Larry Ellis
By Phillip R Smith   
June 20, 2012

Larry Ellis (1942-2012)

Larry Ellis, a former USCF member from Syracuse, New York, died June 14, 2012 at St. Joseph's Hospital Medical Center following an illness of kidney disease. He was 70.

Ellis, a musician who came to Syracuse decades ago, gave up the entertainment business to become a minister. He founded his own church in Syracuse in 1991. Mr. Ellis's musical career had been as a funk singer/songwriter and organ player. His song, "Funky Thing, Part 1," was sampled by rapper Jay-Z in "Success" off of his "American Gangster" album. As a minister, Rev. Ellis served young people and their families who lived through, suffered from, and sometimes died because of gang rivalries, drug use and prostitution. According to his family, Rev. Ellis knew the streets of Syracuse, going into drug houses and playing chess with people who hung out on the street corners. Rev. Ellis's advocacy led him to try politics. He ran unsuccessfully for the Syracuse Common Council on the Green Party ticket in 1999. Later, he helped found the "People's Party," an alliance of prominent minority leaders who made endorsements in local Syracuse races.

Rev. Ellis got involved with the USCF in March 1997, when he started playing at the Syracuse Chess Club. He played in a few Syracuse CC events, including the 1998 Syracuse Chess Club Championship.

Obituary submitted by
George Mirijanian, Massachusetts Chess Association

Larry Ellis may you rest in peace.