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FARGO, N.D. -- Shelly Ellig, owner of the Stop-N-Go convenience store chain, died at age 82 Monday at Sanford Medical Center here, Inforum.com reported. Elllig was born Dec. 15, 1927, in Winthrop, Minn. After graduating from Winthrop High School, he received a business degree from the Minneapolis School of Business. He purchased 10 Stop-N-Go stores from Mid-America Dairies in 1974, and Stop-N-Go currently operates 27 locations in North Dakota and Minnesota, including 18 in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area, according to the company's Web site, which was cited in the report.
Ellig also purchased the Frank McKone Cigar Co. in Fargo in 1975, and owned and operated several other businesses throughout his career.
Ellig, of Fargo, was also well-known in the area for giving large donations to benefit area youths.
"In the book of Genesis, it talks about giants in the earth, and we think of Shelly Ellig as one of the giants in our community," Marilyn Guy, Fargo Oak Grove Lutheran School interim president, said in the report. "He left a tremendous legacy, particularly to children and youth."
In December 2008, Ellig announced a $1.25 million gift to Oak Grove Lutheran School for the Ellig Center for Health and Wellness. He has also given large donations to North Dakota State University, the Red River Zoo and Fargo Shanley High School, according to the report. In 2009, he donated more than $1 million toward the Shelly Ellig Athletic Complex at Shanley.
"That was the major impetus to being able to complete our home field," Todd Mickelson, Fargo Catholic Schools Network development director, said in the report. "It's had a huge impact on our kids. It's not just about sports, it's about fellowship."
Ellig contributed $250,000 toward the construction of a track and field, and soccer complex bearing his name at NDSU in 1992. He also pledged $1 million for the renovation of the Bison Sports Arena, the report stated.
Erv Inniger, NDSU's senior associate athletic director, knew Ellig for 33 years, and said in addition to the donations, Ellig has done "tons of promotions" to help get NDSU's athletic programs off the ground.
"There's almost no way that you can put into words the number of things he has done to help us, whether it be through scholarships or getting us through the tough times," Inniger said.
Ellig received an honorary doctorate degree in 2007 from NDSU. That same year, the National Grocers Association gave him the 2007 Spirit of America award, according to the report.
In addition, he gave children a chance to participate in the Red River Zoo's junior zookeeper program, and donated $400,000 for the zoo's Shelly Ellig entrance building, which includes the South American exhibit, Inforum.com reported.
"He did so much for the community and cared so much about the kids, and he will be dearly missed," said Paula Grimestad, the zoo's executive director, in the report.
There will be a prayer service at 7 p.m. Wednesday, with visitation starting at 5 p.m., at Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo. The funeral service will be at 3 p.m. Thursday at Olivet Lutheran Church in Fargo, with visitation starting at 2 p.m. The burial is at Fargo's Riverside Cemetery.