Billy J. Ellis

January 01, 1931 - February 22, 2020

Billy J. Ellis

Billy James Ellis was born January 1, 1931, in a small sawmill town, Doucette, Texas, to Herbert Guy Ellis, Sr. and Retha Gosnell. He left this life on February 22, 2020, at Harbor Hospice in Beaumont, Texas.

He was the youngest of four children. It was there that he developed his love of hunting, fishing, and a work ethic that would follow him all his life.

In the year 1944, his father’s job moved them to Nederland, Texas, where he would live for the remainder of his life. This one small move is the reason we are all here today. In the house across the street (1114 Luling) lived a young girl named, Patricia Nell Rauwerda Fowler. They were friends and starting dating in 1945. They married on June 10, 1951.

His military service began in 1951, when he received is Selective Service Notice. He and his best friend, Bill Winn (who would later married Pat’s sister), decided that rather than be drafted they would join the Navy. He would not be accepted as he had already received his Selective Service Notice. So, in November 1951, he was drafted and went to Houston for induction into the United States Army. As they boarded the bus, a United States Marine Corp officer boarded and said, “I need ten volunteers for the Marines”. His finger started pointing, “…you, you, you, until he had ten “volunteers” and Billy was one of the ten. He only spent two years in the United States Marine Corp because he was drafted. Billy was stationed at the Marine Training Facilities in San Diego and El Toro, California.

In 1952, he was sent to Korea for a year with the rank of Corporal. He was a helicopter mechanic with an observation squadron attached to the First Marine Division (the VMO-6 Squadron). His squadron was presented with the Presidential Unit Citation. Among the many things that were cited was the “Pioneering in the development of front-line helicopter evacuation of causalities”. His wartime efforts were reported in the local newspaper from a picture of checking tires on an observation plane to his success in pheasant hunting. Yes, even when less than thirty minutes away from the front line, his love for hunting was evident and his squadron enjoyed the bounty of his hunts.

In February 1953, he returned to the United States where he completed his service in Santa Ana, California, holding the rank of Sargent. Pat moved there to be with him and in August 1953 they hopped into their 1952 Ford and drove back to Nederland. Their daughter, Patricia Christine, was born in 1954.
In 1955, he and Pat began construction on the pink and white brick house on the corner of Twin City Highway and Luling. The house was from plans that Pat had drawn up while he was in Korea. In August, 1956 they moved into their new home. This would be the home where they would raise their daughter and three sons, Richard James, Stuart Wayne, and Charles Wesley.

During the construction of their home they stayed with Pat’s grandparents who lived two doors down (and is the house where they are currently living.) In 1981, with the passing of Pat’s mother, they inherited the family home and made the decision to sell the home they built together and remodel the family home. Then in 1982, they moved into what would be their forever home.

Billy worked in the sheet metal trade first as an installer, then estimator, to finally opening his own company until he retired in 1993. All three of his sons  followed him into this business. He was well respected by his peers and others in the industry.

He never felt the need to stray far from home to have his adventures. He learned to scuba dive, restored cars, drilled oil wells, raised cattle, and planted his garden. He also enjoyed fishing and hunting, smoking what his family called "the best brisket in this state", and building furniture. Billy instilled these interests into his children and worked along with his sons restoring cars, fishing, hunting, and cooking.

Richard loves to hunt and fish; Stuart loves to raise cows (he and Billy purchased land off of Hebert Road and raised cattle and hay); and Wesley, while he loves to hunt and fish, found his love for smoking brisket and making it the best it can be. They can all work on machinery.

There was nothing that Billy could not do but his greatest contribution was his quiet service to others. He never waited to be asked, he would quietly step in and ask, “can I help?”. He set the bar on how to live a Christian life by his service to others and how to be a good husband and father. He always wore a smile.

Billy loved the Lord. He helped with the remodel of the Church of Christ building on Nederland Ave and helped build the Stonegate Church of Christ building on Highway 365. In the 1960’s, he helped construct cabins at Camp Red Oak Springs, a summer camp for children. He attended worship Sunday morning and Sunday night along with Wednesday Bible study. His fervent prayer was that all of his children would come to love the Lord as he did.

Billy loved Pat. He cherished, respected, and trusted her. They had known each other for seventy-five years and, in June 2019, celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.

