The Times Dispatch ran an article on Wilbur E. Ellis, who at age 90 still works at the firm that hired him almost 70 years ago. You might have gathered by now that Ellis is a little on the spirited side. Tough, too. You’d be that way, too, if you were a poor, short kid […]
You might have gathered by now that Ellis is a little on the spirited side. Tough, too.
You’d be that way, too, if you were a poor, short kid growing up on Oregon Hill where, in that era, fighting was as popular a sport as baseball or football. Yet, he never took anything off anybody.
At age 8, he was working for a few pennies a week at Tredegar Iron Works, where his father was a foreman. At John Marshall High, he remained south of 5 feet and the most vertically challenged member of the cadet corps. He wound up playing trumpet.
He got mixed up with bootleggers, running illegal whisky, before his future wife, Phyllis Franck, persuaded him to change his ways. He read of an opening at Atlantic Electrical and applied. He was hired, along with another man, for a monthlong tryout. Whoever performed best would get the job full time. The next week, the other guy was arrested for stealing a typewriter from a house.