Butch and Diane Ellis were childhood sweethearts

Published 4:50 pm Monday, December 3, 2012

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

This week’s power couple is composed of two lifelong Shelby County natives, Butch and Diane Ellis.

Diane and Butch Ellis. (Contributed)

They have been sweethearts since she was in the eighth grade and he was in the ninth. According to Diane, they dated “forever,” and that is close to accurate since they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in September and are still “best friends.”

After high school Butch went to Auburn University, but the next year, when Diane graduated and went to the University of Montevallo, he followed her there. They graduated and were married, then moved to Tuscaloosa for Butch to attend law school.

Originally, Diane’s parents were not fond of Butch because he had side burns, pushed back hair and cigarettes rolled up in his shirt sleeve when he came to visit her on his motorcycle. They were more unimpressed when he took a sharp turn out of the driveway to impress Diane and ended up in the ditch.

It didn’t take long for that Ellis charm to rub off on Diane’s parents, and they began, like so many of us, to believe that Butch could do no wrong.

What makes for a successful marriage according to Diane is “patience, understanding and sharing.” They were married for years before they went to sleep mad at one another, and their motto soon became “fix it before you go to sleep.”

“Butch would say that good biscuits make for a good marriage, because he makes them,” Diane joked.

Diane is a member of the Culture Club, the Shelby County Arts Council and sings in the Lester’s Chapel Methodist Church. Butch is a member of the Bar Association, a former state senator and is the county attorney. Together, their family participates in Relay for Life and fundraises for the Leukemia Society in memory of their good friend, Scott Armstrong.

Butch and Diane enjoy fishing and spending time at their second home in Alaska.

They have three children: Kelly Davis, Christy Brasher and son, Corley. Add to that six grandchildren and you have the Ellis family who lives on the Ellis Farm in Columbiana.


Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident. You can reach her at bethchapman@bellsouth.net.