Ellis Wilson Sr. was born on May 11, 1926 to Jessie and Florine Wilson in Montgomery, Alabama. He was the second of six children. Early in life, he accepted the Lord and was a member of Shiloh Baptist Church in Montgomery for ten years. At the age of 18, he joined the United States Navy, where he was a Steward Mate First Class and was honorably discharged. He met and married the late Geraldine Johnson, fathering nine sons and two daughters. They moved to Akron in late 1950.
Ellis worked for Medvinsky Paper Company for five years and was then hired by Smithers Scientific Services and retiring after thirty-four years of service. In 1967, he met Sarah Philpot and were married in March 1974 and became a blended family adding one son (Elmo “Shim” White) and one daughter (Marsha White-Andrus); grandchildren, Shem White and Shemida White; and raising two grandchildren, Tony and Roger Morrow; Also Ellis and Sarah felt in their hearts as a son, Ricky Morse of Canton, Ohio. Now as brothers and sisters, Shim, Marsha and the grandchildren nicked named him Ellis “Pops”, which he would respond with a BIG wide grin.
Ellis and Sarah began singing as the humble spiritual Duet. 22 years plus of Gospel singing, Ellis’ commitment to this ministry took he and Sarah to penal institutions, nursing homes, as well as various engagements in the community and beyond. They were on the radio station WQIO for four years. In 1980, Ellis “Pops” became a deacon at Providence Baptist Church where Ellis and Sarah were members for a number of years before Sarah was called into the ministry.
Ellis found a new church home at Mt. Neb Baptist Church in Springfield Township where he became Deacon and Sarah became Pastor. Years later, Deacon Ellis and wife, Rev. Sarah became members of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, pastored by the late Rev. Roy Gary, until Ellis’s wife retired from ministry. After the late Roy Gary passing, Ellis joined Shiloh Baptist Church of Akron, Ohio pastored by Rev. Curtis A. Minter, where Ellis was a deacon, and wife, Rev. Sarah Wilson, “Mother” of the church.
It should also be mentioned, that Ellis was an outstanding fisherman. He and his sons, Ricky and Walter would take him to the lake for many hours and days of the week. He would brag he was the better fisherman, but Ricky would bring home the bigger catch; and don’t ask him who his favorite politician was. Ellis would say “Put em all in one big bag, tie it up good and drop it in the river, and I’ll pick the first one who swims to shore.” We all know besides Sarah, his greatest love, is gospel music and would recommend reading the bible; however, he would say his most humbling experience was singing in nursing homes. Ellis attended the program for a number of years, which was referred to as “work”. He never lost the mind set “working”. Ellis went to “work” faithfully and only missed “work” when he was in the hospital. When Ellis got back on his feet he would say “got to go to work, got to go to work”. But in the same breathe he was smart enough to say “I’m doing all this work, I ain’t seeing no money”. Our father was a hard worker and instill his same work ethic into his children and passed on to his grandchildren.
Ellis was preceded in death by his wife, Rev. Sarah F. Wilson, Gerladine Wilson-Kennedy; sons, Bobby Wilson, Walter Ray Wilson, Ellis Wilson Jr., Thomas “Tommy” Wilson, Baby Boy Wilson and daughter Wendy Wilson.
He leaves to cherish his passing memory sons, Richard (Linda) Wilson, Larry Wilson, Irvin (Ivan) Wilson, Eugene Wilson of Waymart, Pennsylvania, Elmore “Shim” (Frances) White; daughters, Almondine (Leon) Poole, Marsha Andrus; favorite daughters-in-laws, Florida (Black) Wilson (Clifford Black), Margaret Wilson; brothers, Woodrow (Alice), Samuel (Patricia) Wilson of Montgomery, Alabama; Bernice Herring, a truly special, devoted, and supportive friend throughout. Dedicated and loyal grandson, Joseph Earl (BJ) Herring. Last but not least, eldest granddaughter, Dorinda (Dunn) and eldest grandson, Dwayne Wilson and numerous grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren, two great great grandchildren, Roman (Konrad Jr. and Maya) Kaden (Ka’ron and Makayla) Herring; and a host of relatives and friends. Ellis will be truly missed, Never forgotten. Love you Dad, Pops, Granddad and Father-in-law.
In lieu of flowers or donations please make checks payable to Summit Adult Day services in the names of Ellis and Sarah 812 Biruta Street, Akron, Ohio 44302.