The Rev. Chester Elton Sheldon, Minneapolis, Minn., formerly of Bloomington, passed away July 29, 2015, in Crystal, Minn.
The Rev. Sheldon was born to Elton Addison Sheldon and Stella Bollman Sheldon on June 30, 1918, in Rock Island. He was a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and Garrett Theological Seminary. He was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from MacMurray College in 1977.
He married Helen McNicol of Dixon 74 years ago, on Aug. 17, 1941. She preceded him in death Feb. 16, 2015, in Crystal, Minn.
The couple had three sons, Dr. Roger E. Sheldon, formerly of Oklahoma City, currently of Minneapolis; Gordon W. Sheldon, Sarasota, Fla.; and Mark L. Sheldon, Bloomington, and Hong Kong, China. They had four grandchildren, Christopher (Pam) Sheldon, Holden, Mass.; Dr. Rebecca (Omar) Ansari, Minneapolis; Jessica (Michael) Brooks, Orlando; and Garth Sheldon-Coulson, Westport, Conn. Seven great-grandchildren also survive: Kieran and Chelsea Sheldon; Max, Calvin, Spencer and Leo Ansari; and Grayson Brooks.
He and his wife were lifelong residents of Central Illinois, serving United Methodist churches in La Harpe, Cooksville, Verona, Wellington, Sibley-Strawn, Milford, Dwight, Springfield, Monticello and Pana. The Rev. Sheldon was also district superintendent of the Springfield District. Their final church appointment was in Bloomington as executive director of the Conference Council on Ministries. They retired in 1984 and continued to live in Bloomington. They knew and helped a broad cross-section of the people of Central Illinois over a career of service spanning more than 50 years. Together they were the recipients of the Illinois Wesleyan Alumni Loyalty Award for 2009. During his long ministerial career, the Rev. Sheldon served on the board of trustees of Evenglow Lodge, Pontiac; Habitat for Humanity of McLean County; and Illinois Wesleyan University.
Chet Sheldon lived a good, long, decent and loving life, guided by faith and service. He was a good son, sibling, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, pastor, counselor, teacher, mentor and friend. He was the rock, the moral center, the steadfast temperament of his entire family — a man of God whom his family, friends and colleagues always trusted and respected and loved. We were greatly blessed by his life — a long life, well lived. He shall be greatly missed.
Memorial gifts in the Rev. Sheldon’s honor may be made to Illinois Wesleyan University (for student scholarships); Garrett Theological Seminary (for student scholarships); Evenglow Lodge, Pontiac; or The Preachers’ Aid Society, Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be at 3 p.m. Oct. 11 in the Evelyn Chapel at Illinois Wesleyan University, 1301 N. Park St., Bloomington, with the Rev. Howard Daughenbaugh, the Rev. James Bortell, and IWU Chaplain Rev. Elyse Nelson Winger officiating.