The Obit For Eldon Atwood

Eldon R. Atwood

Published in the Quincy Herald-Whig from 7/15/2009 - 7/17/2009

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- Eldon R. Atwood, 89, died Tuesday (July 14, 2009) in Liberty Village in Pittsfield. Eldon was born Oct. 24, 1919, to Ray and Alice Sigler Atwood in Pittsfield.

He married Alberta "Bertie" Bullard in Jefferson City, Mo., in a double wedding with his sister Martha and Jay Thomas on Oct. 18, 1941. Eldon graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1937.

He is a member of the Sports Hall of Fame at Western Illinois University, where he lettered in four sports all four years. He was the Outstanding Athlete of the Year at Western Illinois University in 1940-41. Eldon also earned a master's degree at WIU and did work on his doctorate one summer at the University of Illinois.

Eldon played for the St. Louis Cardinal baseball farm team in Springfield. He played for the Macomb baseball team and the Griggsville Night Hawks for several years.

He was a lifelong member of the First Christian Church of Pittsfield and was awarded the Elder Emeritus Award some time ago. He served the First Christian Church as board chairman, trustee, deacon, elder, Sunday school superintendent, teacher of the Ward S. Humphrey class and secretary of the Sunday school.

Eldon was a supporter and leader in the Saukee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America since 1931. He and his son, Elmer Ray, were both Eagle Scouts, and Eldon was the recipient of the Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver Award, and a member of Order of the Arrow. He served as president of the Saukee Area Council, as well. He served for 27 years as the secretary of the Old Orchard Country Club.

He greatly enjoyed the game of golf and had two holes-in-one at the OOCC. Eldon was a World War II Army combat veteran and was also the European Theater Most Valuable Player in basketball. He was a teacher/coach at Owaneco, a teacher/coach/principal at Chambersburg and a teacher/coach/principal at Milton. Eldon was elected Pike County Superintendent of Schools, later designated regional superintendent, for a total of 27 years. His loyal secretary for 25 years was his wife, Bertie. Eldon retired after 38 years in education. He served for 11 years as the executive secretary of the Valley of Quincy Scottish Rite Bodies with an office in the Masonic Temple in Quincy. He was past master of the Pittsfield Masonic Lodge 790; past thrice illustrious master of Jacksonville Council; past high priest of Union Chapter 10, Pittsfield; past commander of Ascalon Commandery, Pittsfield; a member of Knight York Cross of Honor; a member of Ansar Shrine Temple of Springfield; a 33rd degree Mason; a member of Red Cross of Constantine; area deputy grand master of Grand Lodge of Illinois; and grand lecturer. He was in the Masons for 50-plus years. Eldon had 48 years of perfect attendance as a Rotarian in the Pittsfield Rotary Club and was a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow award. He was a member of the American Legion Post 152. Eldon was an active member of the Pike County Chapter of the American Cancer Society, serving as county chairman, county Crusade chairman and a member of the local cancer board. He was a past president of the Pittsfield High School PTA and past president of Region III County Superintendents of Schools. He was the director of the civil defense organization in Pike County for several years. Eldon was an avid hunter and fisherman. He and Bertie were active square dancers, and Eldon loved calling square dances. For the past eight years, Eldon and Bertie traveled between Long Beach, Calif., and Pittsfield. While in California, they stayed with Bertie's sister, Ann O'Brien. Eldon especially loved walking on the beaches of southern California, and collecting seashells and sand dollars. He had an extensive collection of shells and also collected 300-plus different caps or hats from all over the world. Eldon and Bertie have two wonderful children, a daughter, Carole Jane Ellis (David) of Pittsfield and a son, Elmer Ray "Butch" Atwood of Greenville. They are the proud grandparents of five grandsons, five great-grandsons, five great-granddaughters, three great-great-grandsons and one great-great-granddaughter. Other survivors include his sisters, Wilma Crosson of Wheatland, Iowa, and Martha Thomas of Louisiana, Mo. He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Leroy Paul; and two sisters, Naomi Curfman and Dale Webel. SERVICES: 11 a.m. Friday in Pittsfield First Christian Church, with Michael TenEyck conducting. Burial will be in West Cemetery in Pittsfield. Military rites at the grave site will be conducted by Pittsfield American Legion Post 152. VISITATION: 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the Niebur Funeral Home, Pittsfield. Masonic services will be at 7 p.m. Thursday by the Pittsfield Lodge 790 AF&AM. MEMORIALS: In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Christian Church in Pittsfield, the Pittsfield Masonic Lodge 790 AF&AM Scholarship Fund, Shriners Hospital for Children or the Saukee Area Council of Boy Scouts of America. ARRANGEMENTS: Niebur Funeral Home, Pittsfield. Condolences may be expressed at www.whig.com.