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Friday was a black day for Adair County's close knit Ellis Clan

A brilliant young police officer's life was snuffed out in a craven senseless act. His career has been in Richmond. For Adair and Taylor Counties, the loss is especially painful. Det. Ellis is a member of an Ellistown-centered family which traces its continuous Adair County presence since just after the Revolutionary War, and long ties with Knifley schools. Det. Ellis' father and all his uncles attended the school. And for a time, he was a student there before transferring to Taylor County.
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By Ed Waggener

When a tornado took the back of his house in Cane Valley, KY, on March 28, 2014, Robert Ellis remembers thinking, "This is the blackest day of my life." His beautiful old two and a half story house at the corner of Beechtop Road and Old Cane Valley Road had to be torn down.

He thought at the time that this would be the nadir of his life, that he would never see a worse one.

But it wasn't to be. On Friday, November 6, 2015, the unthinkable happened when his nephew, Det. Daniel Neil Ellis, died in the UK Medical Center in Lexington. "That was the blackest day of my life. I never knew such depression before. I hope our family never goes through it again."


Daniel Neil Ellis succumbed to gunshot wounds to the head, delivered in a craven heartless attack as Ellis was investigating a robbery in Richmond, on Wednesday, November 4, 2015.

Robert's 33 year old nephew was a standout in a standout family, whose very special talent as a police officer had endeared him to the Richmond community and elevated him to a special standing among his colleagues. I heard officers say, over and over, that Dan was a 'cop's cop,' the best of the best.

He was fearless, but not rash. He could usually handle explosive situations talking with people. "He just had that ability," Robert Ellis said.

Early reports which reached Columbia and Campbellsville were accompanied by information that Dan Ellis was a graduate of Taylor County High School and had a lot of relatives in Adair County. Both were true, but that was only a hint of who he was and the extent of the family.

Daniel's father, Kelly Ellis is one of six children born to Earl Dean Ellis, deceased; and Clara, who now lives lives on Ebenezer Road, in Taylor County. "We're a close clan," Robert Ellis said, and Kelly and I have always been really close. The children of Earl Dean Ellis and Clara are, in birth order:
  • Denise Pendleton, who now lives on River Hill Road in Taylor County
  • Kelly Ellis, Campbellsville, the father of Det. Daniel Neil Ellis, Jeremy West, and Kelli Marie Ellis. Kelly Ellis, like his son, was in law enforcement, and served as a Taylor County, KY, Deputy Sheriff for a time.
  • Alfred Ellis, who still lives on the ancestral farm at Ellistown, KY, which was founded on land the family was granted following Revolutionary War service. Alfred and his wife Melissa Wise Ellis have nine children and formerly operated the Mustard Seed store in Pellyton. He now farms and does carpentry work.
  • Robert Ellis, Cane Valley, KY, who manufactures specialty wood crafts and ships them around the world. His wife is Tammy Ellis, an employee of the Adair County School Board.
  • Jimmy Ellis, who works in the timber business and is an elder at Old Regular Baptist Church off Sanders Ridge.
  • And David Ellis, Campbellsville, KY, who operates Commonwealth Building Products in Somerset and Campbellsville, KY
Robert Ellis said the Ellis Clan is very close, very spiritual. And, although they attend different churches in different denominations, all of his generation attended Knifley Schools and graduated there.

Dan Ellis graduated from Knifley Grade Center. Daniel Ellis attended and graduated from Taylor County High School.

Later, Dan Ellis attended Eastern Kentucky University where he earned a Bachelor Degree.

Daniel Neil Ellis met his future wife at EKU, Katie, who is Assistant Principal at Madison Central High School. They have one child Luke Michael Ellis

The funeral for Daniel Neil Ellis will be a huge affair, to be held at Eastern Kentucky University's Alumni Coliseum, 641 Eastern Bypass, Richmond, KY, at at 10amCT/11amET, Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Police Officers are expected at the service. In all likelihood, units from Adair, Taylor and Casey County will be there.

One detail yet to be announced is where Det. Ellis' final resting place will be. High on the list is Pellyton Cemetery, at the epicenter of the Ellis Clan, in Northeast Adair County. That will be posted here as soon as word is received. Update: 12:55pmCT Nov. 8. Latest word is that burial will be in Pellyton.

See obituary: Daniel Neil Ellis, 33, Richmond, KY (1982-2015)


This story was posted on 2015-11-08 08:42:10
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