His friend, Darwin Hodge, paid tribute to him: "Jessie & I have known Billy for over sixty years. He has been a friend and brother ever since we met. Everybody loved Billy. He was benevolent with all he did and with all he had. He shared his garden with everyone and taught me a lot about gardening. Jessie and I looked forward to his tomatoes and greens every year. He and Pat helped us move to our home on Russell Avenue when we first met them. He was very spiritual and shared with us, many times, the Word of God. He was always fair and honest with everyone and you could trust him. I love you Billy. I will see and join you soon."

His friend, Freddie Moak shared memories of Billy: "I first met Billy around 1971. I did not know that he was a member of the Church of Christ, but I was impressed with him. About three years later I started worshiping at Stonegate Church of Christ and there he was. We became friends and we had like interests. Billy was very knowledgeable of the Bible and he helped me with several subjects. I never saw him without a smile. He always had a positive attitude and was uplifting. I knew when I walked in the Church building, and he was not there, something was wrong."

"Billy was always greeting me at services with “how are things at the farm?" He had great advice about my mayhaw trees and the hay I was growing. He made me feel a little better about my farm work when he said, “there is always something broke at the farm, usually when you needed it."   Billy was always at worship and he was there early so he could greet everyone. He always had a smile and made you feel welcome. If he wasn’t attending services, you knew something must be amiss. That is how we all felt last Sunday, wondering, ”where’s Billy?" He was a great encouragement to me especially as a Bible class teacher.   He listened carefully, participated in the class discussion and almost always would hang around after class to make comment and tell me he enjoyed the class. He will be missed by all of us and we are looking forward to seeing him again." Sam Holt - friend and brother.

Billy is survived by his wife, Patricia Nell Ellis; children, Patricia Christine Gumm (Richard), of Florida; Richard J. Ellis (Phyllis), of Port Neches; Stuart W. Ellis (Kelly); and Charles W. Ellis (Penny) of Nederland; grandchildren, Juliana Chew (Daniel); Jason Graham (Mandy); Jessica Ellis; Sherrie Inglish (Chadd); Lindsay Ellis; Kristin Morales (Ricardo); Hunter Ellis; Charles W. Ellis, Jr. (Kandice); Holland Ellis; Samantha Ellis and Sage Ellis; great-grandchildren, Conner Chew; Caitlyn Chew; Jaidyn Graham; Madilyn Graham; Gage Graham; Declan Brien; Ana Inglish; Kaley Fletcher; Ricardo Mendoza; Juaquin Mendoza; Emilio Mendoza; Marlee Garrison; Kinzlee Ellis; Paislee Ellis; Marx Ellis; Layken Cloud; Olivia Cloud; Kellen Roedahl; Amelia Santos; and in the next coming months he will be adding three more names to this list; sister, Virginia Richardson; and nieces and nephews, John Richardson; Cheryl Garrison; Bob Watson; Marvin Watson; Eden Watson; Regina Watson; Russell Ellis; Petronella Frazier; Mike Winn; and Philip Winn.

There is not enough paper to list the friends and lives that he has touched.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Retha and Herbert Ellis; brother, Herbert G. Ellis, Jr.; sister, Geraldine E. Watson; great-grandchildren, Collin C. Chew and Jacie R. Collins; and nephews, Robert Ellis; David Watson; and Reed Ellis.

A gathering for Mr. Ellis’ family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Monday, February 24, 2020, at Broussard’s, 505 North 12th Street, Nederland. His graveside service will be 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 25, 2020, at Oak Bluff Memorial Park, 618 Block, Port Neches, Texas 77651.

Memorial contributions may be made to Memorial Church of Christ, Building Fund, 2525 Aero Drive, Port Arthur, Texas 77640.


Gathering of Family and Friends
Broussard's Mortuary - Nederland
505 N 12th Street Nederland, TX 77627
Monday, February 24, 2020
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Graveside Service
Oak Bluff Memorial Park
100 Block Street Port Neches, TX 77651
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
10:00 a.m.

Comments (2)

  • Douglas & Jeri Kirk

    25 February 2020 at 15:45 | #

    May your father and American Veteren Rest In Peace!


  • Carol Delk

    24 February 2020 at 16:50 | #

    I got to know you a little more, Chris Gumm, and even more special, I got to know your dad through this beautiful commemorative of his life. Thank you for sharing. I am certain he is Resting In Peace! My condolences to all left to continue his beautiful legacy.


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