Rev. Earl Richard Renshaw, 81, of Murphysboro, IL, entered eternal life on July 20, 2019, in Carbondale, IL. He was born Nov. 25, 1937, in Carmi, IL, to Elvis W. and Vonda Marie (Nelson) Renshaw. He married his sweetheart, Sandra Kay Robinson, more than sixty years ago in Carmi on Oct. 25, 1958. Earl was a graduate of Carmi Township High School, McKendree University and earned a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Earl and Sandra enjoyed a lifetime of service to their family and their congregations as a United Methodist pastor in Staten Island, NY, and parishes in Illinois including Goreville, Vergennes, Oraville, Carterville, Murphysboro, Centralia, and Quincy. He was also the Associate Conference Director for the then Southern Illinois Conference in Mount Vernon and District Superintendent in Vandalia.
From camping trips out West with his two girls to exploring the Swiss Alps with his sweetie, Earl loved the thrill of adventure and the fellowship of family time. He wore his grandad and great-grandad hat with pride (and also a corny elf cap at Christmastime to make the kids smile). He will be greatly missed for his infectious smile and his unconditional love. His integrity, dedication, and tireless commitment to serve God will stand as a testimony to his descendants.
Earl immersed himself in the needs of the congregations he served. He truly loved people. Whether life circumstances were pain-wrought or joy-filled, his flock knew that Earl would be sitting by their side sharing the love of our Heavenly Father.
As a gifted administrator he was always seen with his Day Timer by his side. While he was certainly skilled in leading committee and board meetings to success, he enjoyed employing his administrative gift in keeping track of his flock. He was known to have bought greeting cards in bulk to make sure that all of life’s moments were appropriately acknowledged with his infamous handwritten notes.
Even as Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of many life skills, he fought fiercely to hold on to faces and names of those he held dear. Up until the end of this battle, he managed to occasionally break through the fog in his mind with a knowing smile, a tender word to his loved ones or to sing a boisterous hymn. He was always eager to hold the hand of his dear Sandra.
Earl was a longtime member of the Kiwanis club and looked forward each year to helping at the Apple Festival booth. He loved to sing in the church choir and worshipped at the United Methodist Church of Murphysboro, where he served on staff in his retirement years as a pastoral assistant.
Earl is survived by his wife, Sandra; two daughters, Lisa and Doug Cherry of Carbondale, and Beth and Jeff Groh of Oklahoma City; thirteen grandchildren, Nathan Cherry, Kalyn Waller, Lucas Cherry, Christina Cox, Rebekah Conbeer, Jacob Groh, Hannah Erickson, Micah Cherry, Ryan Groh, Matthew Cherry, Ethan Cherry, Lydia Cherry, and Josiah Cherry; sister-in-law, Rev. Sharon Potter; nephew, Jay Potter; niece, Andrea Potter; ten great-grandchildren. Earl also leaves a host of beloved friends and his devoted caregivers at The Landings of Carbondale who have lovingly cared for him and Sandra.
Funeral services will be at 10 am on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at the Murphysboro United Methodist Church; Rev’s. Danny Motta and Scott Grulke will officiate; graveside services will follow at 2pm on Wednesday at Hillcrest Cemetery in Centralia, IL., with Rev. Douglas Cherry officiating. Visitation will be from 5 to 7pm on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at Crawshaw Funeral Home in Murphysboro and from 9 to 10 am on Wednesday at the Murphysboro United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to Preacher’s Aid Society and United Methodist Church of Murphysboro.