Haggard Cowen "Sandy" Ellis Dr. Haggard Cowen "Sandy" Ellis died peacefully following long illness on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, family members by his side. He was born in Tampa, Florida, January 17, 1919. Dr. Ellis received an A.A. from Mars Hill College in 1941, B.A. from Wake Forest College in 1943, B.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1948, and a Ph.D. from the University of California in 1951. He was ordained to the ministry on June 7, 1942, in Nashville, Tennessee, and served his country during World War II as an Army chaplain. After the war, he returned to the pastorate continuing in the ministry for over half a century. He served churches in Linville Falls and La Grange, North Carolina; Owensboro, Kentucky; Jacksonville, Florida; and Etowah, Tennessee. He was called to the pastorate of the historic First Baptist Church of Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1957, where he served for nearly three decades. Dr. Ellis was a denominational leader at the local, state, national, and international levels. He wrote extensively, serving a dozen different publications and filled hundreds of requests for speaking engagements also from the local to international scene. He shepherded his congregations, teaching, preaching, ministering to the needs of parishioners, developing and training leadership, and administrating both traditional and visionary programs. He was a champion of Christian higher education and defender of academic excellence and freedom. Dr. Ellis was ahead of his time in implementing the ordination of women as deacons and pastors. Countless numbers of people and institutions have reason to give thanks that he heard and followed the calling God embedded in his soul. He taught and lived the cornerstone principle that all truth comes from God. Sandy was an outdoorsman from youth. He was an accomplished marksman, hunter, and fisherman with a passion for conservation and protection of God's creation. He was a daring early explorer of the Linville Gorge. Mindful of the gift of athleticism, he was a track star in high school and college, an excellent tennis and basketball player, swimmer, water-skier, and life-long golfer. Dr. Ellis shared those skills on the instructional level at inner city children's organizations. He held a pilot's license and found great joy in flying. Dr. Ellis traveled extensively. He and his late wife 'Cille fulfilled a promise they made to each other to show their daughters the world. The family visited all fifty states and over fifteen foreign countries Dr. Ellis was predeceased by his parents, Claude Cooper Ellis and Pearl Jones Ellis; his brothers, William Clint Ellis, Douglas Jones Ellis and Edward Hampton Ellis. He was also preceded in death by his wife of 48 years, Nancy Lucille ('Cille) Haywood Ellis. He is survived by their two daughters and their husbands, Sandra and Daniel Ellis-Killian, and Ellen and Mike Sadler; and his precious grandsons and their wives whom he considered his treasured granddaughters, Michael and Isobel Sadler, and Jake and Jennifer Sadler. Dr. Ellis is survived by his wife, Carol Robertson Ellis, with whom he spent the later years of his life; and one stepson, Ronald Jerome Townsend and his family. His only sister, Martha Ellis Wells, survives him. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Pauline Haywood; and his nieces and nephews, Vernon Wells, Anita Hendrix, William Ellis, Benjamin Ellis, Steven Ellis, David Ellis, Lyn Sohr, Bruce Haywood, and Marsha Russell, and their families. A Memorial Service will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, September 28, 2013, at First Baptist Church, 735 Park Street, Charlottesville, Virginia. The family will receive following the service. Memorial Gifts may be directed to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Scholarship Fund, 160 Clairemont Ave., Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030 or Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, for the Linville Gorge Wilderness, 195 Hemphill Knob Road, Asheville, NC 28803. Friends may send condolences to the family at www.hillandwood.com
This obituary was originally published in the Daily Progress.