Ellis Cottingham was born on May 18, 1935 in Bessemer, Alabama to the late Henry and Anna Cottingham. He was the youngest male child born out of sixteen. The family moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1936 to work as agricultural farmers for local families.
On May 5, 1953, Ellis joined the United States Air Force. He served his country for three years until he was honorably discharged in 1956. During his enlistment, he married Frankie Hardy on December 28, 1953. To this union, seven children were born: Ellis, Michael, Larry, Danette, Daniel, Felicia and Rosemary. After Ellis left the military, he began working for Rupp Forge Metal Plant for 15 years. He later worked and retired from The Wonder Bread Company where he loved to cook the cinnamon rolls and donuts.
As his eyesight began to decline, Ellis moved and resided in Maywood, Illinois for 34 years. He went back to school at the Hines Medical Center in Hines, IL where he met his companion and caretaker, Wilma J. Baker. They were together until he passed.
Ellis loved music, fishing, sports, and playing his harmonica.
He leaves to mourn his passing four loving children: Ellis Cottingham, Daniel Cottingham, Felicia Conway and Danette Cottingham; Michael, Larry and Rosemary Cottingham preceded him in death; two sisters, Mozell Collins and Nettie Hunter; thirty-eight grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.