Elmer R Feezel, 93, passed peacefully in the early morning of Feb. 18, 2021, at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital, Effingham.
Elmer’s story began on April 20, 1927 when he was born to James Jacob Feezel and Lucy (Knaus) Feezel in or near St. Elmo, IL. At the time he was unaware that he would become a member of a large family consisting of four brothers and four sisters. He was a typical farm boy working in the fields and taking care of the farm animals. The family included his grandmother for much of his early life.
He attended school in Brownstown, graduating from Brownstown High School in 1944. In his high school years, he participated in all sports – basketball, baseball, and track – and later became a basketball official.
He was also a typical brother – sometimes sparring with his siblings. The story is told of a tiff he had with his older sister Elizabeth when she chased him with a butcher knife. Another story told by Elmer was that he and some friends wanted to go to a show and asked his brother Claude for a ride in his car. They were turned down and hitchhiked to Vandalia. They found his car outside the theater and crossed wires to start the car, taking it for a “joyride”. Upon exiting the theater, Claude found it missing and called the police. They were waiting when Elmer and his friends returned the car. Claude did not press any charges, but Elmer ended up having to walk home with his friends.
After graduating from high school, he and some friends decided to enlist together. This seventeen year old passed and enlisted in the Navy while his friends were turned down.
Following his service as a radioman in the Navy and “seeing the world” according to him, he returned home in 1946. This was when he met Madelyn. They courted; she accompanying him many times to play baseball. They were married on May 30, 1948, expanding his circle with her nine siblings. To this union were born two sons: Richard L and George A Feezel. In the early years they lived in several different locations around Brownstown until settling in a home on Cherokee Strip where he lived for the remainder of his life.
He went to work for Carter Oil around 1949-50 and retired from Exxon-Mobile (the field had first been sold to Humble Oil, Humble changed its name to Exxon, finally becoming Exxon-Mobile when it merged with Mobile). He was a hard worker, but still had time to farm the family farm with his brother Bill, coach his sons in little league for years, and help his sons raising hogs as a 4-H project. He also enjoyed hunting – mostly quail and rabbits. However once a year he and his sons along with his dad journeyed to Streator, IL to hunt pheasants. Uncle George – his dad’s half-brother – would round up places to hunt on the opening day of pheasant season. All had a marvelous time.
He spoke often that his wife had raised two good kids and was proud of their accomplishments from graduating high school and college, to starting families of their own. He had a special affinity for children and always played with them whether they were his grandkids or nieces and nephews.
Losing his wife in 2002 changed his life. He missed her dearly in the following years. He continued in farming after retirement, but only in a rent/share agreement with those who took over farming his ground. He continued attending many weddings of grandchildren after the loss of Madelyn and was happy for all. The loss of his first grand-daughter was hard – and he spoke of her often later.
The last years of his life were a struggle as he was troubled with several health issues that finally his tired body succumbed to.
Elmer is survived by two sons, Richard (Susan) L Feezel, George (Elizabeth) A Feezel; four grandchildren, Brian (Robyn) Feezel, Christopher (Wendy) Myers, Theresa (Daniel) Thum, Elizebeth (Joseph) Hiott-Rule; three step-grandchildren, Brenda (David) Everett, Gary (Becky) Van Matre, Nick (Amy) Van Matre; 11 great grandchildren; 5 step-great grandchildren; one sister, Georgianna Schultz.
Elmer was preceded in death by his wife, Madelyn; parents, James J Feezel and Lucy Knaus Feezel; brothers, Clyde, Claude, and James William “Bill”; sisters, Elizabeth Johnson, Ina Abendroth, and Geraldine Feezel; and granddaughter, Wendy (Aaron) Sieber.
A public visitation was held on Tuesday, February 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Gieseking Funeral Home, Brownstown with a private family funeral service following. John Heicher will be officiating the service. Burial will be at Fairview Cemetery with military rites by the Brownstown VFW and St. Elmo American Legion. Memorials may be made to Fairview Cemetery or the donor’s choice.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.giesekingfh.com or www.mykeeper.com/Elmer Feezel.