Mr. James Ellis Hall, 104, was called home by his Heavenly Father on September 20, 2022. He was preceded in death by his son, John Douglas Hall, and his wife of 69 years, Elizabeth Hannah Hall. He is survived by his sister, Jean Brown (Marvin) of Gloucester, and sons, James H. Hall (Patti) of Stevensville, Md., and Frederick H. Hall (Carolee) of Richmond, Va. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, Stacia Bontempo (Dave), John Hall (Margaret), Elizabeth Robson (Paul), Susannah Hogge (Jason), Rebecca Dodelin (Ken), Camden Hall (Shannon), and Kristen Martin (Alex), and 16 great-grandchildren.
Ellis was born on May 15, 1918 to Hansford A. and Marjorie S. Hall in Ordinary, Virginia, where he grew up with five brothers and one sister. After graduating from Achilles High School in 1937, he went to work for Union Life Ins. Co. Fortunately, he met a pretty school teacher from West Virginia on her first teaching assignment in Gloucester. Ellis and Betty were married in 1941 and enjoyed 69 years of marriage.
In 1943, Ellis was drafted into the Army and was assigned to the 930th Engineers Aviation Regiment. He rose to the rank of 1st Sergeant while serving two years overseas building roads and airstrips in North Africa, India and Burma. After his discharge in November of 1945, he returned to Gloucester and rejoined Union Life, renting space above Broaddus Bros. General Electric Appliance dealership on Main Street. Willie Broaddus talked him into joining the business in 1948. As a partner, the business became Broaddus & Hall, expanding with furniture, custom-made kitchen cabinets and floor coverings. In 2006, having enjoyed 58 years of business, Mr. Hall sold the business following the untimely death of his son and co-owner, Douglas.
Ellis was also involved in several commercial real estate properties with local partners.
His strong Christian faith and family values were the guiding principles for all of his church and community service. Mr. Hall was a member of Newington Baptist Church for 74 years, where he served as a Sunday school teacher until the age of 100 and sang in the choir for 70 years. He also served as a Deacon, Chairman of the Deacons, Chairman of the Finance Committee and a Church Trustee. He served on the Virginia Baptist Mission Board representing the Mid-Tidewater Baptist Association. This Christian service led him to become a Gideon for over 43 years. Spreading the Gospel also led to serving the prison ministry (Southeastern Correctional Ministry) at the Gloucester County jail starting in 1968. He led a weekly Bible study with jail inmates for almost 50 years. In 2011, he began leading the Bible study and singing on Saturday mornings at Sanders Assisted Living where he later became a resident in 2018. He continued this labor of love until the fall of 2021.
Ellis was active in the community as a Charter Member of the Gloucester Rotary Club for over 57 years, serving in various roles, including President. In July of 2020, Ellis was recognized by a Joint Resolution from the Virginia General Assembly for his contributions as a businessman, a veteran and member of the Gloucester community. The presentation was made by Delegate Keith Hodges.
Mr. Hall’s life centered around family and faith. He loved spending time with his family at various outings and at his cottage on the Piankatank River. In retirement, he began playing golf and loved playing with his brothers (Woodrow and Francis), various church members and his sons. This life of family, church and community activities kept him active past his 100th birthday.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at Newington Baptist Church on October 1 at 1 p.m., with visitation following the service in the Church Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Newington Baptist Church or the Southeastern Correctional Ministry.
Andrews Funeral Home, Gloucester, is in charge of arrangements.