Harold Ellis, Sr.
Harold Lloyd Ellis, Sr. was born Oct. 22, 1926 in Hotel Dieu, a hospital in Beaumont, to Louis Murdoch and Lola Perkins Ellis. He grew up in the South Park area of Beaumont, where he excelled at baseball and trained to become a carpenter like his father. He built and flew model airplanes and once soared with his brother under the Rainbow Bridge in a real airplane. He met Maurine Rickman, his future wife, when he stole her books while she was attending college classes. He went into the Army immediately upon graduation—it was 1944 and there was a war going on. He was trained as an infantryman and was on a transport headed for the Invasion of Japan when the war was declared over. When he got back home, he married Maurine and started his family out in Pittsburgh, Ca., while waiting to be discharged from the Army.
Harold’s family soon grew with the birth of his first child, a daughter, Melinda Sue Ellis. He moved back to Southeast Texas and got a job as a maintenance mechanic at DuPont’s Sabine River Works in Orange. He settled in Bridge City, where he began building houses on weekends. He eventually built 33 houses in Bridge City, including 11 in the neighborhood where he settled, Inwood. His years there saw the birth of his first son, whom he named Harold Lloyd Ellis, Jr., and then later a second son, Barney Glenn Ellis. It was in Bridge City that Harold, Sr. developed his passion for playing “Texas 42,” a dominoes game.
In 1967, “Bubba” as he was known by almost everyone, bought 25 acres of land between Kirbyville and Jasper in East Texas. The family spent weekends traveling back and forth to the “Camp,” but in 1973, he began building his dream home there. This was a unique and beautiful six-sided home, which the locals called the “Round House.” In 1978, he retired from DuPont after 33 years. But he did not stay retired long.
Harold Ellis sold his farm and beautiful house and moved to Livingston, Texas, where his daughter lived. He built a small duplex on Brock Avenue and then began building homes for other people. He built himself another dream house on Mockingbird Lane in Enchanted Forest. Maurine loved tending plants and flowers, so Bubba built a beautiful series of walkways and gardens in their back yard on Mockingbird Lane, which became something of a local tourist attraction.
In the meantime, he and “Reenie,” his wife, traveled to Branson, Mo. and fell in love with the shows and musicals there. Harold retired for the second time. They moved into a smaller home in Springfield, Mo., to be closer to Branson. They enjoyed their time there for several years until Maurine passed away in 1996. Harold traveled back to Livingston to visit with family and friends and spent the next few years splitting his time between East Texas and Missouri.
He got an apartment in Livingston. He met a dear friend, Lois Rhodes, who has a lovely family, in addition to several sweet Dachshunds. “Harold Honey” and Lois attended the First Baptist Church in Livingston and had many friends.
Harold went to live with his son, Barney, in 2010. He then chose a convalescent home in Livingston and spent happy hours visiting with his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren and with Lois’ extensive family.
During his time on this earth, Harold Ellis gave away his daughter, Melinda and two nieces, Kim and Denise Stracener. He saw the military retirement of his two sons, Harold, Jr. and Barney, who both served in the US Air Force.
Harold Lloyd Ellis was diagnosed with diabetes in the 1980s. He controlled it well for many years, but gradually suffered kidney function loss and heart failure. A stroke left him bed-ridden at the end, but he rallied his strength to see family and friends a few days before he left us. He was age 89 on Aug. 30, when he passed peacefully as he slept. His last few years were without pain and he always had a smile for everyone.
He was preceded in death by his brother, John Allen Ellis in 1977, his wife of 50 years, Maurine Ruth Ellis in 1996, daughter, Melinda Ellis Phillips in 1998 and his second grandchild, Julie Tanner Smith, in 1999.
He is survived by a large and extended family, including his sister, June Ellis Stracener, of Austin; two sons: Harold Lloyd Ellis, Jr. of Detroit, Or. and Barney Glenn Ellis of Silsbee; seven grandchildren and step-grandchildren: Tammy Tanner Wilhelm, of Riesel, Donna Kristine Meyer of Derby, Ks, Harold Lloyd Ellis III, who serves in the US Navy and is stationed in Japan, Shawneen Fockler of Clovis, NM, Jonathan Fockler, who serves in the US Air Force at Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, Ut, Joseph Bryan Yellott of Leander and Scotty Lynn Ellis of Silsbee; 14 great-grandchildren, including Harold Lloyd Ellis IV and his dear friend Lois Rhodes of Livingston and her family.
Harold will be missed by all for many different reasons: a precious father, caring uncle, gentle grandfather and great-grandfather and dear friend to all. The carpenter has been called home to his Master.