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Obituary for Ruth E. Ellis

August 19, 1931 – June 7, 2023

Born to the given name of Ruth E. Golden to Gertrude (nee: Cannon) Dortch and James Golden on Aug.19, 1931, in New Albany, Miss., our mother, your grandmother, sister, niece, cousin, auntie, and friend transcended from these earthly duties to her spiritual home on June 7 with her eldest grandson at her side. Ruth and her mother were among the many people of the great migration to find their final relocation in Racine.

Ruth E. Ellis
Ruth E. Ellis

Ruth came to Racine from St. Louis as a child. Her formal education was through Racine Unified School District where she attended Howell Elementary, Franklin Jr. High School and Washington Park High School, graduating in 1949. Ruth continued her education at Dominican College in Racine.

Ruth’s last employment was at American Motors where she retired after 19 years of service in 1989. Ruth worked throughout all her years while raising her family. She previously worked various other jobs including a teacher aide with Janes School, Western Publishing and as an entrepreneur selling Celebrity Jewelry.

Ruth loved bowling, fishing, sewing, crocheting, knitting, community service, having rummage sales, and going to rummage sales. She was an active member of Mid-Town Church of Christ where she was a Sunday School teacher for many years and a true Fisher of Men. She also served on the church board for their outreach program, and helped pilot the food pantry and clothing give-away. After retirement, Ruth served on the board of directors for the George Bray Center and taught many adults how to read through the Racine Literacy Council where she volunteered for 23 years. Ruth dedicated her life to her family and her love and service to the Lord.

Ruth leaves her precious memories to her five children, Patricia Ellis, Theresa Ellis, Tamara Ellis, Regina (Joey) Riley, all of Racine, and her son Colen “Butch” Ellis of Mesa, Ariz., to cherish; 10 grandchildren, Adrian (Jill) Ellis of Waukegan, Ill., Michael (Christina) Ellis, Leonte’ Ellis, and ShaKyra Ellis, Lateasha Nicole, Kasandra Gates, Antony (Sheneka) Gates of Racine, Kwame Ellis of Atlanta, Ga., Jalen Riley of Houston, Texas, Rhea Riley of Milwaukee, and Joey Jr. of Racine; 16 great-grandchildren, Alexsis Kempin-Ellis, Jordan Ellis, Gabe and Seyairra Kosterman, Leonje’ Ellis, LonTesha Ellis, Leonte’ Jr. Ellis, Lide’ Ellis, Shania Ellis, Kwame Jr. Ellis, Antony Gates Jr., Alayna Gates, Kailynn Cosey, Shawn Thompson, Tiairy Shannon, ShaKyla Shannon; two great-great-grandchildren, Tiani and Leonte’ III; brother, Robert Milton McClain; uncle, Quincy (Mildred) Cannon; sister-in-law, Merinda Sue Jackson of Warren, Ark.; brother-in-law, Alfred Ellis of Arlington, Texas, special cousin, Alnita Johnson; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Ruth has joined her loved ones in the spirit; mother, Gertrude Dortch; and father, James Golden; stepfather, John Dortch; a grandfather who taught her so much, Lawrence Cannon; her husband of 24 years, Olen Ellis; and many special friends, including Liz Smith and Ms. Betty. Ruth had many bonus children including Ivan Jones and George Rocket. Ruth’s wish was always for her family to take care of themselves so they could be sure to take care of each other.


Services will be held at noon on June 14 at Second Missionary Baptist Church. Visitation will be in the church beginning at 11 a.m. until the time of service.

Obituary and photo courtesy of Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home.

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