Harlan Reed Ellis passed away peacefully on January 9th, at the age of 77, due to a chronic illness related to the kidney transplant he received 15 years prior. Reed is survived by his wife of 43 years, Nancy Lee Herron, his daughter, Laura Ellis Bieniek, his son in law, Matthew Bieniek, and his grandchildren, Henry and Molly. Reed is also survived by his sister, Karen Ellis Stonesifer, his brother in law, the Rev. Jeffrey Stonesifer, his nephews, Jonathan and Jared Stonesifer, and his niece, Shannon Stonesifer Stauffer.
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Reed was raised in Gainesville, Florida, by his parents Harlan and Helen Ellis. He attended Harvard College, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1968. Reed received his PhD from Columbia University Teachers’ College in law and education. He started his legal career at Paul Weiss, in New York, as a tax attorney, and then became a labor lawyer, representing unions, at Cohen, Weiss and Simon. In 1976, Reed moved to New Jersey, joining the law firm of Pitney, Hardin & Kipp, representing management. He then moved to Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus in Somerville, NJ, and later opened a labor firm in Newark, DeMaria, Ellis & Hunt. Reed later became a shareholder at the Manhattan office of Littler Mendelson, representing national clients on labor issues and also merger & acquisitions matters. He transitioned to the role of Special Counsel in 2017.
Reed was active in the New Jersey and New York Bars, and was identified as one of the Best Lawyers in America from 1995- 2019. Reed was unusual in that he forged many long- term friendships with Union attorneys and local Union officials, despite being a Management side labor lawyer. He was consistently elected to leadership positions in his academic and professional life, reflecting the trust and confidence so many placed in him. Reed was a mentor to many young people, and an active advocate for women in his profession. He had many gifts. Reed is beloved and will be missed by many.
Visitation will be on Thursday, January 23 from 4-6 pm at the Caggiano Memorial Home in Montclair, NJ. A memorial service will take place on Friday, January 24 from 5-7:30 pm at the Harvard Club in New York City. Please RSVP to LauraHEllis@gmail.com. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Harlan Reed Ellis Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of North Central Florida, 3919 W. Newberry Road, Suite 3, Gainesville, FL 32607.