May 24, 2024
90 b&w illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £22.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

A Will to Serve

Stories of Patience, Persistence, and Friends Made Along the Way

By Jim Ellis and Jennifer Ott
Afterword by Gary Locke, Foreword by Sally Jewell
Jim Ellis was one of the most influential and impactful civic leaders of Seattle's and Washington's recent history. Though he never sought elected office, his vision and drive were a key force behind many major projects defining our city, county, and region from the 1950s through today. From cleaning up Lake Washington, establishing King County Metro, and implementing the broad array of community-centered Forward Thrust improvement initiatives, to forward-thinking regional projects like the Mountains to Sound Greenway and the Washington State Convention Center, Ellis was astute at bringing together leaders across political divides to create consensus and effect change.

A Will to Serve is a story about the interconnectivity of Ellis's personal and civic lives. It's about individual people—family, friends, neighbors, colleagues—their shared challenges, and how they worked together for regional progress. The book provides insight into a tumultuous and dynamic period of our regional history and a window into the value of patience, persistence, and vision.

Ellis kept notes on his life, projects, and experiences and built a deep portfolio of public speeches. He drew from these to shape his detailed and engaging autobiography. A Will to Serve, in Ellis's own words, is introduced and framed by former secretary of the interior and Jim Ellis mentee Sally Jewell. Several key accomplishments of his later life are presented by historian Jennifer Ott. It closes with an afterword by former Washington governor Gary Locke.

About the Authors

Jim Ellis (1921–2019) was a citizen activist for more than half a century. Jennifer Ott is an environmental historian and assistant director of HistoryLink. Sally Jewell is chair of the EarthLab Advisory Council at the University of Washington and former US secretary of the interior. Gary Locke is acting president of Bellevue College, former US secretary of commerce, and former governor of Washington State.


"The city that is alive is never completed and always needs work. Just as natural systems cannot be taken for granted nor distant suffering long ignored, so the institutions of free people cannot exist unwatched and untended. The safety of liberty rests upon the everyday duties of life, the willingness of citizens to pursue the common good, to teach their children well, to defend justice, to be stewards of the planet, and to respect each other."—Jim Ellis

9781933245706 : a-will-to-serve-ellis-ott-jewell
May 24, 2024
$29.95 USD

Other Titles by Jennifer Ott

Olmsted in Seattle

Jennifer Ott, Staff of HistoryLink
Dec 2019 - History Link
$29.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Seattle at 150

Staff of HistoryLink, edited by Jennifer Ott, foreword by Monica Simmons, afterword by Jenny Durkan
Oct 2019 - History Link
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback


David B. Williams, Jennifer Ott, Staff of HistoryLink
Jul 2017 - History Link
$24.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Social Activists

Knights of the Golden Rule

Peter J. Frederick
Dec 2025 - University Press of Kentucky
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The Life of a Movement Lawyer

Jason Langberg
May 2024 - University of South Carolina Press
$34.99 USD - Hardback
$34.99 USD - Electronic book text

Ma Lineal

Faith S. Holsaert
Apr 2024 - Wayne State University
$29.99 USD - Paperback / softback