Carolina Beach—Ellis “Ecky” Lee Cliborne , 73, went to be with the Lord Nov 5, 2017, peacefully at his home in his loving wife’s arms. In the 15 years since having a heart transplant, Ellis suffered kidney cancer and lung disease. Coming close to death many times during that time, Ellis was a fighter who wanted to spend as much time as he could with those he loved.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M., on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017, at Wilkerson Funeral Home, with Rev. Bill Daniel officiating. Interment will follow at Evergreen Memory Gardens. A visitation for family and friends will be held from 6-8 P.M., Tuesday, at the funeral home, and other times at Rick and Janice Wilkinson’s home, 8108 Lariat Drive, Summerfield.
He is preceded in death by parents Fannie “Bubba” and Claude “Pa” Cliborne; brother Claude “Bill” Cliborne Jr. Ellis will be remembered by his wife Joan Lawson Cliborne of 36 years; children Chris Cliborne (Kellie), Angela Esquivel (George), Brian Graham (Kathy); grandchildren Jordan , Cameron, Jackson, Rylee, Reese, Jaden, Jace; sisters Christine (John), Mary, and Kathy; brother Kenneth “Kempy” (Kathryn); sister-in-law Janice (Rick); brothers-in-law Jerry (Pam), Jimmie (Linda), and Donnie; as well as many nieces, nephews and close friends that were like family to Ellis.
Born on April 12th, 1944 in Reidsville. Since his youth, Ecky had a love for classic and antique vehicles. He had a knack for finding value in hidden treasures, transforming parts and cars people no longer wanted into beautiful hot rods. He was known as the “bike man” around the Carolina Beach area, where he fixed up classic bicycles that will be ridden on Pleasure Island for years to come.
Ellis enjoyed the simple things in life, especially blues music, oldies, Westerns and a good hot dog. It did not take much to make Ellis happy. Just as he found the hidden value in things to build cars and bikes, Ellis saw the good in people and he built many lasting relationships over the years. Most importantly, Ellis was a selfless person who longed to take care of others before himself. He was a dedicated employee at AC Corp for 28 years, where he worked hard to provide for his family. When he did not feel well, Ellis smiled and kept a warm demeanor, telling jokes and so that his family and friends would not be sad of his illness. Ellis especially loved to spend time with his grandchildren, who called him “Poppy”.
The family extends our appreciation and thanks to everyone who has been part of Ellis's life here on earth. Your unconditional love and support over the years has been sincerely heartfelt. We are also grateful for the care provided by Ellis’ amazing medical teams at Duke University Hospital Heart Transplant Team and Cancer Center; Dr. Howard Ruscetti and Dr. Lynn Saffo of Wilmington Health; Hospice of Greensboro, and Lower Cape Fear Hospice in Wilmington.
In lieu of flowers, you can make a donation to Duke Transplant and Heart Center or Hospice or the charity of your choice. Wilkerson Funeral Home is assisting the family and condolences may be sent to www.wilkersonfuneral.com
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