Name WSN football field after Mr. Ellis

Published 2:07pm Tuesday, July 13, 2010

As you may have all heard by now, W.S. Neal High School principal Mr. Phillip Ellis passed away Monday afternoon at the age of 59. Ellis, who waged a year-long battle against cancer, passed away Monday afternoon at his home.

I did not know Mr. Ellis all that much but did talk with him a couple of times at sporting events and for sports stories.

When I first got the job as sports editor in 2007, Mr. Ellis told me if there was anything I ever needed from him or the school, to just let him know.

I remember one occasion of having to call him on his cell phone for some breaking news of a story late one afternoon, and after trying to figure out where I got his number and despite eating at a restaurant with his family, supplied me with the information needed.

The last conversation I had with Mr. Ellis, I think, was this past football season at homecoming for W.S. Neal. As we sat on the bleachers before the game and before the ceremonies would begin and he would crown the 2009 homecoming queen, he talked of how good God was to him and how he made the night so beautiful after rain was in the forecast.

Mr. Ellis, already suffering from his fight with cancer, did his job that night and crowned the school’s homecoming queen.

Ellis was a longtime agriculture teacher at W.S. Neal before becoming principal. In 2009, he was inducted into the Alabama Future Farmers Association’s Wall of Honor, which at the time he called a “high point” in his career.

Shortly after that honor, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, but continued working through the summer and fall despite treatment. He spent much of the winter hospitalized but returned home and was welcomed with open arms at W.S. Neal’s graduation ceremony in May.

While, like I said before, I did not know Mr. Ellis that well or much, I am sure he will be missed by all, especially by former and current students and teachers and co-workers.

While Mr. Ellis spent much of his time and life at W.S. Neal, I am sure he bled blue and yellow. Ellis was employed at W.S. Neal High School for 38 years and principal for the past 21 years.

What a great honor it would be in memory of Ellis to name the football field at W.S. Neal Stadium in East Brewton, Phillip Ellis Field. I am sure he would love that. What a great honor that would be for a man that spent all but 21 years of his life at the school and his whole career.

Just an FYI concerning the services for Ellis: Visitation will be held Thursday, July 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the W.S. Neal High School Auditorium in East Brewton.
Funeral services will be held Friday, July 16, at 11 a.m. at W.S. Neal High School Auditorium with the Rev. John Mathieu and the Rev. Danny Benjamin officiating. Burial will follow at Magnolia Cemetery in Evergreen with Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Philip Ellis Scholarship Fund at First Exchange Bank in Brewton.

Until we meet again here or out in the world of sports, God bless.

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