UPDATE: Visitation and funeral set for former Edgecombe County sheriff who died Saturday


UPDATE: Public visitation and memorial services are scheduled to be held this week to honor the life of retired Edgecombe County Sheriff Phil H. Ellis, who died on Saturday after suffering a heart attack.

According to an obituary for Ellis, his family will receive visitors from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. this Wednesday, and a memorial service will be held on Thursday at 2:00 p.m., with both events happening in the auditorium in Flemming Hall at Edgecombe County Community College, located at 2009 West Wilson Street in Tarboro.

Here is the full obituary for Retired Sheriff Phil H. Ellis (courtesy of Carlisle Funeral Home in Tarboro):

“Memorial services have been set for former Edgecombe County Sheriff Phil Ellis, who died Saturday morning, June 22, following complications from a heart attack. He was surrounded by family and friends.     

The family will receive visitors from 6:00 to 8:00pm this Wednesday, June 26, in the auditorium of the Edgecombe County Community College. A memorial service for Ellis will follow at 2:00pm Thursday, June 27, in the same location. 

A native of Macclesfield, Ellis was born November 18, 1941 and was the son of the late Henry Ellis and Adele Wooten Ellis. He was a graduate of South Edgecombe High School and Atlantic Christian College and a lifelong member of his beloved Macclesfield Presbyterian Church.  

In 1963, he began his distinguished 33-year law enforcement career in Edgecombe County as an Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) officer. He then went on to serve as sheriff for 22 years, from 1974 until his retirement in 1996. During his tenure as sheriff, Ellis held offices in both the National Sheriffs’ Association and the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association. He served as president of the latter in 1992. 

In addition to numerous awards and honors, Sheriff Ellis was presented The Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Governor Hunt in 1997. That same year, he joined the sales team of Pay Tel Communications where he called on sheriffs departments and detention centers around North Carolina and surrounding states before retiring in 2018.

An avid golfer, you could often find the Sheriff hitting the links at his home club, Maccripine, or any number of courses from Palms Springs to Scotland. He loved spending time with friends and family at their home on the Pamlico River in Chocowinity. There, you could often find him serving as captain of his pontoon boat or just rocking on the porch, bluegrass music blaring. All who were blessed to know him found a gentleman of the highest caliber and integrity whose calm and strong nature, as well as his amazing sense of humor, made a lasting impact on everyone he met.

Sheriff Ellis will be lovingly remembered by his wife of nearly 57 years: Connie, son: Shelton of New York City, two beloved dogs: Gracie and Henry IV, in-laws: Edward & Peggy Shelton of Stokes, Carrie Lou & Tommy Rollins of Bethel, Terry Shelton & Colleen Roughton of Stokes, and numerous nieces &  nephews  

In lieu of flowers, the Sheriff and his family request that donations be made to the following: 

Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office

Attention: “Employees’ Fund.”

3005 Anaconda Road

Tarboro, NC 27886


Macclesfield Presbyterian Church

Attention: “Phil Ellis”

P.O. Box 247 

Macclesfield, NC 27852″


The former sheriff in Edgecombe County has passed away, the sheriff’s office said on Facebook.

Phil H. Ellis served as sheriff in Edgecombe County from 1974-1996.

The sheriffs office said, “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Retired Edgecombe County Sheriff Phil H. Ellis. Sheriff Ellis served Edgecombe County from September 1974 until his retirement in December 1996. Please keep the Ellis and Sheriff’s Office families in your thoughts and prayers…”

They say funeral arrangements will be announced upon completion.

The Tarboro Police Department also responded to this news on Facebook, saying, “The Tarboro Police Department extends our deepest sympathies to the Ellis family and the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office on the passing of retired Sheriff Phil Ellis. Without question, Sheriff Ellis served the citizens of Edgecombe County with the utmost professionalism, dedication, and distinction. We humbly thank him and his family for his/their years of service to our community.”

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