Died: Fri., Oct. 27, 2017


10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Sat., Nov. 04, 2017
Location: 25th Street Baptist Church

Funeral Service

12:00 PM Sat., Nov. 04, 2017
Location: 25th Street Baptist Church

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Mr. Charles John Ellis, Sr. was born on June 19, 1932, to the union of John and Alice Ellis, in Louisville, Kentucky. From the time he was a young boy, Charles was raised to be a strong family man. He spent his early years with his mother, father and sister, Daisy. In the summers, Charles and Daisy would go to his Aunt Annie Mae’s home in Stamping Ground, Kentucky to work in the fields. This would afford him extra money and keep him off the streets. The trips to Stamping Ground help solidify Charles’ strong family ties, which were evident throughout his life.

Charles attended Central High School in Louisville, where he excelled in athletics, including being a starting running back for the football team and playing a significant role on the basketball team.  Upon graduating from high school, Charles enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he served during the Korean War, from 1951-1955. One of his greatest memories from service was when he was called upon to work on the President’s plane, Air Force One. The plane had an issue that called for a welder and he was the only welder available within a 200-mile radius. As a result, Charles was called upon and given a top-secret clearance to work on the plane.  Following his time in the service, Charles married “the girl from down the street” in Louisville, Betty Deloris Roberts. Betty was the eldest daughter of the Rev. J. L. Roberts, who pastored Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Louisville Kentucky.

On November 7, 1959, Charles and Betty were united in holy matrimony. This union produced Charles John Ellis, Jr., who was born in 1963. Charles also became father to Gaynell Jones, who Betty had from a previous marriage. Because Charles had an infectious personality and the gift of love, he was and has always been daddy to her. Many would say that he had a profound effect on all who have spent considerable time in his presence.

Recognizing the importance of education, Charles attended Kentucky State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. He continued his graduate studies at Indiana University, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Education. Charles was a proud  member of the first African American fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.

In the 1970’s, Charles and his family moved to Indianapolis, where he continued his career as an educator working as a teacher for Indianapolis Public School System (I.P.S.) #18. The 1970’s were a tumultuous time for I.P.S. as the order for  busing was implemented; but as educator on the southside of Indianapolis, Charles was in the perfect place. He was the only African-American teacher in the school and became a role model for many of the African-American students who were bused to school 18.

Throughout Charles’ life it was not uncommon for former students to approach him or his family and express how important Charles was to their growth and development in school. Charles continued to work for Indianapolis Public Schools for more than twenty years. During his time at I.P.S., Charles also worked at School #72 and School #90, respectively.

Charles was not only a life-long educator, but also a man of faith. He accepted Christ at an early age at Lampton Baptist Church, in Louisville, Kentucky.  He continued to grow and develop in his faith at Lampton and became a deacon of the church and eventually served as the Chairman of the Deacon Board.  When Charles moved to Indianapolis, he and his family united with Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, where he served on the Finance Committee and eventually as Chairman of the Deacon Board. Charles served at Metropolitan faithfully until he and the family moved their membership to 25th Street Baptist Church in 1999, where his son, Rev. Charles J. Ellis, Jr. was called as Pastor of the church. Charles, Sr. served faithfully in the Deacon Ministry until poor health prohibited attendance. One little known fact about Charles was his affinity for music. Charles also sang for a stint in the choir at 25th Street Baptist Church. He directed the Male Chorus at Metropolitan Baptist. In his earlier years, he also sang in an ensemble called The White Rose, as well as other male choruses. 

As a family man one of the great joys of Charles’ life were his many nieces, nephews and grandchildren. He loved spending time with them and telling a multitude of stories about his life experiences. There were many family events were children would gather around him laughing as he told delightful stories of the past.

Charles J. Ellis, Sr. departed this life on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, at the age eighty-five years, four months and nine days. In addition to his parents, Charles was preceded in death by his sister, Daisy.

He leaves to cherish his memory his loving and devoted wife, Betty Delores; daughter, Gaynell Johnson; son, Charles J. Ellis, Jr. (Tonya); granddaughter, Victoria Eisenburger (Chris), granddaughter, BreAnn Ellis and grandson, John Johnson, a host of nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.




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Leah Richmond-Jones
   Posted Thu November 02, 2017
Betty, you and the family are in my thoughts and prayers.- Leah Richmond-Jones

Bruceil Mays
   Posted Fri November 03, 2017
I am so sorry for you loss. My heart and my prayers are with you at this time of bereavement. May you be comforted by the memories you have of your loved one.

In sisterly love,
Soror Bruceil Mays

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