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Celeste M. Ellis

June 26 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Celeste was born on Sunday, April 21, 1963, at Brooklyn Hospital in Brooklyn, NY, to her late parents, Clarence Milton Ellis and Dorothy Lee Copeland Ellis; she was the middle child. She grew up in Brooklyn and Jamaica (Queens), New York, before relocating to Schenectady, New York, in the mid-1990s.

Celeste attended New York City Public Schools from KG to 9th grade. In 10th grade, she headed to Lexington, Mississippi, to attend the COGIC Saints Academy, where she was the drummer for the Choir. She graduated from Saints Academy in May 1981. One funny story is that while the choir sang during her High School graduation, her dad stood and yelled, “That’s my middle baby on the drums!” again while the choir was singing. Attending Saints Academy was a blessing to Celeste; she forged friendships that lasted for years to come – to the point where many of them found her on social media – and they “picked up where they left off” for some time.

She was a faithful member of the Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ, where the Pastor was the late Reverand Savalus Copeland I (her maternal grandfather); there, she played the drums and sang in the choir. She and her sisters later joined the Goodwill Church of God in Christ, where the Pastor was the late Supt—John L. Butler (her paternal uncle). As a member of Goodwill, she was a part of the Ministry of Music as the drummer, a “solid alto” in the choir and YPWW Teacher, and worked closely with the kitchen staff. She has taught many young men how to play the drums. After relocating to Schenectady, New York, she attended the Refreshing Spring Church of God in Christ as a “watch-care” member.

Celeste was a hard worker with a wide variety of skills. At different times, she was engaged as an Office Clerk in the John L. Butler ESQ Law Office in Brooklyn, NY, a U.S. Census Taker in 1990 and again in 2000 in both Brooklyn, NY, and Schenectady, NY, and an Office & Administrative Assistant for the New York State Workers Compensation Board in Albany, NY. In a change from her mainly clerical duties, she was employed as a Repair Technician for Contech Cable Company at their Schenectady, NY facility. Her love of music and attention to detail were instrumental to her success at Contech.

In addition to being a gifted drummer with a great singing voice, Celeste inherited a love for reading from her father. She kept up with Science and Current Events by faithfully reading the New York Daily News and the New York Post—for the Sports and Comics sections only.

Since 2008, Celeste has battled with some serious health issues, although she never complained. In 2008, she suffered a massive heart attack, which she recovered from (with a smile). Since 2019, her health began to decline, but to the end, she never complained.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Dorothy Ellis, and her oldest sister, Dorothea Ellis Tolbert.

She leaves to mourn her loss and cherish her memory: her sister, Beatrice Ellis Wells; her nephew, David S. Tolbert; her niece, Karen Y. Tolbert; and two brothers-in-law, Vergis Tolbert III and Ronald D. Wells. She also leaves to mourn four Aunts: Rev. Jeanette Evans Copeland, Mother Dolores Ellis Johnson, Elder Beatrice Ellis Walker, and Dr. Fay Ellis Butler; along with a host of cousins, “Saints” and friends.

Humbly Submitted as we submit to his WILL!
The Family


June 26
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Rhodes Funeral Home Newburgh
18 Lake St.
Newburgh, NY 12550 United States
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