Elmer F. Ellis, 74, a senior partner in a Manassas realty firm and a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve, died July 16 at Prince William Hospital in Manassas. He had a heart ailment.

Mr. Ellis was born in Washington and grew up here and in Arlington. In the mid-1930s, he went to work at the Hay-Adams Hotel here as a room clerk and soon became its manager.

He held that position until 1942, when he enlisted in the old Army Air Corps for World War II service. He was commissioned and served as a ground officer with the 66th Fighter Wing of the 8th Air Force in Europe. He was a lieutenant colonel when he retired from the reserves.

After the war, Mr. Ellis returned to Washington and subsequently was manager of the Chastleton, Davenport Terrace and Cathedral Mansion hotels. In the 1950s, he became owner and operator of the Elko Motor Lodge in Fredericksburg, Va.

In 1957, he moved to Manassas and entered the real estate business. He became vice president of Thrifty Homes Sales and sales manager of the Lomond Knolls subdivision. He later established the Ellis-Jewel Realty Co. in Manassas and remained a senior partner in the firm until his death.

Mr. Ellis was a member of Rotary International and of the Prince William Board of Realtors, he also was a member of the Manassan-Aires, a barbershop quartet.

Survivors include his wife, Elinor, of Manassas; a son, Air Force Col. Gary L. Ellis of Fredericksburg; a stepson, Dr. Bruce C. Leitkam of Linden, Mich; three stepdaughters, Sharon Milligan of Nevada City, Calif., and Carol A. and Deborah S. Leitkam of Manassas; a brother, Richard Clayton Ellis Jr. of Alexandria; a sister, Dorothy Kloman of McLean, and five grandchildren.