the historical character of his neighborhood, Fells Point. He helped found and was treasurer for the Mid-Pointe Homeowners Association.

During the 1970s, he was part of a historical preservation group in Philadelphia that opposed a highway going through the Society Hill-South Street neighborhood there. Later, the neighborhood experienced a renaissance as a tourist attraction similar to Fells Point.

Mr. Ellenby was born and educated in Broomall, Pa. He graduated from American University in 1969 and moved a year later to London to pursue a career in theatrical production.

One of his interests was the history of Britain and Europe.

"He made at least a trip a year to London," Dr. Druckman said.

He relocated to Philadelphia in the early 1970s and began his travel services career with American Express.

When Mr. Ellenby moved to Baltimore, he first lived on Calvert Street and later moved to a house he bought on Wolfe Street in Fells Point, which he was restoring.

He was a member of SKAL, an international professional travel organization.

Memorial services will be held at 4 p.m. today at the Lilly & Zeiler Funeral Home at Wolfe Street and Eastern Avenue.

Surviving, in addition to his brother, are his mother, Helen Morrison of West Chester, Pa., and a close friend, Tom Kolton of Baltimore.

The family suggested donations to the Chase-Brexton Clinic, 101 W. Read St., Baltimore 21202.

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