Pike County Times

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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295.
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Editor Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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BSA Troop 465G Conducts the Pike County Veterans Day Program

ZEBULON - On a rainy Saturday, 11 November 2023 commencing at 11:00 a.m., the Boys Scouts of America Troop 465G provided a Veterans Day program for the Veterans in the Pike County community at the Pike County Community Center. The program recognized and honored America’s military Veterans and paid tribute to all deceased Veterans. The theme for this year’s program was “What Veteran’s Day Means” from representatives of America’s Youngest Generation.

Scout Marionna Favors and Scout Coordinator Darryll Kipp were the Programs Master of Ceremonies. Millie Smith an 11th grader and Will Busby, a 10th grader (both from the Pike County High School) were the guest speakers and provided their thoughts on what Veterans Day meant to them.

A special ensemble was organized from several of the Pike County School Bands. The ensemble played the National Anthem and the Armed Forces Medley. The Armed Force Medley helped introduce and recognize the Veterans in attendance as their branch of service song was played.

The ensamble was directed by Dr. Gary Sorrell, Director of the Middle School Band, The Junior Players consisting of Lyla Bishop, Parker Jones Millie Smith, and Brooklyn Strader sang “Here Comes the Sun,” “From Now On,” and “America, the Beautiful." The Junior Players are co-directed by Rebekah Hanson and Georgia Hanson Thaxton.

Sophia Raynie provided the opening and closing prayers.

A wreath was posted by the Troop 465G Color Guard consisting of Scouts Marionna Favors and Sophia Raynie, followed by a Moment of Silence, and the playing of “Taps” by Will Busby.

A highlight of the Program was the announcement of the Pike County Veteran of the Year. John Ellis, a Pike County resident since 2004 was selected as this year’s Pike County Veteran of the Year. Pike County Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Briar Johnson, Outgoing and Incoming Pike County Veteran of the Year Program Directors Todd Childs and Bryan Richardson, respectively, and Paul Chatterton, Commander of the Pike County American Legion Post 197 helped with the program.

Bryan Richardson introduced John Ellis with a condensed version of his nomination request and the award was presented to John’s granddaughters Kelsey Beam and Austin Allred as John could not make it due to medical issues.

Pictured above is Post 197 Commander, Paul Chatterton thanking and then presenting an American Legion Coin to (from left to right) Will Busby and Millie Smith who were the Youngest Generation Program Guest Speakers and Scout Marionna Favors who was a Program master of ceremonies. Photos are courtesy of American Legion Pike Post 197.

John R. Ellis

John is originally from Griffin, Georgia and has been a resident of Pike County since 2004. John enlisted in the United States Air Force on 20 April 1951. He was trained as a Combat Medic and assigned to England as the Korean War was going on. He was further assigned to the 7559th Medical Group Depot working at the Field Hospital at the Burtonwood Royal Air Force Base. He was assigned duties to the Hospital Ambulance Corps.

While performing this duty, John was later promoted to Staff Sergeant and was selected as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the Hospital Ambulance Corps. US servicemen in body bags killed in action during the Korean War would arrive at the airfield, and John would transport them to the installation morgue for further processing and shipment to the United States.

While in England, John took up the hobby of photography, taking photos of nature and English land marks, sites, and events. Having learned of John’s expertise, the airbase newspaper asked John to take photos of the base band and the precision medical drill team. He was also a member of the base Honor Guard Team. John was also highly proficient in musical instruments and played the clarinet as a volunteer in the Burtonwood Air Force Volunteer Band consisting of fellow airmen. The band played all over north England. He also started playing the saxophone in a band with several airmen at the base non-commissioned officer’s club.

In February of 1955, John’s next assignment was with the 2349th United States Air Force Hospital at Parks Air Base in California. Once again, he was in charge of the ambulance corps. In April of 1955, John was in a serious automobile accident which left him with many surgeries and lifetime medical disabilities.

His last duty was a Ward Master in charge of and supervisor of one of the two hospital surgery wards.

After serving 6 years, 3 months, and 20 days of which 3 years and six months were overseas, on 12 August 1957, Staff Sergeant John Ellis was honorably medically discharged from the Air Force. For his service, John is entitled to the National Defense Service Medal for his service during the Korean War, Army Good Conduct Medal with two knots representing two three-year periods of good conduct, and the Cold War Victory Medal for his service during the Cold War.

