On April 2, 2020, the world stopped and God lowered his hand to lift Kevin Winford Ellis into his loving, merciful arms to eternal peace. As we try to find our way in this world without him, we only hope that we are able to honor Kevin in the way he would like to be remembered.
In his 50 years, Kevin was a proud graduate of Florida State University (Go Noles!) and later earned his MBA from University of North Florida at the top of his class. He was a two-time Ironman finisher, a Half Ironman finisher, an ultra-marathoner, marathoner and an avid inshore fisherman. Everyone who knew Kevin had a story. He was so incredibly funny and reveled in uncomfortable humor. He did not judge others, could find anything to talk about, quote movie lines like nobody’s business, and had the biggest heart. He left an impression on you. He never forgot a face and had an incredible memory. He was very intelligent, hardworking and deep in his thoughts. And, did we mention he was funny?
Kevin had an ability to make you feel special and listened to - he had a sixth sense about people and could see into your soul. One friend shared, “Kevin would send me positive messages whenever I really needed it, like he somehow sensed it.” Another said, “Kevin was a person who naturally would exude outward leadership and display encouragement and guidance to others around you to do the right things. He was kind, loving, protective, smart and funny.” He was intuitive, vulnerable and deep and an observer of human behavior. “He loved, he laughed and he lived."
Growing up, the role of leader and protector to his siblings and cousins was one that he took seriously, and his juniors often appreciated his frontline position. He set a tone for the family that was viewed with admiration. Kevin played many roles in his life, but none more important than father to Harper May. She is the perfect amalgamation of her parents - strong, smart, beautiful, witty, thoughtful, athletic and she stands with confidence. Oh how we wish you were here to see her grow up, but promise she will continue to be raised to live her life in manner that would make you proud - she has a village behind her.
Kevin suffered from depression and anxiety for many years, and he openly sought out the newest treatments and therapies for help. Kevin lived openly and honestly with his struggles, and he was always available to those wrestling with their own sobriety and depression demons to provide support and encouragement. Several have shared how Kevin helped them through very difficult times in their own lives.
Throughout his later years, Kevin fought to live...he tried so hard to live through his pain, but a depressed mind is a lying mind - one that tells you things that are not true. Kevin’s last year here on earth was an act of love for his very close family. He fought to get up each day and try to live for his daughter, his wife, his parents and his loved ones. On April 2, 2020, we can only imagine that hopelessness overcame him and it was just too much to bear.
Kevin was proceeded in death by his brother, Jesse Ellis, and grandparents, Win and Margaret Ellis and Bill and Josephine Kreisl. He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Lisa, and their daughter Harper May, his parents, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Jerry and Rosemary Ellis, sister Karri (Terrill) Smith, brother Chris (Vanesa) Ellis, mother in law Alma Thomas, brother in law Dene (Jennifer) Thomas, aunts and uncles, Carolyn (David) Yon, Carol (Frank) Coughlin, Bill (Michele) Kreisl, Annette (Tuck) Masker and a myriad of beloved nephews, nieces, cousins and extended family.
Kevin, your memory and light will live on in all of us.
A Celebration of Life will be held promptly at 2:00 pm on Saturday, August 7, 2021 at Crosswater Hall in Nocatee located at 245 Nocatee Center Way, Ponte Vedra, Florida 32081.
The family asks that you please consider making a donation in Kevin’s honor to:
Wolfson Children’s Hospital – https://giving.baptistjax.com/give/261865/#!/donation/checkout
(Select Wolfson Children’s Hospital – Hope Starts Here – Children’s Critical Care Tower)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/donate/
K9s for Warriors – https://www.k9sforwarriors.org/ways-give-k9s-warriors
Depression does not have to be a terminal illness. Please make your mental health a priority, for yourself, the ones you love and those that love you.
And wherever you’ve gone
And wherever we might go
It don’t seem fair - Today just disappeared
Your light’s reflected now, reflected from afar
We were but stones, your light made us stars
Pearl Jam, “Light Years”
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