Darryl Ellingson

Darryl Ellingson, a Santa Rosa insurance salesman and one-time Olympic hopeful, has died. He was 77.

Ellingson died early Monday after a more than three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

"He was diagnosed in September 2009," said his son, Matthew Ellingson of Reno. "He did pretty darn good for a man his age."

His insurance career spanned 45 years.

He co-owned Ellsingson and Jones Insurance Co. with partner Sam Jones from the late 1960s until it was bought by a large Palo Alto company in the early 1990s.

More recently, he worked as an agent at George Peterson Insurance until his semi-retirement about five years ago.

In the 1950s, he played football and ran track at USC. He narrowly missed competing in the Olympics when he pulled a hamstring before qualifying, his son said.

"He was a tremendous athlete," said banker and longtime friend Bill Reinking.

Ellingson was born in Los Angeles in 1935. He went to Dorsey High School and then USC. He was voted the Los Angeles area high school athlete of the year in 1953.

He met his wife of 50 years, the former Florine Trombetta of Santa Rosa, while at USC.

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