LEXINGTON - Ellis Howard Dantzler of Lexington, 74, passed away at Lexington Medical Center on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.
Born on Oct. 5, 1944, in Orangeburg, he was the son of the late Peter Howard and Emily Lancaster Dantzler. Ellis grew up in Cameron and graduated from Cameron High School. He was an all-around athlete, a high school All-American and was selected to play in the North-South football game. During his senior year, Ellis starred in all sports at Cameron High as the Colts went undefeated and were state champions in every sport. Ellis starred on a number of Little League, Pony League and American Legion state championship teams.
He played freshman football and baseball at Clemson in 1962-63 and played on the varsity teams for Coaches Frank Howard and Bill Wilhelm through 1966. Ellis was an outstanding back on offense and defense on the football team, as players were at the time required to play both ways. He played first base and was named Most Valuable Baseball Player during his senior year and held the record for highest batting average until recent years. During graduate school at Clemson, Ellis was an assistant coach for the last freshman football team and was head coach of the freshman baseball team, having a record of 16-0. He was a member of High Court, Tiger Brotherhood and Sigma Alpha Zeta Fraternity.
On Dec. 27, 1967, Ellis married Frances Platt of Ravenel, SC. After a year in dental school at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, Ellis and Frances spent the next two years as teachers in Bamberg. Ellis coached football and basketball and taught science at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School. In June of 1970, Ellis began teaching science and coaching at Lexington High School and was head football coach from 1975-78. Ellis attempted to influence his students and players spiritually, morally and intellectually, and remained very close to many of them throughout the years.
In 1976, Ellis began working part-time in the coaches' division of Gulf Life Insurance Company. He soon became a top producer and was recognized with many awards after beginning to work full-time with the company in 1978. Ellis obtained degrees of CLU and ChFC, and was associated for many years with Goldstein and Associates and Midlands Insurance Center. Ellis was a member of the Lexington Rotary Club and received the prestigious Paul Harris award for distinguished service. He was a member of the Clemson Block C Club, Clemson IPTAY, the Lexington Cotillion and Mount Horeb United Methodist Church.
Ellis is survived by his wife; his three children, Lisa Dantzler Ferris (Zane) of Lugoff, Todd Ellis Dantzler (C. Thomas Tolly) of Charleston and Chad Howard Dantzler (KelLeigh) of Lexington; and his two grandsons, Roan and Luke Ferris. He is also survived by sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Sandra Platt Etheredge of West Columbia, Henry and Narda Platt Marvin of Winston-Salem, N.C., Seabrook and Donna Platt of Adams Run; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents; sisters-in-law, JoAnn Platt Dowdy and Karen Platt Redman; and brother-in-law, William C. Etheredge.
Services will be held on Monday, Dec.10, at Mount Horeb United Methodist Church, 1205 Old Cherokee Road, Lexington. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., followed by the Celebration of Life beginning at 12:30 p.m. Burial will be at 3:30 p.m. at Cameron Memorial Cemetery, Cameron.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Mount Horeb United Methodist Church, 1205 Old Cherokee Road, Lexington, SC, 29072, or to a charity of their choice.
Ellis was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to many and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He truly fought the good fight many times throughout his life as he battled serious medical issues on a number of occasions. He knew that the power of prayer by so many enabled him to survive the multiple illnesses that he faced, and he felt that he indeed had at least nine lives.
The family extends heartfelt thanks to all of the staff on the 4th Floor Intermediate and the Surgical Intensive Care Units of Lexington Medical Center for the excellent care given to Ellis over the past two months, with extra special thanks to Dr. Terry Norton of Southern Surgical Group.
Caughman-Harman Funeral Home, Lexington Chapel, is assisting the family with arrangements.