Christian 03
Official Obituary of

Robert Eugene Elder

May 19, 1937 ~ March 21, 2024 (age 86) 86 Years Old

Robert Elder Obituary

Pastor Robert E. Elder of Pellston, Michigan passed away at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital on March 21, 2024, surrounded by his loving wife and family. Robert or "Bob" as he was commonly known was born on May 19, 1937, to Paul Elder and Mary Juanita Gerhart Elder in Elkhart, Indiana. On December 20, 1976, he married Sonya Arneson Birch in Petoskey, MI. Bob graduated from Elkhart High School in 1955 and went on to attend Butler University, Garret Evangelical Theological Seminary, and graduated from North Central Michigan College with honors in Petoskey, MI.

Bob was employed with Miles Laboratories for eighteen years in office management and Commonwealth Associates of Jackson, MI for six years as an administrative services director and security officer. He managed two gas/convenience stores in Petoskey and Charlevoix for sixteen years for Midstates Petroleum and Woodland Oil. Bob was a pastor at United Methodist churches in Indian River and Pellston from 1972-1976 and at Emmanuel Evangelical Church of Petoskey from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. He was still serving and teaching at EEC until his passing. Pastor Elder provided numerous counseling services and wrote a multitude of bible studies. He served on the church board, as a church elder, and in many other ways. He touched countless lives with his caring compassionate spiritual leadership. Pastor Bob loved his family and friends, and he enjoyed all the great opportunities to teach God's word. Many things that he loved to do became challenging to him in his later years as he struggled with living with Parkinson's disease. 

He was preceded in death by his father Paul Elder and his wife Maxine Elder; his mother Mary Juanita Gerhart Elder Maas and her husband Harold Maas; his sister Judith Rough Hawkins; and his brother-in-law Bob Eddington.

He is survived by his wife, Sonya; his children Christina (David) Faiella of Bakersfield, California, Cathy (Doug) Sheridan of Redford, MI, Robert Jr. (Heidi) Elder of Franklin, Tennessee; step-children Tonya Birch of Pellston, MI, Lucia (Bill) Hopkins of Levering, MI, Erik (Valerie) Birch of Pellston, MI; twenty-five grandchildren; twenty-six great grandchildren; his brothers Mike (Jean) Elder of The Villages, Florida, Gordon (Alice) Elder of Palm Springs, CA, and Larry (Ruth) Elder of Troy, Alabama; sisters Sue Eddington of Fort Wayne, IN and Linda (Keith) Williamson of Leesburg, Georgia; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday March 30, 2024, with a visitation one hour prior. A luncheon will follow at the Petoskey Snowmobile and ORV Club at 4172 Evergreen Trail, Petoskey, MI 49770.

The family requests that contributions made in his honor please be sent to the Emmanuel Evangelical Church of Petoskey at 620 Emmet St, Petoskey, MI 49770.

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March 30, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Stone Funeral Home
2098 East Mitchell Road
Petoskey, MI 49770

Memorial Service
March 30, 2024

11:00 AM
Stone Funeral Home
2098 East Mitchell Road
Petoskey, MI 49770


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