Carol Helen Ellis Martin, a Benefactor died peacefully in her sleep at home on Tuesday, April 7, 2021. She was 76.
Daughter of Alpheus and Helen Ellis, Carol was born on December 25, 1944, in St. Petersburg Florida. She resided most of her life in Tarpon Springs, Florida. At the age of 64, Carol was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. But that never stopped Carol from living life to the fullest.
Carol was a graduate of Tarpon Springs High School in 1962. Carol married her first husband in the early ’60s, had 3 children, and divorced. Shortly afterward, she met and married her second husband, Paul W Martin with whom she shared a wonderful life until his death in 2005. She is survived by her 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren, her dog Molly, two cats Max & Ruby, a dozen cows, and two goats.
Carol’s father, Alpheus L. Ellis, worked very hard and long hours as a banker in the local community. Following her father’s death in 1995, Carol assumed the duties of her father’s many varied businesses, which she continued throughout her life. Carol was instrumental in acquiring, developing, and managing shopping centers and other commercial properties in the Tampa Bay area. She was a businesswoman who ran several companies and treated all her employees as family.
While her career accomplishments are many, Carol measured success by the number of lives she touched through philanthropy with some of the area’s most influential cultural, arts, and religious institutions that were dear to her heart. She’ll be remembered fondly for her generosity and relentless pursuit to make a positive impact on others. Carol had a soft heart—she embodied the definition of a "giver" and truly left the world a better place.
Carol was Chair of the Ellis Foundation, which was merged with Merrell Foundation to form EllMar Foundation, in 2006, a benefactor in the construction of the Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital in Tarpon Springs.
She established a Chair for Parkinson’s and Downs Syndrome research at USF and established a renewable scholarship program for Tarpon Springs High School (TSHS) graduates. Additionally, Carol has been a major supporter of The Jacobson’s Culinary Academy and Real World Scholars, an organization that integrates entrepreneurship in K-12 education. Carol is also a past member of the board of St. Petersburg Junior College (now St. Petersburg College), the Children’s Home Society of Florida, and the board (Florida) of NCNB (now Bank of America). Carol also took special interest in improving the lives of wounded and injured veterans, supporting numerous programs offering rehabilitative therapeutic outdoor adventure challenges.
She loved to see other people smile and went out of her way to bring people together in inspiring ways. In her last years, she held incredibly memorable gatherings. One of which was on her 75th birthday. Where she gave an everlasting memory of being lifted from her wheelchair to dance to the song “If You Can Only Imagine” while the band MercyMe performed in person. She loved the Lord and knew the Lord loved her.
Carol was an accomplished and passionate artist, loved to travel, and sought adventure and laughter. She loved going to Buccaneers games and was talented at restoring homes. Carol’s frequency of visits to Walt Disney World would seem to qualify it as her second home. She was multi-talented, inspiring, fun-loving, and truly ready for anything!
In lieu of flowers, Carol wished for contributions to local charities in the Tarpon Springs area in her memory. The funeral and celebration of life, will be held at Innisbrook Resort, 36750 US Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor, Wednesday, April 14th, from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm, attire is tropical dressy, the brighter the better! This event will be held under a tent outdoors.
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