Urban Ayers Ellis died May 6, 2020. He was 88.
Born in Springfield, Ohio, his mother Ruth Ellis took him at 6 years old with his sister Polly, 2, to New York City where he could get medical treatment for his right shoulder, broken at birth. He had to have 17 surgeries on that arm and shoulder.
When he entered the work force at 15, he was a mail clerk for J.C. Penney. He later became a taxi driver while taking home study courses in business management. He then worked as a technical recruiter.
All the while, he was married to Gloria Ellis, wed in 1958. She had two children by a previous marriage, and they became his family, extending to grandchildren.
He wrote many songs and poetry with his mother and sister. He also wrote a book, “The History of Pastor Tieck and St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church,” where he was an elder for more than 50 years.
He was president of the Marble Hill Tenants Association, and he formed a non-profit group of children who put together a newsletter, “Stop the Drugs and Violence.”
For about five years, he was able to get computers and musical instruments donated to his marching band and journalism groups from businesses.
He and Gloria lived at 210 W. 230th St., until Gloria died in August 2012.
He married Cathy in late 2012, who was with him until he died.