LIMA — Brenda Ellis called Connie Young's 3-year-old great-niece every night before bed and bought her this year's Easter dress. She stopped by before Jennifer Pughsley's son left for a trip to Japan a few years ago with a book about the country.There are so many stories like these about Ellis, who died Monday at the age of 60. Her work as Lima schools director of special education and as one of the founding members of the local Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority provided her with even more ways to touch lives. “She had been an advocate for special-needs children her entire life,” Lima schools Superintendent Karel Oxley said. “She was always looking for opportunities for students to have hope, freedom of choices and the ability to experience environments that maximized their abilities.”Ellis came to the district in 2001 after 18 years as a speech pathologist with the Allen County Educational Service Center. Fifteen of those were spent working with Shawnee schools.Ellis' work for pupils continued as a member of the Sigma Mu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Just last week, she was out collecting scholarship applications and attending the national convention.“She was involved in everything,” said longtime friend and AKA member Connie Young. “She always had great ideas for kids, always coming up with things.”Before helping to start the Lima AKA chapter, Ellis did the same at Marshall University. She spent four years as president of the local chapter and most recently served as chaplain. Ellis and Young also attended Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, where Ellis was too active. “She was a really loyal friend. She never tired of working with the sorority or church or any project she had,” Young said. “She was the kind of friend that you could call and she would just do it.”Many recalled Ellis' giving heart Monday. It's what Pughsley, a former Lima schools employee, will remember most.“She had such a large heart,” she said. “She gave to everybody. She will be missed in this community.”Ellis is survived by her husband, Ronald, and a daughter, Erica.Funeral arrangements were incomplete at Jones-Clark Funeral Home.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.