After his service, John worked for Delta Airlines as a mechanic, station agent, and customer service agent. After 34 years, in 1991, John retired from Delta Airlines.

On the side, John repaired woodwind and brass musical instruments for over 50 years which he continued after his Delta retirement. He started out working in his basement, then built a shop in his backyard.

John also continued to play in various bands that played big band and roaring 20s music with the Southern Aires, South Metro Concert Band, Peachtree Jazz Addition, and Peachtree Wind Community Concert Band. John retired from playing a few years ago.

John volunteers much of his current time reporting and taking photos for the Pike County Journal Reporter. He has volunteered working for the paper for over 10 years, with his first assignment covering the 2013 Concord Jubilee. He is a regular attendee and volunteers at the St Peter of the Rock Church located in The Rock, GA. He provides music for church services, as well as performing with the Psalms and Hymnal Bands. John also volunteers taking photos for the Church.

John is a member of the Experiment Aircraft Association, Chapter 468 of the Peachtree Aerodrome in Williamson, GA. He is highly supportive of the Youth Aviation Program. John is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans for over 20 years.

John joined the American Legion in 2012. He has supported Post 197 with his expertice in photography and writing, and attended and reported on Post communty patriotic and ceremonial events. He submited the photos to the Pike County Journal Reporter, and often wrote the articles. His articles in the paper also help promote the Pike County American Legion Post 197 and all the communty events it hosts. His photos are also used for the Post 197 annual history reports.

As you have read, not only is John a Korean War era Veteran at the age of 90, he is a highly active Veteran, Pike County citizen, and an example for other Veterans to emulate. Unfortunately this past August, John suffered a stroke and he continues to recouporate from this incident. There are not too many citizens and Veterans of John’s age who do what he has done for their nation, county, and community.

Obituary for John Ellis

Mr. John Richard “Pop-Pop” Ellis, age 90, of Zebulon, passed away November 14, 2023, at his home. He was born in Griffin, son of the late Jesse Taylor Ellis, Jr. and Mary Nell Grantham Ellis. Mr. Ellis was a Korean War Veteran and Medic in the United States Air Force where he served for eight years. For three of those years, he traveled throughout Europe with the Air Force Band. He was a talented musician who could play numerous instruments including the saxophone, clarinet, and flute. As a side job he would repair instruments for others.

After being honorably discharged, Mr. Ellis took a job at Delta Airlines. He worked there for 30 years, retiring as a customer service agent. Mr. Ellis was an avid photographer and a member of the American Legion Post #197 in Zebulon and their official photographer, and a freelance writer and photographer for the Pike County Journal-Reporter. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and a volunteer with the Young Eagle aviation program at Candler Field in Williamson. He enjoyed being outdoors and liked to fish.

Mr. Ellis loved his church and was a faithful member of St. Peter the Rock Catholic Church in Thomaston. He was a kind and gracious servant who always went the extra mile to help others. He was a loving husband, and father, and a doting “Pop-Pop” to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Patricia Ellis and sons, Kenneth Stuart “Scooter” Redding Jr., and Gary Keith “Hollywood” Redding, and brother, Jesse Taylor Ellis III.

He is survived by his sons: Richard Ellis, Stephen and Joyce Ellis, Mark Ellis and Jeff Redding; daughter-in-law: Vickie Redding; grandchildren: Ashlee Redding, Kelsey Beam, Austin Allred, Jacob Redding, Brandon Manley, Megan Talley, Maru Ellis, Ian Reyes, Brandon Davis and Cory Davis; many great-grandchildren.

A Funeral Mass celebrating his life was held on Friday, November 17, 2023, at 1 p.m., in St. Peter the Rock Catholic Church. Burial with military honors will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery in Griffin.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Peter the Rock Catholic Church Building Fund, 3594 Barnesville St., Thomaston, GA 30286, in memory of Mr. Ellis.

You can see photos from John's life at https://www.moodydaniel.com/obituary/john-ellis

[Note from the Editor: I have spent hours at various events taking pictures with John. He is missed in our community already.]

Submitted 11.22.23