November 14, 1948 – November 15, 2021
George Robert Ellis, Chancellor for the 28th Judicial District, passed away in his home surrounded by his family on Monday, November 15, 2021. Ellis was born at the Dyer Clinic on November 14, 1948, to the late Dr. John Wesley Ellis and Georgia McIlwain Ellis. Upon graduating from Dyer High School, he left his small West Tennessee town for the first time to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He then received a commission from the United States Navy and served as a Lieutenant Junior Grade during the Vietnam Conflict. After his discharge, he attended the Cecil C. Humphries School of Law in Memphis where he earned his Juris Doctorate degree. Upon returning home from law school, he met the then Jana Lee McDaniel of Crockett County. They wed on August 27, 1978, and remained married for the next 43 years.
Ellis served as a municipal judge for the City of Dyer and practiced law for the firm of Harrell and Harrell in Trenton, Tennessee until 1978 when he was appointed to serve as General Sessions Judge for Gibson County on his 30th birthday, making him the youngest individual to serve a constitutionally mandated judgeship in Tennessee history.
He was appointed to serve as Chancellor of Tennessee’s 28th Judicial District by Governor Ned Ray McWherter in 1993. He served in that position for the rest of his life. Ellis earned his Master’s in Judicial studies from the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, teaching law and democracy to judges in former Soviet countries after the fall of the Soviet Union. He resided in the town he loved, Dyer, Tennessee, for his entire life. There he raised and showed American Quarter Horses and American Paint Horses. He was a lifelong member of the Dyer Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Jana Lee McDaniel Ellis; his son, Hamilton Wesley Ellis; his daughter, Georgia Lee Ells; his grandson, Robert Lee Ellis; his sister, Julie Ellis Clark of Charlotte, North Carolina; and many cousins and extended family.