Community members mourning loss of beloved Cleveland Bishop J. Delano Ellis

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Northeast Ohio is remembering the life of an influential spiritual leader, who died just days after receiving a special honor. 

Bishop J. Delano Ellis passed away Saturday at the age of 75.

His wife, Dr. Sabrina Ellis, who now leads the church shared the announcement on social media, asking people to pray for his family.

“I’ve got one thing to say… to God be the glory,” he told a crowd gathered September 6 for what would be his last public appearance.

Bishop Ellis II attended a dedication ceremony naming a portion of Chester Avenue between East 105th and East 107th Streets called Bishop J-Delano Ellis II Way.

Family members say he was hospitalized less than 24 hours after the dedication. The street runs in front of Pentecostal Church of Christ, where Bishop Ellis had been senior pastor since 1989.

“It flourished exceptionally from there, you know, from there, there’s so many churches, even in the area that were birthed out of him being a Pentecostal Church of Christ, so he’s got sons and daughters all over the Cleveland and Ohio area,” his brother-in-law George Clinkscale told Fox 8 from his home in Texas.

“I would see the bishop in the deepest and the darkest neighborhoods, just helping people and giving back and giving his all to help people,” said Ward 9 city councilman Kevin Conwell.

“I wanted to emulate him, the scripture says ‘mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace’ and I marked him literally, I marked every one of his whims, his hand gestures, his singing, his teaching ability… I just wanted to be like him,” said Bishop Iran Whitthorne.

Whitthorne, of Bethel Pentecostal Church of Christ in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood, says Bishop Ellis sanctioned him and left a lasting impression.

“That was to do things at the highest of our ability, to do things with dignity and to do things more than anything to honor God,” he said.

“It’s painful to say the least, but we’re all encouraged, I think he prepared all of us,” said Clinkscale.

“I can’t be any more proud than I am of my own husband, my best friend,” his wife told the crowd at the dedication ceremony.

“I saw pictures of him looking at the sign, but it’s almost as if though, he was looking up for an chariot of angels coming for him,” said Bishop Whitthorne.

According to the church’s website, Bishop Ellis leaves behind a wife of more than 38 years, five children, a foster child, and 24 grandchildren. He had three great-grandchildren, although one is now deceased.

Funeral arrangements for Bishop Ellis are still being organized.

In the meantime, expressions of love should be sent to Sabrina Ellis at Pentecostal Church of Christ located at 10515 Chester Avenue in Cleveland.

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