My memories of Tom extend from the after school BB gun wars that earned us bad citizenship marks at Harper School, but led to a life-long friendship. Our lives just kept intersecting. It was Tom who introduced me to my wife Nona who worked with him at Ash Dee. Later, We worked together acquiring Famous Recipe locations, and further along, we shared an interest in the race cars that were being constructed. He always had something interesting to say. He is remembered fondly by Nona and me.
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Thomas Fletcher Ellis, Jr. passed away on Saturday, March 28, 2020. He was born September 9, 1942 in Vanderburgh County to T. Fletcher Ellis, Sr. and Evelyn Allard Ellis. He attended Bosse High School and Purdue University.
Tom began his business career with the Ash Dee division of George Koch Sons, then, in 1966 he began his fourteen year career at Keller Crescent Company where he became account supervisor and Vice-President of Sales. In 1975, he opened the first Famous Recipe Fried Chicken store on Lincoln Avenue, then subsequently, opened two more in Evansville and one in Henderson, Kentucky.
He was a licensed pilot and a past member of the Evansville Aeronautics Association. He was a sports car enthusiast and built two of his own cars from the ground up, and, while at Purdue, won the Purdue Grand Prix. He also enjoyed golf and traveling with friends. In addition, he loved technology, and his several computers and, seemingly, there was no gadget he couldn’t invent. Most of all, he loved his family and adored his two grandchildren.
In the Evansville community, he was a member of the Rotary Club of Evansville, a past Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and a member of S.C.O.R.E., where he mentored those who wanted to start their own business. He was also a member of the Evansville Country Club.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his sister, Janet Sparks, in 2002, and his brother-in-law, James Hoffman, also in 2002, and his precious fur babies, Haji and Gordon.
He is survived by his wife and love of his life for 54 years, Sharon Ellis, son Tommy Ellis of Evansville, daughter, Wendy Ellis Gardner and her husband, Todd, of Cincinnati, Ohio; grandsons, Chase and Wesley Gardner of Cincinnati, Ohio; brother, William Ellis and wife Sharon of Dalton, Georgia; sister-in-law Donna Hoffman Anspach and husband Larry of Las Vegas, Nevada; sister-in-law Sherry Hoffman of Evansville; brother-in-law Scott Sparks of Anderson, Indiana.
Due to the coronavirus, a private family service will be held at Sunset Funeral Home with a celebration of his life to be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, friends, if they wish, may contribute in his memory to the Vanderburgh County Humane Society, It Takes a Village, Vanderburgh County Animal Control, or any animal shelter of choice.
The body will be cremated.
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