James Kevin Ellis

James Kevin Ellis, 60, of Parsons peacefully passed away at 6:13 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, at Labette Health in Parsons surrounded by his loving family.

James Kevin Ellis was born on Dec. 5, 1962, to Lawrence (Larry) Edward Ellis and Donna Marie Jones in Great Bend.  As a young boy, he grew up here in Parsons where he attended McKinley and Lincoln elementary schools and Parsons Junior High. He graduated from Labette County High School.

James worked many years at LaForge and Budd and with Barry Johnson Construction.

James was an outdoorsman, an avid fisherman and avid poacher who could often be found at the Neosho River setting limb lines. It was said he could skin a deer faster than anyone. If he went fishing, he didn’t come back empty handed.  He was quick to clean and cook it. If you were invited to one of his fish fries, you were on his A-list. At night if you saw someone jumping a fence to shoot a deer or saw someone pond-hopping … it might have been James Ellis. 

The man could cook. His jambalaya made your mouth water. If you were lucky, you could get a taste of his morel mushrooms. Only a few know of his favorite honey hole. James was a story teller. He was never out done by his siblings in his memory and the stories he would share would have everyone rolling. Besides being an outdoorsman, James was good at working with his hands. He was a carpenter, working sheetrock and concrete. He was the first one there if you needed a helping hand. James never said no to a friend or anyone in need. He showed his love by showing up and working hard.  James was a good man, not unflawed. All who knew him knew that. His grumpy manner was a part of him and a part of what endeared you to him. James lived hard and some considered him a “local legend.” He never understood the slogan, “No shirt, No service,” and many never held him to it. Close your eyes. Do you see James with a shirt on? Sam Ellis said he cherished James’ big smile.  That James was a man of a different breed who had struggles but a heart full of love. James played hard. He loved people, playing cards, pitch, spades and dominoes, depending on what side of the tracks he was on. He loved hard. He loved his family. He loved his uncle Johnny, who was always a big part of his life. Uncle Johnny and his family were his second family. James loved his grandchildren who had these things to say about him: “He was an awesome Papa,” “he is unforgettable,” “he had a whistle that would make you deaf and could be heard a mile away” and “boy-howdy he was strong, full of life and tough.”

Survivors include his children, Jamie Sosaya of Chesapeake, Virginia, Tiffany Durbin Jamis and her husband, Randy, of Fredonia, Kimberly Ellis of Iola, Ashley Ellis of Fredonia, Trustin Ellis and his wife, Angella, of Lehi, Utah, Claire York of Springfield, Missouri, and Dori Ellis of Springfield, Missouri; 16 grandchildren, Jayten, Hunter, Andy, Alex, Carissa, Chandler, Izabell, Waylon, Abigail, Serenity, Garrett, Skyler, Ashlynn, Frankie, Khloe and Braylynn; two great-grandchildren, Sawyer and Lyric; a sister, Lisa Ellis and her partner, Dale Stringer, of Parsons; two brothers, Lawrence (Lee) Ellis and his wife, Leaona, of Parsons and Matthew Ellis of Parsons; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles who were all important to him. He loved hard and was loved back.

James was preceded in death by his father, Larry Ellis; his mother, Donna Bradt; and his aunt, Willie Ellis.

A celebration of life service will be at 5 p.m. Friday at the Brown-Bishop Post No. 704, Veterans of Foreign Wars, in Parsons.

The family suggests memorials to help defray funeral expenses. These may be left at or mailed to Carson-Wall Funeral Home, 112 N. 26th St., Parsons, KS, 67357. 

Leave online condolences at www.wallfuneralservices.com.

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