Our hearts are saddened by the passing of our loved one –Deacon John Wesley Ellis, Jr.
Deacon John Wesley Ellis, Jr., “Junius”, 92, of 3600 South Street, South Chesterfield, VA, husband of Otelia Shands Ellis, entered eternal rest and peace on October 12, 2020, at his home. A native of Chesterfield County, he was born on January 26, 1928, to the late John W. Ellis Sr. and Elizabeth Brown Ellis. Deacon Ellis was also preceded in death by his stepmother Gracie Ellis, his brother Joseph V. Ellis, his first wife, the late Daisy Kain Ellis, and from this union two children were born, the late Larry L. Ellis and Marilyn Ellis- Rodriguez. Deacon Ellis’ late mother and father-in-law are Joshua & Alberta Kain and Walter & Mary Shands, Sr. His late sisters and brothers-in-law are John Kain, Martha Kain, Mildred Kain, Lois Ellis, Nola Harvell, and Walter Shands, Jr.
He attended Union Grove Elementary and graduated from George Washington Carver High School (located on the college campus of now Virginia State University) in the Chesterfield County Public School System. He served in the US Army and the National Guard. Furthering his career, he became the first black mechanic for Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone, and C & P Telephone Company, and retired with 35 years of service with only missing one day of work during his tenure.
Deacon Ellis accepted Christ at an early age and became a lifetime member of Union Grove Baptist Church-South Chesterfield. His favorite scriptures were Romans 8:31 and Philippians 4:13. He was a faithful, committed, and dutiful Christian worker for more than 75 years serving on the Deacons’ Ministry, Music Ministry, and in early years on usher board, junior choir, and other ministries. The following represents his legacy of service in the church—Deacons’ Ministry where he was the oldest deacon and served more than 50 years and was chairman for 5 years, Music Ministry where he began singing in the Junior Choir--he sang bass in the Senior/Sanctuary Choir, Male Chorus, Harold E. Braxton Memorial Choir and New Covenant Choir. He was a lead singer for selections like “Seeking For A City”, “When I Rose This Morning, I Didn’t Have No Doubt” and others. In addition, God gave him the gift of reading music and playing the piano. Deacon Ellis was the former church treasurer for 28 years, was currently a member of the Music Committee, Men’s Ministry, and Co-coordinator of the Revival Committee, Back-up for Trustees’ Ministry, van driver, and supporter of all church programs. He was also a former teacher of the Sunday School Young Adult Class.
In addition to Union Grove Baptist Church, Deacon Ellis worked with the Civic and Political Action Association of the Matoaca Magisterial District (CAPAAMMD) - a group that honored his dedicated service a few years ago. He assisted with the Downtown Churches Feeding Program in Petersburg, VA, and willingly sung with the United Fellowship of Church Choirs of Chesterfield and vicinity as sister and daughter churches worshipped. He was recently honored for community service by the Martha Mason Hill Memorial Foundation; and, he was the recipient of many awards and accolades from many affiliations. Deacon Ellis had a heart for others and was always willing to assist anyone wherever and whenever he could. He loved to hunt with the Salisbury Hunting Club, sing, watch his favorite football team - Philadelphia Eagles, and taking care of Brownie - a stray dog that stole his heart. Additionally, he enjoyed listening to CB radio and later scanners. He was a protector of his community.
Most importantly he loved God and lived by “ If I can Help Somebody as I Pass Along, Then My Living Shall Not Be in Vain”.
Upon the passing of his first wife, Daisy Kain Ellis, Deacon Ellis was blessed to unite in marriage with his second wife, the loving Otelia Shands Ellis, whom he leaves to cherish his memory – loving wife Otelia Shands Ellis; together, they embraced 38 years. His life will also be cherished and memorialized by A loving, caring, devoted daughter and caregiver, Marilyn Ellis-Rodriguez (Pablo) of San Antonio, TX; a devoted nephew who has always been like a son and caregiver, Marcus Kain of South Chesterfield, VA; God-daughter, Sheila Robinson of South Chesterfield, VA; affectionally known as his “adopted “ daughter and sons, Melisa Green Milton (Richard) of Chesterfield, VA, Melvin Green of South Chesterfield, VA, and Clarence Green (Elvira) of Manassas, VA. Other survivors include grandchildren, Armando Rodriguez and Fernando Rodriguez of San Antonio, TX; great-grandchildren, Messiah Rodriguez and Nevaeh Rodriguez of San Antonio, TX; his sisters and brothers-in-law: Marye Kain Robertson of Fayetteville, NC, James Shands (Hortense), Ralph Shands (Viola), Samuel Shands (Carolyn), Therman Shands (Ursula“Loretta”), Ruth Shands Johnson, Shirley Shands, Mary King Pegram, and Dorothy Shands all from Stony Creek VA; devoted cousins and personal friends: Charlie Ellis, Ulysses “Stuart” Billips, James Coleman, James “Henry” Hawkins, Garland “Jack” Harris, Rosa Manson, Sherman Hudson, Russell Harris, Elizabeth Clark, Gloria Brown, Marvin Coleman, Lonnie Johnson, Brenda Manson, Joyce Jones Harris, and Mattie Lewis; several nieces, nephews, and cousins, too many to list and the Salisbury Hunt Club.
Special thanks to those who helped with caregiving, yard work, and preparing the home for his transition– the staff of Johnston Willis Hospital, Intrepid Hospice (Chaplain Pamela Walker, Marvet Ray, Stephanie Allen, Lea Anne Beaver, Tina Siegel, Lori Hundall, Nicole Briggs-Gary, Ebony Gilliam, Holly Walker), Mr. Ulysses “Stuart” Billips, Mr. James Coleman, Mr. Marvin Coleman, Ms. Shirley Shands, Mr. Charlie Ellis, Mrs. Marilyn George, Mrs. Christine Gilliam, Mr. Melvin Green, Mr. Garland “Jack” Harris, Mrs. Cathy Hardy, Mr. James “Henry” Hawkins, Mr. & Mrs. Sherman Hudson, Mrs. Stephanie Irving, Ms. Darlene Jones, Mr. Marcus Kain, Mr. Willie Lewis, Mr. Louis Milton, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Milton, Mrs. Theresa Pendelton, Mrs. Mary King Pegram, Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Shands, Mr. & Mrs. Therman Shands, and Mrs. Mildred Woodhouse. The family would like to thank everyone for their prayers, calls, and visits at this most difficult time.
A Homegoing Celebration will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020, 12:00 P. M. on the grounds of Union Grove Baptist Church, 19111 Church Road, South Chesterfield, VA, with the Reverend Dr. William E. Johnson, III, Officiating. Burial will be in the Goode-Ellis Cemetery, South Chesterfield.
The family will receive friends at 3600 South Street, South Chesterfield, VA, and may be contacted by calling Mrs. Otelia Ellis at 526-7308 or Mrs. Marilyn Ellis-Rodriguez at 210-480-3471.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Joseph M. Johnson & Son Funeral Home, 530 South Sycamore Street, Petersburg. (804)-863-4411. www.johnsonservices.us.
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