John Ellis

john ellis
John Edward Ellis lived a physically challenged life with courageous grit, enthusiastic determination, and a cheerful, optimistic outlook that endeared him to family, friends and co-workers. He was born in Massillon, Ohio on October 22, 1964. His physical challenges began early with a flight to a clinic in Philadelphia to have eye surgery at four months old. A second surgery was performed at six months. The surgeries were successful but he was considered legally blind. At three years old he was diagnosed with type one diabetes and faced daily insulin injections throughout his his life. The complications continued to plague him, but he persevered with admirable durability. His elementary school years were spent in Lakewood, Ohio where he initially attended a Montessori school that emphasized learning basic tasks requiring dexterity. From there he returned to public schools and ultimately graduated from Johnston High School, a court-ordered desegregated school with an inclusive mix of Black, White, and Hispanic students, in Austin, Texas. While there he began an internship at a top rated rated radio station, K98. He had been an ardent listener of radio music since his earliest years rather than staying glued to a TV set. This interest remained throughout his life. He graduated from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio in 1987. Unsurprisingly, he majored in radio communications and was a stalwart announcer on the college radio station. During summer vacations he worked at K98 in Austin honing his radio skills. Upon graduation he became the manager and morning host on K-LITE in Victoria, Texas. He guided the station to remarkable success where it received a number one evaluation in the Arbitron ratings competing against radio stations with powerful signals of 100,000 watts while K-LITE had only 3000 watts. Unfortunately, federal rule changes dramatically altered the radio landscape. K-LITE had to be sold, effectively ending his radio career since radio jobs dried up. On the radio John E enjoyed using different voices. One of his favorites was calling an out of town station while his friend Barry Kaye was on the air. John E became “Skeeter,” a twangy-voiced country seer, who opined impolitic ideas while Barry sparred with him. They were humorous. Great radio. John E joined the office of the Texas Comptroller as a communications specialist in 2001 where he worked diligently for more than twenty years until he passed away on June 15, 2022. John E loved his family and delighted in time with them, most recently Easter 2022 in Sarasota. He married Carmen Duarte on March 10, 2012 in Wimberley, TX. He is survived by his beloved wife, Carmen; his parents, John and Carolyn Ellis of New Braunfels, TX; and three sisters: Linda McNeill and her husband, Trevor, of Pipersville, PA; Jeanine Ellis and husband Tom Klausing, of Powell, OH; Jeanette Hale and husband, Glen, of Sarasota, FL; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. John E loved his Lord Jesus and knew his strength and grace flowed from above. His physical issues multiplied and finally overcame his courageous resistance. The Lord called him home to Paradise at last, providing complete healing to refresh him throughout eternity. We will remember John E's bright personality and life with great admiration and affection. He will be profoundly missed. A Service will be held on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at 10:00AM and the EdenHill Communities Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John's name to the Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop, Austin, TX 78702 or The American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 7023, Merrifield, VA, 2216 Zoom invite for John’s Memorial Service: EdenHill Communities is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Topic: John's Memorial Service Time: Jun 22, 2022 10:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 875 1523 0223 Passcode: ehc

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Memories Timeline


  1. We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ Lux Funeral Home & Cremation Services

  2. My thoughts and prayers go out to John’s family. Every time John and I spoke, we laughed about the time I received a call on the K98 Hotline, and the unknown voice on the phone just said “Roll Tape”. It just to happened to be Dr. Ellis; John’s father, giving me an exclusive announcement that he was resigning as the Superintendent of Austin School District, to become the Superintendent of Schools for the state of New Jersey. John and I last spoke a couple of weeks ago, and his last words to me before hanging up were “I love you man”. What a dear friend he’s been for so many years. I know he and my father Dick are together tonight, sharing stories about one of the greatest radio stations ever. Be strong! Michael Oppenheimer

  3. My friend “Skeeter” proved that boundaries are exciting challenges and that a passion can make the seemingly impossible a glorious reality. His drive and abilities amazed me. His sunny disposition and sharp wit endeared all who knew him. He was kind to a fault and a lifelong friend. I met Skeeter at K98 and enjoyed our morning show family with Barry Kaye, our mentor and friend for life. There are so many great stories that even after 40 years still bust out a belly laugh. He was hard working and enjoyed every single second being known as a radio pro. There really was nothing he couldn’t do. His father was his idol and his mom and family meant everything. He truly made the world a better place. We will be toasting to you, Skeeter, and telling the old stories for the rest of our days. Love you sweet friend.

  4. I was so sorry to hear of John’s passing. You have my deepest sympathies. May his memory be a blessing to you. Debbie Graves Ratcliffe

  5. John was Jonny when I knew him. We were next door neighbors and friends in Lakewood, Ohio. When I was 5 and he was 4 we got ‘married” in his garage. The service was officiated by our other neighbor Meg Carey, who was also a bridesmaid. We wore clothes from the dress up box in my basement. I loved Jonny with my whole heart as a child. I loved how much he loved listening to WIXI 1260. We tried to figure out the lyrics to “Me and You and.a dog named Boo”. He and meg were willing to follow me around wearing my dad’s big shirts, belted at the waist and carrying big sticks as staffs and plastic lambs singing “We are shepherd boys” a call and repeat song that I was bossy and led ( I was after all 5 and Meg and Jonny just 4)!. We lost touch for many years when my family moved to Missouri, but the Ellises stopped through when we were teenagers. We lost touch again but through the magic of Facebook were able to reconnect and track some of what the other was up to. Our third friend Meg just sent me a message telling me he had died. I cried hard thinking he is no longer on this plane. I well imagine those who were in his closer circles are feeling quite a unique loss. Much love to all of you. -Sarah Hart

  6. My sincere condolences. I went to Johnston with John and traveled to Mexico City with him as part of a fun group of friends. He was always so kind and it’s been fun seeing a bit of his life on FB. 💔🙏🏻

  7. John Ellis, we had a great time at Johnston High School. Debate team partners with some really great cases to debate. You made going to high school fun and interesting. We had such a good time. I learned a lot about Diabetes and the challenges it presented to you. We stuck together through it all and talked on the phone for hours after we graduated Johnston and you left for college. My friend I never forgot about you even though we traveled different roads in life. John I loved you man, I will never forget you. I know you are heaven now, so please save a seat for me. Ill be there sooner than later. God is my father and Jesus Christ is my savior. I will see you. God bless your family and it is nice to hear you met a wonderful lady and fell in love. God bless your Mom and Dad. Great people. I miss you even more than I already did knowing we will never meet and catch up…lol. I found you my friend, we will meet again one day.

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