November 11, 2023, Byron Elder finished his course in this life and entered into the joy of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He fought a good fight against acute myeloid leukemia (ALM) to his last breath and kept the faith, knowing his life and his death were in God’s hands. Byron never lost his smile, which communicated his love and joy to those he shared his life with.
Byron’s life began December 3, 1947 in St. Joseph, MO, born to his father, Robert Ian Elder and mother, Audrey Peabody Elder (Boersting). He lived with his parents and four younger brothers in Doniphan County, KS until 1967.
Byron attended his elementary school years in a one-room schoolhouse where he met the love of his life, Marcia Carlson, in the third grade and they have been friends for over 68 years. He attended Troy High School, Troy, KS where he played football, basketball, ran track, and was a member of FFA, Key Club and an energetic baritone for local choirs. Byron went on to attend college at Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph, MO.
As a little child, Byron found his true passion of sharing the Word of God as he preached to the chickens on the family’s farm. Byron spent his life sharing the Gospel and his love for Christ Jesus, Our Lord. Byron was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Bendena, KS where his love for the Body of Christ began. He was an active member of St. John’s youth group and choir. This membership was the beginning of a lifelong investment to a Christ centered, Bible believing church. His most current church home was Community Church of Stevens Point, WI. After being involved with several churches in the area over the years, he has enjoyed many dear Christian friends from each place. People were drawn to Byron because of his light, the Light of Jesus. Encouraging each person, giving a pat on the back, sharing his joy for life with a smile was his mission in life!
He and Marcia were married June 4, 1967 and moved to St. Joseph, MO where they soon began their ever-growing family. They moved to Urbana, IL in 1969 to pursue education and lived there until their return to Kansas in 1972 where Byron began his 30-plus year career in railroading. While still railroading, he was called to pastor several small congregations in rural Kansas. He rode the rails all week and preached the Gospel each Sunday until the floods of ’93 closed the churches he was shepherding.
In the summer of 1994 Byron transplanted his family to Stevens Point, WI to work for the Wisconsin Central/Canadian National railroads as a conductor, eventually retiring in 2011. Working on the railroad was not only a job for Byron; it was a delight. He loved his job and his fellow workers. Many of the men he worked with became good friends with whom he stayed in touch over the years.
After retirement he and Marcia traveled our beautiful country together, visiting family and friends. They enjoyed years of good health and time together until 2019 when he was diagnosed with preleukemia, followed by his second battle with AML.
Byron loved his family! Spending time with his adult children and their children was the delight of his retirement years.
Byron is survived by his wife, Marcia; his children, Sarah (Gary) Perman, Northglenn, CO; Kate (Greg) Vogel; Anne (Phil) Kruthoff; Abigail Elder, all of Stevens Point, WI.; Israel (Nicole) Elder, Leavenworth, KS; Brian Walker, Wathena, KS; Joshua (Jessica) Elder, Phoenix, AZ; and Megan (Richard “Boomer”) Karch, Wisconsin Rapids, WI; eighteen grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He is further survived by his siblings, John Gordon Elder, Orcutt, CA; Paul Elder, Eudora, KS; and David Elder, St. Louis, MO; two brothers-in-law, Dennis Carlson, St. Joseph, MO; and Gordon Carlson, Parkville, MO; and many nieces and nephews.
Byron was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Audrey; his brother, Mark Ian Elder (died 1964); a grandson, Raiden Elder (son of Abigail, died 2014); and a granddaughter, Madelynn Vogel (daughter of Kate and Greg Vogel, died 2014).
There will be a service at Shuda Funeral Chapel, 3200 Stanley Street , Stevens Point on Saturday, November 18, 2023. Visitation begins at 9:00 a.m. with a service at 11:00 a.m., burial at 12:00 p.m. at Guardian Angel Cemetery followed by a luncheon at Community Church, 3516 Stanley Street, Stevens Point.
For those who are unable to attend in person, the service will be live streamed. A link will be available Saturday morning, by visiting www.shudafuneral.com and selecting Byron’s obituary.
Shuda Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the family. Online condolences may be left by visiting www.shudafuneral.com.