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Thomas Francis Ellis

1920 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Thomas Francis Ellis Obituary
Thomas Francis Ellis

August 10, 1920 - July 12, 2018


Thomas Francis Ellis, well-loved father, grandfather, and great grandfather, passed away peacefully at his home on July 12, 2018. Born in Alameda, California on August 10, 1920, he was the son of the late William C. Ellis and Debra O'Keefe Ellis. He was a graduate of The Hill School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a member of the Zeta Psi Fraternity and Rex of Gimghoul Castle. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II assigned to the USS Moosehead. After retiring from the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant, he attended and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Tom's career in law began in private practice with notable attorneys including Joseph B. Cheshire, IV and J.C.B. Ehringhaus, Jr. Later Tom became Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Eventually Tom joined Armistead Maupin and W. W. Taylor, Jr. to found the firm of Maupin, Taylor & Ellis where he actively practiced for many years. After leaving Maupin, Taylor & Ellis, he joined the firm of Ogletree Deakins for a short time until his retirement in 2009. He was recognized by the N.C. State Bar as a practicing attorney for over fifty years. He was a member of the Wake County Bar Association, the North Carolina State Bar, the North Carolina Bar and the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference.

Tom was passionate about his faith, his family, politics and golf. His church homes included St. Michael's Episcopal Church, St. Timothy's Episcopal Church and Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Tom was a long standing member of the Bible Study Fellowship and The Men's Study. Tom loved his country and contributed in no small way to the political careers and successes of, among others, Senators Jesse Helms, John East, and Lauch Faircloth. Perhaps his greatest moment was joining with Senator Helms to keep Ronald Reagan's political career viable by orchestrating a Reagan win in the 1976 North Carolina primary thus setting the stage for Reagan to run again and be elected President in 1980.

Tom was a long standing member of the Carolina Country Club and an avid golfer. Hanging on the wall of his den was the framed score card memorializing Tom shooting 70 at age 70. He was also proud of his hole in one in 2001. Tom was an original member of the N.C. State Running Club with trophies for finishing, not winning.

Tom married his UNC sweetheart, Jinnette Garland Hood who predeceased him on February 28, 2012. They enjoyed over sixty years of marriage and Jinnette was always quick to remind "Beaver" that it was the convertible and sack of records that won her love for him. Survivors include his daughter, Debra Ellis Boyle and husband, The Honorable T. W. Boyle; son, M. H. Hood Ellis and wife, Anne Detgen Ellis; a special niece, Adair Atwell Beutel; a special nephew, Thomas H. Ellis; granddaughters Anna Boyle Roberts, Holt Ellis Kolb, Hannah Ellis Sargazakov, and Britton D. Ellis; grandsons William Ellis Boyle, Thomas Patrick Boyle and Marshall Hood Ellis; and eleven great grandchildren.

The Ellis family expresses its love and appreciation to the wonderful friends and caregivers who loved and devoted their lives to making Jinnette (Mamama) and Tom (Boopa) comfortable in their later years: The head angel who made it all happen, Patricia Hawkins; Deborah Cannady; Cita Pettiford, Patricia Bulluck, Martha Davis, Dr James Parsons and Transitions Life Care (especially Carrie Baker and Julie Hartzell). In addition, the Ellis family wishes to express its love and appreciation to Joe Knott, Tom Farr, Bob Harris, Donna Joyner, Peggy Grady, George Worth, Rick Lewis, Jim Roberts, Donald J. Freeman, Jr., Peggy Lou Nowell and The Rev. Claudia Greggs for their thoughtful conversations, visits and outings with Tom.

A grave side service will be held at Oakwood Cemetery at 1:00 pm. on Monday, July 16, 2018. The family will receive friends immediately after the service at the Ellis home. Memorial donations may be sent to Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 100 E. Peace St., Raleigh, N.C. 27604 or the Tammy Lynn Center, 739 Chappell Dr. Raleigh, N.C. 27606.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne, 300 St. Mary's Street, Raleigh.
Published in The News & Observer on July 14, 2018
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