Ellis C. Needham, Jr., 75, of Wakarusa, passed away Sunday, November 17, 2019.
Ellis was born May 20, 1944, in Lamesa, Texas, the son of Ellis C. and Lottie (Lynn) Needham, Sr.
Ellis and Naomi owned and operated Industrial Chrome Incorporated d.b.a. ICI Manufacturing. Ellis started with Industrial Chrome in 1963 as a general laborer. In 1969 Ellis and Naomi purchased part of the company and co-owned it alongside Don Johnson until the passing of Don in 1990. When Ellis started at ICI in 1963 the company had 3 employees including himself. During their ownership the company migrated from just a plating company to a vertically integrated, full manufacturing facility allowing for many operations to be under one roof. Although Ellis worked alongside Chris, Jackie, and Duane (his kids) and Taylor Jackson (his granddaughter), he felt that all of his employees were family. Ellis always said that our employees are our #1 asset and for him that was not a slogan, he meant it! Ellis and Naomi also started and operated Jen-D-Ranch where they enjoyed working the land and taking care of the cattle.
Ellis was a member of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and the North Topeka Business Alliance.
Ellis married Naomi L. Wikle on July 12, 1960 in Perry, Kansas.
Survivors include his wife, Naomi Needham of the home; four children, Jackie Needham of Wakarusa, Duane (Donna) Needham of Topeka, David (Tammi) Needham of Dallas, TX, and Chris (Elizabeth) Needham of Wakarusa; grandchildren, Taylor Jackson, Melissa (Tim) McClung, Alex (Ryane) Needham, Sam (Erica) Needham, Danielle (Andrew) Finley, Tori (Cody) Haddock, Dylan Needham, Allie Spurgeon, Ashley Needham and Madison Needham; great-grandchildren, Eoin and Elias McClung, Audra, Joel, Marcus and Isaac Needham, Norah and (expecting) Maverick Needham, Luke and (expecting) Joanna Finley and expecting baby Haddock.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and two sisters, Patsy Elliott and Lottie Flowers.
Ellis enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren and their activities. He also enjoyed ranching, farming, vintage cars, golfing and traveling. He was an avid KU and Kansas City Chiefs fan. His work family was also important to him. He was a generous and caring husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend with a great sense of humor.
A funeral service will be held at 10:00 am, Monday, November 25, 2019 at the Dove Cremations and Funerals, Southwest Chapel, 3700 SW Wanamaker Rd, Topeka. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery, Topeka. The family will receive friends from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Sunday at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
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