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Family of longtime educator establishes memorial scholarship at APSU

Shes gone but, if its up to her family, never forgotten.

On Jan. 19, 2006, Sallie Hampton Ellis, Clarksville, died of pancreatic cancer at Baptist Hospital, Nashville. Her husband, L M Ellis, said her bed was completely surrounded by family and friends, with Ellis holding one of his wifes hands and her daughter, Dorlisa, holding the other.
She's gone but, if it's up to her family, never forgotten.

On Jan. 19, 2006, Sallie Hampton Ellis, Clarksville, died of pancreatic cancer at Baptist Hospital, Nashville. Her husband, L M Ellis, said her bed was completely surrounded by family and friends, with Ellis holding one of his wife's hands and her daughter, Dorlisa, holding the other.

Ellis, one of the “founding fathers” of the Dave Aaron Foundation, which has raised $200,000 for a scholarship endowment in Aaron's memory, and his late wife's children and siblings have established the Sallie Hampton Ellis Endowed Scholarship Fund at Austin Peay State Universitydesignated for band and education scholarships.

“I need something to keep me busy,” said Ellis the day following his wife's funeral. “More importantly, I want something for everyone to remember Sallie by.”

Although the two dated in high school, they went their separate ways. After both were single again, friends began pairing them up at class reunions. And it worked.

In December 1998, they were married. During the past seven years, Ellis has been impressed with how many people knew and loved his wife. “Wherever we went, everyone spoke to her. Former students, people she taught with. Everyone loved her.

“Now I want to enlist them in the Sallie Hampton Ellis Army. I need them to be my backup and help us by enhancing this scholarship fund in Sallie's memory.”

For years, Sallie had major health problems. Since 1985, she had suffered from fibromyalgia. In 2001, she was diagnosed with colon cancer and, five years later, with pancreatic cancer.

Throughout these trials, she maintained a positive attitude. Just a month prior to her death, she was planning a May trip to San Francisco with her sisters.

Despite her own serious illnesses, Ellis' wife always thought of others first. He says, “As they were putting her in the ambulance to take her to the hospital for the last time, she stopped the ambulance attendants to remind me not to forget to wear my hat.”

According to her sister, Linda, when Sallie told her she might have to have more surgery on her pancreas, Linda said that the rest of the family was ready to come.

“But Sallie told me, ‘Please don't call anyone to come yet. Wait to see if I need the surgery.' She never wanted her illness to worry others,” Linda said.

Sallie Hampton Ellis was born June 16, 1944, in Clarksville, the first of five children of Richard H. and Bessie (Clardy) Hampton. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Richard H. Jr.

In the early 1960s, Sallie was among the first African-Americans to enroll at Austin Peay State College. Recipient of a band scholarship, she was active in band, college choirs and the Student National Education Association.

She graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. In 1973, she completed a Master of Science in Administration and Supervision with honors, and in 1984 she earned the Education Specialist Degree with honors.

In 2000, she was inducted into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Hall of Fame at APSU. She was a member of Kappa Delta Pi education society, American Association of University Women, Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library Friends and the Tennessee Library and Reading Association.

Throughout her career in education, which began in 1966, she taught in several schools. During most summers, she conducted workshops for Head Start. In 1970, she began teaching with the Title I Kindergarten program, serving as lead teacher for a center established in the former Cobb Elementary School. From 1970-79, she served on the Curriculum Coordinating Committee for kindergarten and was an in-service consultant for the school system.

From 1979-93, she was a lead teacher and consultant for the Program for Academically Superior Students (PASS), a program she wrote and implemented for primary students. A charter member of the Tennessee Association for the Gifted, she served that group as president in 1990-91.

From 1993 until her retirement, Sallie taught at Burt Elementary School, developing a curriculum and instructional methods suitable for the new age of computer technology. With her expertise in 21st century classrooms, she often served on accreditation committees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

She was a member of local, regional, state and national retired teachers organizations, serving as vice president, president-elect and president of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Retired Teachers Association. By appointment of County Executive Doug Weiland, she represented the county on the Greater Nashville Regional Council and served on the Montgomery County Millennium Commission.

Sallie was an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church. She was on the Clarksville Community Concert Series Board of Directors and was a past board member of Harriett Cohn Mental Health Center, a trustee of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Library and a member of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. She belonged to the Fibromyalgia Alliance of America and the Schomburg Society for the Preservation of Black Culture. A former member of the APSU Blue Ribbon Committee, she was a troop leader for both the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts of America.

She is survived by her husband, L M, and her four children, Dorlisa Goodrich Young of Sicklerville, N.J., Charles C. Goodrich of Chicago, Kenneth O. Goodrich and Yvetta D. Johnson of Clarksville, as well as two sisters, Linda H. Muchell, East Orange, N.J., and Alberta H. Smith, Palmdale, Calif., a brother, William Hampton, Memphis, and six grandchildren.

Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president, said, “Sallie was a role model for hundreds of her students, fellow teachers and all community leaders with whom she worked. I was blessed to have her as a friend during my six years at APSU. Early on, I realized the value Sallie placed on education.

“Nothing would please her more than knowing that, as a tribute to her, other young people will be able to attend her own alma mater and study two of her great lovesband and education.
“Having met the generous people who are her friends and family, I'm confident they will join what L M calls the Sallie Hampton Ellis Army.”

Memorial gifts can be made to the Sallie Hampton Ellis Endowed Scholarship Fund (for scholarships in band and education), APSU Box 4417, Clarksville, TN 37044.

For more information, telephone (931) 221-7127. — Dennie B. Burke