Richard W. (Dick) Ellis, 76, died July 9 in Asheville, NC. Ellis was a senior partner of Ellis & Winters law firm in Raleigh, NC, from 2000 until his retirement in 2012. Prior to co-founding that firm, he was a partner with Smith Helms in Raleigh and Smith Moore Smith Schell & Hunter in Greensboro.
Ellis was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel.
His partner Mike Winters said of Ellis, “Dick’s commitment to his clients and colleagues was extraordinary, exemplified by his work ethic and his genuine concern for, and interest in, others. His clients and adversaries held him in the highest regard for his integrity, dedication, professionalism, and legal skills, which were exceeded by no one. He also had a wonderful sense of humor. He was loved and appreciated by everyone who worked with him.”
His partner Alex Hagan said, “You will never find a more honest person. He always told us, ‘While it is easy to establish a reputation in the legal community, it is much more important to establish a reputation of integrity. It must be earned, and it is invaluable.’”
A long-time whitewater canoeing enthusiast, Ellis was a former board member of the Nantahala Outdoor Center, where he once worked as a raft guide and canoe instructor.
Ellis was a graduate of Fuquay-Varina High School and UNC-Chapel Hill. He received his J.D. degree with High Honors from UNC Law School. He was an officer in the US Navy from June 1964 to June 1966 aboard the USS Lindenwald.
He is survived by his wife, Evelyn Morris Ellis of Candler; his sons, Richard Ellis Jr (Susan) of Apex and Phil Ellis (Sherry) of Overland Park, KS; four grandchildren, Claudia, Aidan, Alex and Joel Ellis; and sisters Diane Millikan of Biltmore Lake, Donna Wilkes of Greensboro, Karen Gray of Durham, and Mary Ellis of Boulder, CO.
Burial will be private.
The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Memory Care, 100 Far Horizons Lane, Asheville, NC 28803-2046.