James C. Elder

The Rev. James Cloyd Elder, 80, died Monday (July 13, 2020) at Carle Foundation Hospital’s Hospice Care in Urbana, surrounded by family.

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

He grew up in Villa Grove and graduated from Villa Grove High School in 1958. He earned his master 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 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 Dec. 29, 1962, he married his wife, Diana Knoespel, in Kenosha, Wis.

He served as pastor in the United Methodist Church for 40 years, serving the Sheldons 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 where he lived.

He is survived by his wife, Diana; three sons, James J. (Dawn) of Assumption, Mark D. (Jim) of Alexandria, Va., and Andrew T. (Michelle) of Chenoa; six grandchildren, Danielle (Harley) Cravens of Tower Hill, Mykaela of Pana, Brooke of Assumption and Ashtin, Avery and Aidan of Chenoa; 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 Road, Urbana, is in charge of arrangements. A private memorial service was held for immediate family on Monday, July 20, 2020, at 11 a.m. due to current COVID-19 standards. An open to family and friends burial took place in the Centennial Cemetery (Villa Grove South Cemetery), Villa Grove, at noon. 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. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801.

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