James Earl Ellis was a loving man who lived a life rich in family and friends. Jim led with his heart, embracing each day as a gift. Hardworking, humble, and kind, Jim possessed a quick wit that ensured much laughter. Though quiet in nature, Jim embodied an indomitable spirit and steadfast loyalty that inspired all who were blessed to know him. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Jim will long be remembered and ever so missed.
A time of innovation, the year 1957 found the U.S. economy booming. The need for consumer goods grew as manufacturing attempted to keep up with demand. It was the peak of the “baby boomer” era and a time when families prayed, played, and sat at the dinner table together. American Bandstand made its debut while Elvis Presley recorded numerous hits, and the introductions of the Frisbee and Tonka Trucks became the delight of children everywhere. During this time centered on family and hope, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Earl and Louise Ellis welcomed their son Jim into their family on October 14.
A twin to his brother Joey who died at birth, Jim grew up enveloped in love and care. He was a typical little guy who loved to run and play with his dog, Blackie, and spent as much time outdoors as possible. He enjoyed camping with his family at Devil’s Lake and fell instantly in love with fishing; it proved a love that would last his lifetime.
A graduate of Pulaski High School, Jim loved sports and making pizzas. He worked for Steverino’s, eventually becoming a manager. Jim was naturally handy, could fix absolutely anything, and never hesitated to offer his time and talents to help anyone in need. In time, he found work at Harley Davidson, where he developed a love for motorcycles. He also worked for Eaton Corporation. Known as “Two-buck Ellis,” because he only ever carried two dollars in his wallet, Jim was well-liked and respected by his co-workers.
On June 20, 1981, Jim was blessed to marry the love of his life and best friend, Sherry Kachar. The happy couple exchanged their vows at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, officially beginning their 39-year adventure together.
Jim and Sherry were soon blessed with three children. Son Nicholas and daughters Amanda and Ashley were the centers of Jim’s life, and he took great pride in being their father. Together, he and Sherry worked to provide a loving and supportive home for their family. As a father, Jim guided his children with wisdom and humor. Always concerned for their well being, he often reminded his kids that “Once you walk out that front door, nobody is your friend,” which they quickly learned was his signature way of saying watch your back (WYB).
As his children grew into adulthood and married, Jim warmly welcomed Dawn, Ron, and Jay into his family, happily gaining another daughter and two more sons. His happiness grew even deeper upon becoming a grandfather. Jim was a loving grandpa who particularly enjoyed reading to his three grandsons and two granddaughters. He also enjoyed sharing the traditions of Packer Sundays and pizza cook-offs with his family.
Never one to need the spotlight, Jim was most contented by the simple pleasures in life, spending time with loved ones and fishing. He relished in sharing his love of fishing with Sherry and, with her support, fulfilling on his dream to live on a lake. In 2010, the couple moved to their sanctuary on Little Muskego Lake, where they created many precious memories with family and friends. Whether tooling around the lake or watching the 4th of July fireworks on the boat, every moment in the good company of those he loved was a joy.
Jim and Sherry’s trip to Alaska with their relatives, Stan and Sylvia, was a fantastic adventure. He often reminisced about fishing in Alaska. Similarly, Jim fondly recalled their trip to Las Vegas, Nevada and the many Kachar family reunions they attended in Monroe, Michigan. While Jim liked traveling, he also enjoyed the pleasure of a DiCarlo’s sausage, mushroom, and onion pizza and oatmeal raisin cookies. When he wasn’t on the water, Jim could often be found watching his favorite T.V. shows, Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad.
Without a doubt, every joy greater and trial lessened when shared with Jim. His generosity, love, and unwavering support are the best of his wonderful legacy. May we find much comfort in carrying this legacy forward. With each moment we cast our lines, cheer on the Packers, indulge in a pizza, or gather with our loved ones, we celebrate the gifts of sharing our lives with Jim. In so doing, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
After a courageous fight, James Earl Ellis entered into his rest on October 16, 2020, at the age of 63. Jim is the beloved husband and best friend of Sherry L. Ellis (nee Kachar). He is the cherished father of Nicholas (Dawn) Ellis, Amanda (Ron) Saari, and Ashley (Jay) Chapman. Loving “Grandpa” of Everett and Callen Ellis, Eli and Clarice Chapman, and Lillian Saari. Dear uncle of Jesse (Kerri) Cardenas. Further survived by aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
Preceded in death by his parents Earl and Louise Ellis, and his twin brother Joey Ellis.
Family and friends will gather Friday, October 23, 2020, at the Niemann Suminski Funeral Home 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53207, from 2:00 PM until time of the Memorial Service at 3:00 PM.