The Quad Cities lost a champion today. Fly high Ellis Kell.
Ellis filled those he met with inspiration. For young aspiring musicians, he encouraged them to follow their passion, perfect their craft and shoot for the stars. As a dad, he inspired me to never take a moment for granted and always give thanks for what I had. Ellis Kell was an incredible human being. His work in the Quad Cities music scene is unparalled. He entertained thousands of us with his talent. He taught thousands of childred to love music and to work hard at it. He taught the community how to endure an unimaginable loss and turn the grief into somthing that would positively impact future generations.
Back in my television reporting days, I interviewed Ellis numerous times. Most of those interviews were about his peformances or the River Music Experience. The interview I will never forget is the time we talked about the death of his beautiful daughter, Karli Rose. I rarely interviewed Ellis when he didn’t greet me with a smile and a handshake. That day was different. The handshake was still there. He attempted the smile, it was faint. Ellis’ world had been shattered. I spoke with him well after Karli’s death. He was planning a fundraiser in her honor. Moondance was designed to honor her memory and turn his loss into an event that would help countless children. You could still see the pain in his eyes, but even more evident was the love in his heart. Ellis loved music. He loved the Quad Cities. He loved his family more. As the years passed it became easier for Ellis to talk about the event and the reason behind it. I’m not sure the pain ever faded but one thing that was always evident was the love for his family. They were his heart and soul.
We need more musicans like Ellis Kell. We need more Quad Citizens like Ellis Kell. We need more parents like Ellis Kell. Many of us are left wondering tonight, why a such a good man had to leave us so soon. We may never understand the “why”. One thing I am certain of tonight is there is a very special Daddy/Daughter dance taking place in Heaven. Karli Rose will never leave her daddy’s arms again.