Ellis C. Cuevas, 1955-2021

Aug 1, 2021


Ellis C. Cuevas, 87, was granted his angel wings on July 13, 2021.

His final days were spent in the loving care of the staff at Pass Oaks assisted living facility and Canon Hospice. Even though his medical issues took him away from this world, his loving heart left a beacon of light for all in the community.

The Cuevas family has been residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast for over 200 years. Cuevas is the eldest of four sons, raised in Waveland, Mississippi, after birth at the Kings Daughters Hospital in Bay St. Louis on April 6, 1934. He attended St. Stanislaus Free Day School (Rip University), then went on to graduate from St. Stanislaus College Prep in 1953.

He worked for Waveland Lumber Co. and Hubbard’s Hardware before serving three years in the U.S. Army from 1954–1957, where he was assigned to the National Security Agency in communication as a cryptographer.

Cuevas began his newspaper career at The Sea Coast Echo in the production department in June 1957 and worked in many areas of the newspaper company while continuing to move up in management over the years. In 1977, he was named editor and publisher and kept that role until stepping down to publisher emeritus in 2000.

In 1963, Cuevas married Lillian Jane Taconi, and they enjoyed a long life together.

In addition to his work with the newspaper and involvement with the Mississippi Press Association, Ellis served the community in many capacities, including: Main St. United Methodist Church, lifetime board member, wills & legacy member, past president Men’s Club, Sunday School teacher, Administrative Board member 10 years and usher chairman; Hancock County Chamber of Commerce president in 1995, 25 years on the board, Beautification Committee chairman for 30 years and other Chamber committees; Mississippi Press Association, inducted in Hall of Fame June 1988, Newspaper Assoc. Employee of the Year 2007, past member Board of Governors, and served on the association’s board of governors in the 1970s and 1980s; National Newspaper Association member; American Legion Post 139 member for 35 years, served on the membership committee for 19 years and had served as post judge advocate on the Executive Committee for 16 years; Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis past president, Paul Harris Fellow, over 27 years of perfect attendance and received the Club’s 2001 Vocational Excellence Award; Rotary Club of Diamondhead, helped form the club as a District Governor’s representative in 1990 and received the Distinguished Award in 1992. United Way of Hancock County, served several years as president, vice-president, treasurer and board of directors over a 25-year period and co-campaign chairman in 1978; United Way of South Mississippi four-steering committee member who helped form a three-county organization, former board member for six years and Hancock County Area Operating Committee for many years. Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), chairman of Advisory Committee for over 30 years and member for over 37 years; Board member-at-large Hancock County Historical Society; 11 year board member of Goodwill Industries of South Mississippi; Hancock County Emergency Relief former advisory council member; Hancock County Doll & Toy Fund former advisory council member for many years; Hancock County Community Services member for many years; Mississippi Extension Service former steering committee member for over 30 years, and also “Making the Grade”, a national report card on six problem areas for youth for several years; Hancock County Sand Beach Advisory Committee vice-president; Hancock County Task Force on Youth, helped form this organization and former vice-president; Emily deMontluzin Foreign Language Scholarship fund president for 26 years; Hancock Medical Center’s Foundation board member since organized in 1982 and former president; Mississippi Gulf Coast Advertising Club (Mississippi Advertising Federation) past president and co-organizer; Diamondhead Business & Professional Association former member for many years; Hancock County Gaming & Tourism Association member; Hancock County Emergency Planning Committee member for many years; Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force Hancock coordinator since formation in 1988; GE Plastics Bay St. Louis Community Advisory Council for many years; Hancock County Jail Committee, former member of a group who pushed the passage of a bond issue to build most modern criminal justice facility in the state; graduate of 1997-98 Leadership Hancock County; 1991 Hancock County Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen of the Year; 2001 received the National Aeronautics Space Administration’s NASA Public Service Medal; South Mississippi Outstanding Community Leaders 2003 presented by the Sun Herald and The Journal of Southern MS Journal; Hancock County Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Membership 2003 (only one thus far); 2005 Mississippi Gulf Coast Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award; 2007 Mississippi Press Association’s Employee of the Year for service to The Sea Coast Echo and community; 2010 Award of Gratitude from the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup for years of dedication, member since 1988, He also received numerous awards of appreciation from many community organizations, businesses and veterans organizations over the years. Ellis and Jane still found time to take wonderful trips together over years, despite all the time he spent working and volunteering.

Ellis was preceded in death by his loving wife of 57 years, Lillian Jane Taconi Cuevas; his parents, Robert Ellis and Magdalena (Lena) Seither Cuevas; his brothers Clemence, Raymond and Felton; and grandparents August and Mary Sicklinger Seither and Mr. & Mrs. Wilson Cuevas.

He is survived by his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Mabel and Tony Monti; nieces Denise Monti, Amy Monti Corr and Susan; and many grand and great grand nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to thank the loving staff at Pass Oaks assisted living facility, Canon Hospice and Southern Care Hospice for the wonderful care he was given during this past year and a half; and Pastor Chris Klingenfus for his many visits and prayers.

Donations may be sent to Main Street United Methodist Church in his memory.

A celebration of Ellis’ life was held at Edmond Fahey Funeral Home in Bay St. Louis on Friday, July 16, 2021, with a visitation followed by a prayer service. Burial was at the Gardens of Memory Cemetery in Bay St. Louis.

Edmond Fahey Funeral Home in Bay St. Louis was in charge of arrangements.