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Sun, 05.30.1943

Patrick Ellis, Gospel Disc Jockey born

Patrick Ellis

*Patrick Ellis was born on this date in 1943.  He was a Black radio show host and production director.  

Patrick Connery Ellis was born at Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C.  His mother, Ida Delaney Ellis, was a teacher, and his father, Roy Alexander Ellis, was a government labor relations specialist. He had one brother, Roy M. Ellis. After attending public schools, Ellis attended Westminster School in Connecticut.  As a boy, Ellis first heard gospel music when he walked past a church and heard “drums and tambourines and people singing and shouting.” Relatives took him to see Shirley Caesar and the Caravans at the Apollo Theater, which he cited as the turning point for his love for the gospel. As a child, Ellis also listened to local DC radio how DJ Lord Fauntleroy Bandy.  

After graduating from Westminster, Ellis attended Howard University for communications. In 1971, he started volunteering at WHUR-FM, Howard's radio station. He became a full-time staff member at the station in 1975. In 1977, he earned his bachelor's degree from Howard.  In 1979, he was asked by program director Jesse Fax to host a gospel show. He started hosting "Sunday Morning Gospel", a weekly four-hour gospel music show. He visited local religious record stores and bookstores to learn more about the gospel, eavesdropping on customers talking about music.  Ellis provided what he called a "spiritual transfusion during the week" for churchgoers. During the show, he would share his journey with faith and shared announcements from local nonprofits and churches. He also hosted fundraisers to feed the hungry, domestic violence victims, and cancer patient care.  

In 1986, he became the production director of WHUR-FM. By 1989, the radio show, now called "Gospel Spirit," averaged 64,000 listeners weekly and was regularly ranked as the most popular show at the station. That year, an anniversary party was held with BeBe and CeCe Winans and the Barrett Sisters performing and Jesse Jackson, Del. Walter Fauntroy, and Marion Barry in attendance.  In 1999, Ellis was honored with a proclamation for his work by Prince George's County, Maryland.  In June 2020, Ellis finished building his at-home studio in Annapolis, where he hosted his last shows of "Gospel Spirit".  

He was raised Episcopalian and married four times. He divorced his first three wives. He had a daughter, Susan Cooper, and a second daughter, Adina Ellis Cato. In 1999, he married Angela Green and lived in Mitchellville, Maryland.  In June 2020, Ellis was hospitalized and died at a hospital in Annapolis, Maryland, of complications from covid-19 on July 16, 2020.  Ellis's favorite gospel songs were "Take Away" by Yolanda Adams and a revival piece by Luther Barnes.   Ellis hosted "Gospel Spirit" for over forty years on WHUR-FM. Upon his death, he was the longest-running on-air personality in Washington D.C. radio history.  

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