Ellis DeStefano

Ellis DeStefano

He was the quintessential car salesman, though the truth was Ellis wanted your friendship much more than he wanted you to buy the car. His customers knew it; his following was legendary. From the days of his youth he was obsessed with the automobile: a love of heavy Detroit Steel. Though he could sell Fords with the best of them he also had a penchant for fiberglass: his garage featured a pristine 1976 Corvette. He thought life should be lived a quarter mile at a time: a lifelong fan of NHRA drag racing and had raced his 67 Vette at Atco in his younger years. He and his buddy, Charles Mandolia, frequented many a race and did the circuit of corvette shows. Interacting with people was his thing, whether it be sitting poolside with his daughters’ friends or playing pranks on those within his reach. In his world nothing was disposable; Ellis was a craftsman who could fix just about everything from a blown engine to a broken heel at a funeral. And he fixed them better than new. And he was a jack of all trades, be it running a chainsaw deep in the woods or laying down fine etching on an antique firearm he was restoring. Ellis had taught metal and wood shop in his earlier years at Deptford High School and even directed the senior play, Helen Keller. He had lots of hustle in him: in his free time, he’d restore and sell antique furniture, maybe for the money but mostly because he couldn’t sit still and had a trucking company with his brother Rocco and his friend, Bob. He slept in his recliner with Fox News blaring, was obsessed with his dogs, shot sporting clays at Quinton Sportman’s Club and dabbled in photography. He developed film in his kitchen. Some said he was confident in his political ideas: others knew him as stubborn and set in his ways. But one thing was certain: Ellis was a true patriot. He loved our freedom, patriotism and entrepreneurship. A Trump 2020 flag flies in his front yard.
He is survived by his daughters, Rayna (Paul) Biester and Desire DeStefano and his brother, Rocco DeStefano; his grandchildren, Mason Biester, Mikaela Biester, and Madison Biester; his step daughter, Trista Jarvis; and his dogs, Parker and Gizmo and Argyle the cat. Ellis he was pre-deceased by his wife, Sandra, his brother, Ed DeStefano and his grandson, Sean Blancha.
A memorial service celebrating 75 great years will be held soon at Daley Life Celebration Studio, Swedesboro.


  1. Nicole DeStefano Bell says:

    Uncle Ellis was an incredible man. I will forever treasure my childhood memories playing in his backyard and the countless hours swimming in his pool with my cousins. There is no way I can truly capture just how very much his family will miss him or how devastating this loss has been. But the family he leaves behind will stay strong together and for one another just as he had always inspired us to do. He was a simple man however the knowledge he had about so many things was anything but simple. I pray that he rests in eternal peace. My deepest condolences to my cousins, Rayna and Desire and his grandchildren. Hang on to the wonderful memories and the things he taught you along the way. They’re priceless as was he.

  2. Ed DeStefano says:

    Uncle Ellis, you were always a special part of my life, more than an uncle and godfather. Caring and fun to be around and a great person. You’ve helped me get through the past 5 months since the loss of Dad and I can’t believe that you are gone now.

  3. Nancy McCloskey says:

    Desire, Madison and Mikaela I am so sorry for your loss. . I remember him well.

  4. Todd Blancha says:

    You were my 2nd dad and always looked up to you. Always enjoyed when we hung out..
    Love you and will miss you Pop!!


    Ellis will be greatly missed by so many, with myself among them. Senior year at KRHS and beyond held many fond memories. Rest in peace El.

  6. Christie H Huntenburg says:

    Although I had not seen Ellis for a decade, I loved him like a brother. We spent years sharing every Sunday evening with “Uncle Ellis.” He was endlessly fascinated by the world, an interest we shared. He was a dedicated family man and his love for Sandy was legendary. I could (and did) spend hours listening to Ellis expound. My life is richer for having known Ellis. The world is poorer for his absence. My sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Ellis. May he rest in peace.

  7. Lucy Staley says:

    So sorry to find that Ellis’ passed away. I enjoyed talking to him and will miss him.
    Prayers for the family

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