Rev. Don Ellis with the Lord

Rev. Don Ellis went home to be with the Lord on January 17, after a long illness. He was a faithful minister for many years, pastoring many churches in Texas and several other states. He served two separate pastoral terms in Henderson, first from 1956 to 1962, and again from 1979 to 1992. He was a man of intense faith and biblical wisdom. Missionary Bud Bivens recalls, “I remember Brother Don, fresh out of FWBBC, had a new ’55 red &white DeSoto and he told my dad that it was a graduation gift, but he could not drive it in good conscience since it was bought with money from tobacco farming.” Rev Ellis was always a source of encouragement. As Steven Shotzman, former pastor of First FWB Carthage puts it, “Rev. Ellis was a friend to anyone who needed a friend, and he was a pastor to the pastors.” I found that to be true in my own life. Not only did I learn a lot from him during the many funerals we co-officiated, I also benefited from from our many phone conversations and lunch dates. He will be missed. Brother Don’s obituary can be read below. Please feel free to share a memory in the comments.

Don Ellis

William Donald Ellis, 87, of Fairfield, TX formerly of Longview, TX, passed away on Wednesday morning, Jan. 17, 2018, at his daughter’s home in Fairfield. He was born on Jan. 2, 1931, in Montgomery County, TN to the late William Robert and Alice Gertrude Gower Ellis. He graduated from Coopertown High School in Coopertown, TN with the class of 1949, and attended Welch College in Nashville, TN and served as a minister his entire life. He married Emma Elizabeth Johnson on Sept. 4, 1954, in Greenville, TN and she preceded him in death on Feb. 16, 2000. Mr. Ellis moved to Fairfield three years ago from Longview. He was a member of First Free Will Baptist Church in Carthage. Mr. Ellis was preceded in death by his parents; wife; brother, Bobby Ray Ellis; and son, Donald Jewel Ellis.

Survivors include his son, Jonathan David Ellis and wife Cheryl of Winona, TX; daughters, Sheila Elizabeth James of Beaumont, TX, Marla Marie Walker and husband Bob of Cedar Hill, TN, and Wendy Sue Andrews and husband Bill of Fairfield, TX; brothers, Robert Bell Ellis of Coopertown, TN, Mac Welbur Ellis of Pleasant View, TN, Joe Bailey Ellis and wife Jeri of Nashville, TN, and Jewel Ellis and wife Frances of Carthage, TX; sisters, Esterlene Barnett of Chapmansboro, TN, Marjorie June Crutcher and husband Stanley of Coopertown, Evangeline Clinard and husband Walter of Cedar Hill, Mary Dimple Balthrop and husband Clyde of Cedar Hill, and Bonnie Faye Balthrop and husband William of Chapmansboro; 10 grandchildren; and 27 great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Jimerson-Lipsey Funeral Home Chapel (1131 State Highway 149, Carthage, Texas 75633) with Bro. Mike Fields and Bro. Shane King officiating. The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. on Friday at the funeral home. Interment will be in Heads Cemetery in Roberson County, TN.

A guestbook may be signed online at


2 thoughts on “Rev. Don Ellis with the Lord

  1. Bro. Don and his family were so significantly part of my childhood.! That significance continued from afar for many years but as my parents aged, he made a point to be a steady presence. Prayers and sincerest condolences. He was much loved.


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