Eldon Lee Gourley of Rolla, Mo., was born to George Carlyle and Veva May Burch Gourley on Sept. 9, 1939, in Solo, Texas County, Mo., and passed from this life on Nov. 2, 2023, at 84 years of age.
After a successful athletic career at Houston High School, Eldon attended Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State University) on a football scholarship. His statewide high school record for Longest Punt stood unbroken for many years. While attending college, Eldon met the love of his life, Alice Joan Igou and the two were married on Dec. 20, 1958, at First Baptist Church of Summersville, Mo. To this union, three daughters were born; Caryl Gourley Cates, Lee Ann Gourley Mentink and Tracy Gourley Phillips.
Eldon transferred to the University of Missouri – Columbia where he earned a degree in Farm Forestry in 1962. He excelled at many jobs throughout his career, working for the U.S. Forestry Service, the Missouri Conservation Commission, Alton Box Board Company, Larry D. Barnes Insurance Agency, and others.
His greatest and most loved vocation, however, was that of Pastor. He and Joan worked tirelessly, giving their lives to love, serve, encourage, help, train, mentor and raise up generations of people in the Christian faith. Eldon was passionate about helping people form a foundation in the Word of God, not only pastoring a local church for 40 years, but also traveling in ministry to support other churches and pastors. He dearly loved to worship the Lord and would often gather his family to play instruments and sing in four-part harmony.
Eldon was known and loved by many for his giant heart, his contagious smile, ample doses of humor and willingness to help anyone who was in need. He never knew a stranger, but treated every person with respect and kindness.
Eldon is preceded in death by his parents; wife Alice Joan Igou Gourley; grandson Philip Mentink; brothers Charles Perry Gourley and Gilbert (Dean) Gourley; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Nelson and Hazel Igou (Gale); brothers-in-law Loren Hale and Don Brown; nine aunts and three uncles.
Eldon is survived by three daughters, Caryl Janine Cates (and husband, Terris) of Rolla; Lee Ann Mentink (and Jack Mentink) of Rolla, Tracy Lynne Phillips of Rolla; nine grandchildren, Stephanie, Nathan, Christopher, Emily and Kelly Cates, Joy Mentink, Grant Phillips and Grace Phillips Neiterbach (and husband Brad); one sister, Georgia Mae Hale of Petaluma, Calif.; one brother, David Eugene Gourley (and wife, Darlene) of Houston, Mo.; sisters-in-law, Kathy Gourley of Oakland, Calif., and Loretta Brown of Fordland, Mo,; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and church family.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, at Tabernacle of Praise church, 10730 County Road 2040 in Rolla. Interment will follow at Thomas-Fairview Cemetery, 12947
Private Dr. 4005, Rolla. A visitation will be held at Tabernacle of Praise church 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8.
Memorial contributions are suggested to donor’s choice in Eldon’s name.
All funeral arrangements under the direction of Null and Son Funeral Home: https://www.nullandsonfuneralhome.com