Funeral Mass for Ellis Anthony Palasini, 85, will be held on Friday, January 13, 2017 at St. James Catholic Church in Leland, MS, at 10:00 a.m. He gained his wings on Sunday, January 8, 2017. All arrangements are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home in Leland.
Born on June 27, 1931, in Leland, MS, he was the son of Guido Anthony Palasini and Hattie Ricca Santucci, who migrated to the Mississippi Delta from Ancona, Italy. He followed in his father’s footsteps in his love of land, and farmed with his father, three sons, and grandson for the past 70 years. Forget technology, he could tell you how much seed, chemical, the yield of any field from the records he kept in his Home Insurance day planner that was in the console of every black Chevy truck he drove over the past 60 years.
Ellis also had a passion for stock car racing. He was known as the Black Widow, and his V8 sprint car thrilled fans from Memphis to Mobile, from Jackson to Los Angeles, with over 20 years of dirt track excitement. The name Palasini is well-known when it comes to dirt track racing in the South. He often spoke of Ivil Cooper, Hooker Hood, Bobby and Davey Allison, and the thrills they provided to fans of all ages.
He broke several racing records and was the first driver from Mississippi to earn his USAC license. He competed in three divisions: sprints, midgets, and super-modified. Ellis is honored in the Mobile, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, and his racing legacy continues with his three sons and grandson.
While farming and racing were a major part of his life, his top priority and first love was his family. Regardless of the activity, whether it was farming, racing, hunting, fishing, softball, playing Rook, or just Sunday dinner, the whole family was included. In this day and age, that is not very common, but anyone who knew him, knew he was about tradition and togetherness, not keeping up with the times.
He is survived by his wife, Norma Kimbrell Palasini; his seven children: Butch Palasini (Linda), Mike Palasini, Duke Palasini (Robyn), Kat Palasini, Donna Shamoun, Ricca Palasini, and Dina Pickell (Glenn), all from Leland; 17 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren, and a host of aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, friends and family.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, January 12 at St. James Catholic Church from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., followed by the Rosary. Father Alphonse Arulanandu and Father Charles Bucciantini will be officiating all services. Memorial donations can be made to St. James Catholic Church, 312 E. Third Street, Leland, MS 38756, or to Alzheimer’s Mississippi, 855 South Pear Orchard Rd, Suite 501, Ridgeland, MS 39157.