James Ellis, the former Johnson City Parks and Recreation director who also served as USA Softball Commissioner for Tennessee, died Tuesday after an extended illness. He was 64.

Ellis was remembered by co-workers and friends for his passion for area youth and the community he served.

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Jeff Birchfield is a sports writer for the Johnson City Press with a lifelong passion for motorsports. The father of two attended ETSU and served in the Tennessee Army National Guard.

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