We celebrate the life of Ray Winston Ellis, 85 years old of Champlain, Virginia who passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Tuesday, October 5, 2021..
He was a Husband and Father everyone should strive to be. He lived a life based on his Christianity as a decades long Deacon and Sunday School Teacher at Upper Essex Baptist Church. He worked as a farmer his whole life, except for a few years recovering from an accident in his early 20’s that left him a double amputee. This did not define him however, as his positive outlook was infectious, and he many times said, “everyone has something to deal with, this is just mine”. He was an avid hunter, no I mean he was a passionate hunter, as all his hard work was just to get back into the woods when it was done. He enjoyed many years tractor pulling and traveling with his lifetime love, Betty Jean Ellis, also a lifelong resident of Champlain. They nursed each other at different times, and they never wavered in their devotion.
Ray met a friend wherever he went, and most times created them when one wasn’t around. You always budgeted an extra hour anywhere you went, because he would always enjoy conversation with whoever he ran into. Ray accomplished much, building a bigger farm, allowing his children to have independence with a strong and known backstop, and inspiring others to keep going even when things have gone sideways, but his best job was being the best example on how to live and raise a family for his 3 children and their families.
Big Ray, as he was known to all, didn’t have anything left to accomplish (unless it was one more Big Buck), he left us with smiles even the last days, and that is how we all should strive to leave this world and enter into the heavenly one.
He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.
In addition to his loving wife Betty Jean, Ray is survived by his three children Cheryl Ellis Brooks (Donnie), R. Winston Ellis, Jr (Tracy) all of Champlain and Stephen C. Ellis (Susan) of Caret; one brother Wayne E. Ellis (Janet) of Midlothian; his seven grandchildren Ryan Ellis (Courtnie), Hilary Brooks, Lindsay Ellis-Gawen, Rebekah Brooks, Brody Ellis, Logan Ellis and Jaden Ellis; three great-grandchildren Cason Chilton, Layton Gawen , Emerson Ellis and Baby Ellis on the way.
Due to the Covid pandemic, a private service will be held in Upper Essex Baptist church at 3:30 pm on Friday, October 8, 2021, but available to all on FM radio 88.7 in the church parking lot. An open graveside service in the cemetery will follow for anyone who feels comfortable to attend.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Upper Essex Baptist Church Building Fund or Cemetery Fund, P O Box 225, Caret, VA 22436.