Mr. Ames Lee Justis of Onancock

May 23, 2022

Ames Lee Justis, age 93, passed away at his home in Onancock, Virginia on May 14, 2022. He is survived by his daughter, Janet Lee Justis, and his brother, Kenneth “Kenny” Justis (Dianne) also of Onancock. In addition, Ames is survived by several generations of loving in-laws, nieces and nephews from the Custis – Justis families. The family offers a special thank you to Ames’ nephew, Stanley “Stan” Justis, Jr. (Linda) for helping Ames return to his beloved Parksley to rest in peace alongside his paternal grandparents, Andrew R. and Lelia X. Justis; and two brothers, Stanley N. Justis, Sr. and Vance I. Justis.

Ames was predeceased by his wife of 64 years Norma Custis Justis affectionately known as “Tea Baby.” There are a few versions of how Norma’s nickname happened but one is that her older sister was trying to say “tiny baby” and it came out as “Tea Baby.” Whatever the story the name stuck. Like many Eastern Shore couples Ames met Norma at Forks Grill where she worked as a carhop. The story goes that she “accidentally” spilled hot chocolate on him one night, but that’s funny as Norma rarely spilled anything.

In addition, Ames was predeceased by his parents, Thomas Andrew and Carvella (Killmon) Justis formerly of Big Road; four brothers: Stewart F. Justis formerly of Atlantic, VA;  Garmon T. Justis formerly of Parksley, VA;  Stanley N. Justis, Sr. formerly of the Shore; Vance I. Justis formerly of Big Road, VA and a sister, Viola (Justis) Sammons formerly of Smyrna, Delaware. Ames was 10 years old when his brother Vance passed away at age 4. It was a heartbreak that made Ames extremely protective of everyone he loved.

Ames held several jobs on the Eastern Shore. But his favorite was his work as an Able Bodied Seaman on the S.S. Pocahontas of the Virginia Ferry Corporation. Ames regaled everyone with his stories of ferry crossings from Kiptopeke to Little Creek, Virginia. There were some tall tales about the legendary “midnight cruises” complete with music and dancing. Day trips were mainly carrying cars and passengers.

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Ames was also employed for many years as a meat cutter for Acme Super Markets mostly in Onancock, but occasionally covering in Pocomoke, Snow Hill and Princess Anne, Maryland. He also served as a supervisor in the Packing Department of Perdue Foods in Accomac, Virginia. Ames eventually retired as a Weigh-Party Technician with the Virginia Department of Transportation in New Church, Virginia.

Ames never wanted to leave the Eastern Shore, but he did so in the early 1950’s serving as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. He was stationed in Germany as part of a special “peace-keeping” force. When he returned home he told his late brother, Stanley, that he wanted a car. There were lots of shortages then, but Stanley was a talented salesman and pretty soon Ames got his first car which began a long love affair with Fords.

Ames loved all of Mother Nature’s miraculous creations but especially enjoyed the arrival of bunnies, fawn and goslings in spring. He was happiest when he was out of doors. A duck hunter and fisherman, Ames loved nothing better than a day on the water in search of a red drum or some rockfish. His neighbors loved his hobby too because Ames was always very generous in sharing his catch. 

A graveside service will be held at the Liberty Cemetery in Parksley on Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. Following the service, family and friends will gather at Janet’s Café and General Store in Onancock to share stories and Ames’ favorite pastime eating.

Ames’ daughter, Janet, is participating in the Eastern Shore’s End Alzheimer’s Walk on October 8, 2022. Donations in Ames’ memory may be made on the website: or visit and search for Janet Justis on the ES Friends Team. Donations can also be mailed to Alzheimer’s Association, Attn: ESVA Walk (memo: Walker, Janet Justis), P.O. Box 9400, McLean, VA 22102.

Memory tributes  may be shared with the family at

Arrangements by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.


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