James “Jay” Randolph Ellis

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2018

James “Jay” Randolph Ellis (March 13, 1962 – June 22, 2018) was born in Suffolk, Virginia to Nancy Cowper Williston. He attended high school and college in San Diego California, and eventually returned to North Carolina and attended East Carolina University, not finishing his degree.

He met his wife, Janet Jones Ellis, on the Outer Banks in 1985. They spent a winter in Breckenridge, Colorado and then returned to the Outer Banks before they settled down.  They moved Raleigh to enjoy Jay’s mom and have their two children. Dylan is now 25 years old and Ryan is 22.

Jay loved his two boys, fishing, surfing, playing music, all things woodwork, and his family. He worked professionally as a real estate agent and a general contractor for 25 years with his company Sanderling Realty & Construction. Later he ended up creating a successful rustic furniture business called J’s Farmhouse, which he was very proud of until his last days. His boys, friends and family will always remember his hilarious banter, his work ethic, his ability to lead and never to be afraid, and his huge heart.

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Jay was preceded in death by his mother, Nancy Cowper Williston; grandfather; Bennett Gray Cowper, and grandmother, Mary Dell Cowper.

He is survived by son, Dylan Ellis, of Los Angeles; son, Ryan Ellis, of Raleigh; uncle, Bennett Cowper of Clayton, and aunt, Fran Cowper Pendergraph, of Pittsboro.

A funeral service will be held 3 p.m., July 1 at St. Andrews by the Sea Church in Nags Head.  Friends may gather at 5 p.m. following the service at the Colington Harbor Pavilion (1000 Colington Road, Kill Devil Hills) to continue to celebrate Jay’s life.

Condolences to the family may be expressed via the online register at www.gallopfuneralservices.com. Gallop Funeral Services, Inc. was entrusted with arrangements.