Darrell Ellis, Sr., age 72, of Creston, Iowa passed away Monday, Feb. 6, 2012 at his home.
Darrell was born April 30, 1939 in Decatur County, Iowa to Earl and Grace (Davis) Ellis. Earl worked for the county for many years, and Grace was a stay at home mother while also working the occasional odd job. Darrell grew up in Leon, Iowa and attended the Leon school district through his Sophomore year.
While a young boy, Darrell was heavily influenced by Gene Autry movies and the music of Ernest Tubb. This musical influence inspired him get a job at a local grocery store where he earned enough money to buy his first guitar at the age of 12. He began playing professionally at the age of 16, and shortly thereafter he won a talent contest in Centerville, Iowa performing the Hank Thompson classic “Blackboard of My Heart”. This brought Darrell to the attention of Centerville radio, where he and his brother, Max, soon had a radio program featuring Max’s vocals and Darrell on guitar.
Darrell spent a number of years after that performing in bands in Davenport, Des Moines, Centerville, Creston, and throughout northern Missouri. He also performed in several other states including Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Tennessee, California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois, and Kansas. Two of his favorite highlights were performing with Ernie Ashworth (“Talk Back Trembling Lips”) in the early 1960s in Davenport, Iowa and with Marvin Rainwater (“Gonna Find Me A Bluebird”) in Creston, Iowa in the early 1970s. Darrell retired from performing around 1984 and spent the rest of his life enjoying his hobbies such as fishing, camping, garage sales, and spending time with his family.
Darrell had three children (Tracey, Darla, and Darrell II), two step-children (Angie Spicer Palmer and Lonnie Spicer), fifteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.