Molly McElwee

Posted 7/27/21

CHARLESTON – Molly Jo McElwee, 80, of Charleston and formerly of Harvel, passed away peacefully Saturday, July 24, at her home in Arbor Rose of Charleston. She retired in 2000 after serving for …

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Molly McElwee

Posted

CHARLESTON – Molly Jo McElwee, 80, of Charleston and formerly of Harvel, passed away peacefully Saturday, July 24, at her home in Arbor Rose of Charleston. She retired in 2000 after serving for many years as the office secretary for the Mattoon Junior High School.

A funeral service, honoring and celebrating her life is noon at Adams Funeral Chapel, with Pastor Ken Hoover officiating. Burial follows at Roselawn Cemetery. Visitation is from 10:30 a.m. until the noon service time Saturday at the funeral home.

Mrs. McElwee was born on June 24, 1941, in Taylorville, and grew up not too far away on the family farm near the small rural town of Harvel.  She was a daughter of the late R. Wayne and Margaret E. Bruntjen Bates. She met Billie Lowell McElwee, who at that time was already entertaining with the ever-popular Bill McElwee Band.  It was the band that brought them together, and they complemented one another beautifully. They were married Oct. 12, 1970, and their love song continued to play for the next 47 years.  She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Aug. 21, 2018. 

The surviving family, who will always cherish their many fond memories, include her children, Terry “Sam” (Teresa) McElwee of Springfield, Diana Yamamoto of Bloomington, Ill., and Tanya (JC) Getche and of Kansas, Ill.; her bonus family of three stepdaughters, Bridgette (Jim) Waldau   of Okeechobee, Fla., Jerilyn McElwee (Matt Albers) of Chantilly Va., and Shawn (Bill) Veach of Punta Gorda, Fla.; 11 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; her sister, Judy Britton of Oblong; several nieces and nephews; her brother-in-law, Dwight McElwee of Charleston; and a sister-in-law, Beth Bates of Duquoin. 

She was preceded in death by a brother, Dr. James A. Bates; and a sister-in-law, Norma McElwee.

Mrs. McElwee was a graduate of Morrisonville High School and moved to Charleston to attend Eastern Illinois University where she earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education and business.  She taught kindergarten in both the Sullivan and Kansas, Illinois school districts and worked in the placement office at Eastern Illinois University

She was a longtime member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Charleston and a member of the Women of the Elks and Women of the Moose Charleston Chapter 1175. Musically gifted, she was a majorette for her high school marching band, and she played the organ and entertained with her husband for more than 50 years. Through the years, many couples danced the night away listening to their music. They also emceed queen pageants for several Illinois county fairs and many newly crowned fair queens took their first walk on the runway accompanied by Mrs. McElwee at the organ. She was an avid reader who enjoyed a quiet afternoon or evening with a good book, but it was her family which brought her immense joy.

Mrs. McElwee never missed an opportunity for a family boat outing on the lake or to attend grandchildren’s events such as baseball games or ballet dance recitals. She will be missed and affectionately remembered by family and friends who loved her dearly.

Memorial donations may be made to the Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation and can be left at the visitation/funeral service or mailed to Adams Funeral Chapel, 2330 Shawnee Drive, Charleston, IL 61920.

Online condolences at www.adamsfuneralchapel.com.