His son and CEO and president of the company, James “Jimmy” Edward Ellis, died last month at age 67. Another son, William Gregory Ellis, also preceded him in death.
Ellis, according to a biography on the automotive group’s website, was born in Atlanta and grew up on a farm. As a child, he ran a milk and paper route, worked construction and operated a concessions business in Grant Park.
By the time he had earned his degree from Georgia State University in 1957, he had worked as a prison guard and foreman and had sold insurance, IBM machines and real estate among his jobs to work his way through college. He also served two years in the U.S. Army. He was employed in the 1960s at General Motors before opening his first dealership in 1971.
While at Jim Ellis Automotive Group, he helped create the Jim and Billie Ellis Foundation, which has donated more than $50 million to local charities over the years, the obituary said.
His obituary requests that donations be made on his behalf to Atlanta Mission, Norcross Cooperative Ministries or Eagle Ranch.
He was an active member of Johns Creek Baptist Church and enjoyed, golf, tennis and fishing.
He is survived by his wife, Billie Jean Sammons Ellis, daughters Karen Ellis Black and Kristi Ellis Cohron and several grandchildren.