Lester Elwell

Lester "Les" Elwell

Saturday, January 17th, 1948 - Wednesday, January 27th, 2021
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Lester “Les” Elwell, 73, of St. Joseph, passed away, Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at Spectrum Health Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph.

Private Family Celebration of Life Services were held due to COVID-19 precautions. Donations can be made in memory of Les Elwell to the REACH Foundation, (Reaching Excellence through Academic and Challenging Heights) 3276 Snyder Rd., Benton Harbor, MI 49022. Those wishing to sign Les’ Memory Book online may do so at Arrangements are entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel, St. Joseph.

Les was born January 17, 1948 in Battle Creek, Michigan to Marvin & Priscilla (Austin) Elwell. He graduated from Climax Scotts High School in Climax, Michigan, Class of 1966 and went on to earn his Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees in Social Work from Western Michigan University. On June 7, 1997, Les was married to the former Audrey Morris at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Benton Harbor by Rev. Emery Varrie & Audrey’s brother Rev. Dr. Edward J. Morris, Sr. Les was employed his entire career in social work, beginning at St. Joseph Public Schools, followed by Riverwood Mental Health Center, and retired from Benton Harbor Area Schools. He was a member of the First Congregational Church in St. Joseph and the Twin City Camera Club. Les’ faith was a very important part of his life. He accepted the Lord Jesus Christ in his youth. In his free time, Les enjoyed photography, being outdoors, fly fishing, reading and tracing his families genealogy. He was an advocate for youth and was a devoted husband, father and brother. Les was known for taking photos and making elaborate albums for display and creating lasting memories.

Les is survived by his wife of twenty-four years Audrey; two sons-Josh (Nancy) Elwell & Ben Elwell; his niece Psychelia (Vontoba) Terry; siblings-Michael (Marijo) Elwell, Jonathan (Joellen) Elwell, Christine (Tom) Lyster; his brother-in-law Bret Lantis; and his God-daughter Yavonda M. Day. He was preceded in death by his parents, and a sister Michele Lantis.
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Service Details

Private Family Celebration of Life Services were held due to COVID-19 precautions. Memorial donations in Les' name may be made to READY Foundation.


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3 trees have been planted in memory of Lester "Les" Elwell

Love, Nancy Rojas-Elwell

Posted at 03:18pm
Rest In Peace "Dad/Les" , you will remain in our hearts forever.

3 trees were planted in the memory of Lester Elwell

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Carole Fetke

Posted at 01:13pm
Les was the very definition of a "good man". I had the honor of working with him at BHHS and will never forget his child-centered focus and generosity. Les took graduation photos of so many young people who otherwise would not have had them. He was always kind and calm and I learned so much from him. My prayers for his family in this difficult time.

Carole Fetke

Philip Carter

Posted at 05:57am
Les and I started our careers together in May of 1974 at Riverwood Community Mental Health Center. We'd both just graduated with our Masters degrees, he in social work, myself in psychology. Les worked with kids and I did intakes and emergencies. Joshua had just recently been born. Les and I became good friends. He went on about 18 months later to work at St. Joseph schools and I stayed at Riverwood. Les would always get passionate about whatever he was into at the time. In the time I knew him he was into archery, photography, guns, fly fishing, wood stoves, antique cars, organic gardening, canoes, and mountain bikes. Les got me interested in canoeing and biking, two activities I still do to this day. His interest in helping kids never abetted, giving of himself above and behind what the job required. Les had tremendous energy. He was a good friend. As our paths in life diverged and we saw less of each other, we could still pick up our relationship whenever we encountered each other. I always enjoyed Les and will miss him.

Phil Carter

Josephine Smith

Posted at 12:08pm
Audrey you and your family are in my prayers. I was so sorry to know that Les had left us. But he is in a better place now. Love you and praying for the family. God bless.

Patrick Harvey

Posted at 11:33am
All of us at the Prairie Historical Society are very sorry for your loss. Sharon has a lifetime of memories of her classmate and friend and their K-12 adventures. - Pat & Sharon Harvey

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