In Memory of




Obituary for Willia Bea Ellis

Willia Bea Ellis was the youngest of four siblings born to the late Clint and Ivory Hankerson on November 25, 1931 in Valley Park, Mississippi. She was preceded in death by her sisters: Mary Singleton, Marie Lindsey, and Julia Marsh (MC). At the age of 10 Willia migrated to Chicago. As a teenager she attended Dunbar high school. At the age of 17, she met her husband, Howard Ellis, at a party. The following day she went to school and wrote, “Willia Bea Ellis and Howard Ellis” on a piece of paper, “Because I meant for Howard to be my husband.” The two were later united in holy matrimony, and have been married for the past 65 years. From this union, three children were born. When Willia Bea came to Chicago, she accepted Christ under the leadership of Rev. J.B. Felker, Jr. at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church. During the 1980’s she joined Christ Universal Temple (C.U.T.), under the leadership of the late Rev. Johnnie Coleman until she made her transition on April 7, 2015. It was at C.U.T. where she was a dedicated member, holding roles as a greeter, usher, and member of the hospitality team. Every Sunday she looked forward to attending services where she faithfully sat in the same row, next to her best friend Catherine Brown. Her devotion to the church was acknowledged, as she was the recipient of the “Basic Truth Principles Part I & Part II Awards, as well as, The Principles of Prayer Award in January 1999. Not only did Willia enjoy engaging with her church and family; she also enjoyed spending her time at work and social activities. Willia thoroughly enjoyed working at the Regal Theatre. After her time there, Willia went on to work for the State of Illinois for 30 plus years, where she held the title of senior buyer. Willia was always the life of the party and enjoyed traveling, attending parties, and line dancing at the Avalon Park District. Willia was a true diva, always keeping up with the latest fashion trends. She loved shopping at Marshal Fields, Lord and Taylor, and Steinmart, just to name a few. She was a member of the Red Hats Society where she enjoyed the fellowship of other successful women. Willia is survived by her husband Howard, her three daughters; Dr. Anita Ellis, Denyce Ellis, and Phyllis Adams (Elvis); her four grandchildren; Jamal Adams, Phillip Adams, Pia Holec, and Kayla Adams; her great-grandchildren; Austin Adams, Denisha Adams, Janeil Adams, Jamal Adams Jr., Destiny Adams, and Janay Adams; and a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives. When one is remembered, they never die; Willia will live on in the hearts of her family and friends. Willia will be lovingly remembered for her commitment to family and her spiritual strength. The Ellis Family would like to express our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to her caregivers: Willia Vaughn, who was her first caregiver niece and companion, Doris Hardy, Jannie Harris, Angie Shantell, and Ulander and Linda Pillow. We would like to extend a very special thanks to her caregiver nieces: Theresa Polk and Betty Miller.             “Rest in His everlasting arms, Mom”