James C. Elder


James Cloyd Elder, 80, died Monday, July 13, 2020 at Carle Foundation Hospital's Hospice Care in Urbana, IL surrounded by family.

Born June 5, 1940, in Urbana, IL, he was the son of the late Obel and Daisy (Cloyd) Elder.

He grew up in Villa Grove, IL, and graduated from Villa Grove High School in 1958. He earned his Master's of Science Degree in Education from Eastern Illinois University. He then went on to receive his Master of Divinity at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois and was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church. His final degree came with his earning a Master of Extension Education from the University of Illinois in 1989.

On December 29, 1962, he married his wife, Diana Knoespel in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

He served as pastor in the United Methodist Church for 40 years serving the Sheldon's Grove, Gifford/Henning, Gibson City/Elliott, Astoria, Oneida, Blue Mound, Urbana Wesley, Forrest, and Arthur United Methodist Churches.

He was a member of the Illinois Masonic Lodge, and was often active in the Rotary Clubs in the various communities he lived.

He is survived by his wife, Diana, three sons, James J. (Dawn) of Assumption, IL, Mark D. (Jim) of Alexandria, VA, and Andrew T. (Michelle) of Chenoa, IL, six grandchildren, Danielle (Harley) Cravens of Tower Hill, IL, Mykaela of Pana, IL, and Brooke, Assumption, IL, Ashtin, Avery, and Aidan of Chenoa, IL, and three great grandchildren, Isabella, Jacob, and Sawyer Cravens.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Obel and Daisy Elder, his brother, Joe, and a granddaughter Sarah Michelle.

He loved to research his ancestry, liked to read, was quite the history buff, and was a collector of coins. Pastor Jim, as he was well known by many, was renowned for his amazing hugs and for his willingness to socialize with anyone he came across. He touched many lives during his ministry and was loved by many, including his family and many close friends.

Renner-Wikoff Chapel & Crematory, 1900 S. Philo Rd., Urbana is in charge of arrangements. A private memorial service will be held for immediate family on Monday, July 20, 2020 at 11am due to current COVID standards. An open to family and friends burial will take place in the Centennial Cemetery (Villa Grove South Cemetery), Villa Grove, Illinois at 12pm. The family is planning a “Celebration of Life” Service at a later date.

Gifts, designated in memory of Rev. Jim Elder, can be made either to: First United Methodist Church, 210 W. Church St., Champaign, IL 61820; or WILL TV and Radio, Campbell Hall for Public Telecommunications, 300 N. Goodwill, Urbana, IL 61801.

Condolences may be offered a www.renner-wikoffchapel.com