Clarence Ellis Lewis, fondly known as Ellis, died on September 24, 2023, at the age of 87 in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Born on August 12, 1936, Ellis was the eldest son of Percy Benjamin Lewis and Olive Poole Lewis. He was preceded in death by his parents; his stepmother, Della Stewart Lewis; his younger brothers, David B. Lewis and Richard W. Lewis; his sister-in-law, Willie Lieu Hodges Lewis; and his niece, Rachel M. Downs-Lewis.
Ellis is survived by his sister-in-law, Patricia Spiers Lewis; his nieces, Elizabeth (Stephen Michael) McCoy and Barbara Lewis; his nephew, Robert (Rebekah Simmerman) Lewis; his great-niece, Ariel (Rick) Rishworth and daughter Mary; by several cousins; and by a special friend, Phyllis Harris. He will be deeply missed by family, friends, and neighbors.
A gifted artist, Ellis graduated John Marshall High School and studied art at Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University). He enjoyed making pen-and-ink sketches, especially portraits.
Ellis’ early working life began alongside his father and his brother David in the family dry-cleaning business, Boulevard Cleaners, located on the north side of Richmond. For many years, Ellis worked at the City of Richmond Water Treatment Plant before moving to Facilities Management in HVAC and Mechanical Services at the Medical College of Virginia.
Ellis was a survivor of childhood polio. Despite his illness, he became an avid runner and completed the Richmond Marathon several times. He enjoyed playing tennis and square-dancing, following financial news, and was a master chess player. Ellis became a favorite dance partner at The Dance Space and enjoyed group visits to retirement homes to dance with the residents. Ellis was a longstanding resident of the Fan and enjoyed his home on Grove Avenue for nearly fifty years.
A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, October 5, 2023, at Forest Lawn Cemetery, 4000 Pilots Lane, Richmond, VA 23222. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.hillandwood.com.