Earl J. McElwee

December 19, 1932 – December 12, 2020

“Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination. The best is yet to come.” Zig Ziglar

Earl McElwee was born December 19, 1932 in a little town near Braymer, Missouri, where he lived on his family’s modest farm, never once leaving his hometown until joining the Air Force on February 8, 1952. Watching the city limit sign pass by from his seat on the train out of town, instant homesickness set in. However, out of discomfort often comes great growth, and that’s exactly what God had in store for Mr. Earl.

One of the greatest gifts in God’s plan was the introduction to the love of his life, sweet Margaret Ann, the deacon’s daughter. Before Earl began his own ministry path, he was asked to attend church as a condition to dating Margaret, one which he jumped at, with excitement (as Earl told the story in his own words) at the thought of some “back of the church, low-light” alone time with his little lady. Once again, God had his own ideas about the path Earl was on; the two were married on August 29, 1954, and Earl was ordained in April 1956, finding both the love of his life and his love of the Lord in that small church.

Earl had a passion for the greater good, and a constant hunger for knowledge, right until the end. Never satisfied with sitting still or leaving things to chance, Earl made things happen by getting involved himself. Throughout his long and active life, among his many accomplishments were: Three Master’s Degrees, Ordained Pastor, William Jewel Professor of Political Science, owner of Brown Floral & Gifts, owner of Westview Garden Mart and Nursery, Mayor of Excelsior Springs, Excelsior Springs Board of Education president, Excelsior Springs Hospital Trustee Board, and the broker owner of Re/Max Area Real Estate, established in 1984. He also built a rocket ship and took all of his grandkids to outer space. That one is not true, of course, but if he wanted to – he could have. As far as Earl’s family is concerned, he hung the moon.

Earl believed strongly in investing in your community and being a positive part of any solution, a trait he has passed down to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He did that through his board positions, volunteering, active participation and investment in the town in which he called home. Beyond that, his main mission in life was to save lives by leading as many as he could to Christ, to help them live their best Christian life.

Earl passed in peace and comfort in his own home surrounded by the love of his children and grandchildren at the age of 87. He is preceded in death by his beautiful wife, Margaret. While we mourn this momentous loss, we also smile thinking of them joining hands once again in their own VIP “low-light” church pew in Heaven, surely the best seat in the house. Earl will be missed by his family, but will live on through them as they follow in his footsteps, serving the Lord, their community, and living their lives working hard to provide for others. The song may have ended, but the melody will linger on for generations.

Earl’s family includes son, Paul M. (Kimberly) McElwee of Excelsior Springs, and their children, Ainsley C. McElwee, Alexandra J. McElwee, Justin T. Dickey, and Aaron S. Dickey; son, James Brent McElwee of Excelsior Springs and his children, Robert Fisher, Carson J. McElwee and Dina D. McElwee; daughter, Kimberly A. (Gary R.) Sanson of Excelsior Springs and their children, Jacob R. (Melissa) Simmons and their daughter Amora L. Simmons, and Brody R. (Lindsay) Sanson and their daughters Kenadee K. Sanson and Leighton J. Sanson; and son, Kent McElwee, Jeffrey Hamilton (Zirlinda) Hamilton and their daughters Lorissa, Laci and Lilli Hamilton.

Services will be held at Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs, Missouri on December 15, 2020. A visitation will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Pisgah Baptist Church. Private funeral service to follow at 2:30 p.m. Burial will be at Hillcrest Cemetery, Excelsior Springs.

Arrangements are under the direction of Bross & Spidle Funeral Home, Excelsior Springs.

Our Sincere Condolences

I am so sorry for your loss. Earl was a wonderful man and he will be missed by many people.
Charlene Brunner (better know as Sam from Hunan)

I was saddened to hear of the passing of your loved one.  I always enjoyed our conversations, whether it be about business or discussing cars.  He will be sadly missed by everyone he touched.
Deryl Goettling

I’m so sorry for your loss.  It’s a great loss to so many.  I had the greatest respect and admiration for your Dad, and your Mom.  They were such special people who touched many lives through their ministry at Siloam Springs Baptist Church.  Thank you for sharing them with us.  My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.
Carol O’Dell

Karen and I were sorry to hear about your loss. We had received notice from family that Earl was in the hospital and Brent was so kind to call with a status report. There are many things I could say about Earl among which has to start with he was married to a kind woman, Margaret. We miss her as well. Earl married Karen and I in Excelsior Springs years ago. I have always been impressed with his energy and knowledge. His trust in God is being rewarded in Heaven.
Mark Seneker