On the evening of April 10, 2021 the Lord gave the biggest pair of wings to one of the greatest men he put on earth. Jack was certainly one in a million and known by so many people. He was known as dad, gramps, Uncle Jack, coach, “old man”, the Great Eli and even the “Ding-a-Ling” man when he had his own ice cream truck.
A funeral service for Jack will be held Friday, April 16, at St. Columba Church, at 12:30 pm. A visitation will be held from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm prior to the services at the church. Burial will be in St. Columba Cemetery.
Jack was born to John and Mary (Kolesar) Elias on August 19, 1929 in Streator, Illinois. He attended St. Stephens Grade School and Streator High School.
Jack battled hard to the end. He is now celebrating with the love of his life Beverly. Jack saw Beverly at Owens Glass Company and told his buddy, “That’s the girl that I’m going to marry”. Jack and Beverly married at St. Columba Church on September 25, 1948. Beverly departed on September 21, 2003 after 50 years of marriage. Together they raised their family in Ottawa and were always known for their willingness to help anyone that needed it.
Jack served in the United States Navy from 1947 to 1954. He retired from LOF Glass Company in 1990 after 35 years of service. Jack and Beverly retired to Indio, California where they lived and enjoyed for 20 years. Jack returned to Ottawa in 2008 spending the rest of his time with his children and family.
Jack touched the lives of so many people and especially the young athletes in the area. He coached Ottawa Little League on both the North and South sides of Ottawa, Connie Mack (Legion Ball), Post 33 and put everything in motion to obtain lights at the Masinelli ball field. Jack put his life into baseball and there wasn’t a kid on the ball field he wouldn’t help. Coach Eli always had the baseball rule book in his back pocket. He was known to tell the parents of his players “I don’t run your home, you don’t run my ball team”, “no swimming” on game day and if his players didn’t fall asleep at the dinner table, they didn’t practice hard enough. He earned the respect of the players and families alike.
Jack is survived by his daughters, Sherry (Paul) Maurice of Oglesby, Jackie (Bob) Timm of Ottawa, sons David (Paula) Elias of Annawan, Tom (Anna) Elias of California, Tim (Judy) Elias of Florida and Jamie (Susan) Elias of St. Louis, brother, Robert Elias of Streator, Sisters in Law, Ann Elias of Streator, Dorothy Guerrero of Ottawa, Florence Katrein of Florida and Brother in Law, Thomas (Vicki) Katrein of Ottawa. Jack is also survived by many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Jack was proceeded in death by his parents; his sisters, Lucille, Eva, Betty, Annette, Marlene and Yvonne; brothers Louis and Donald; grandson Jeremy Maurice, granddaughter Rosa Elias and twin great-great granddaughters and everyone’s favorite “Uncle” Arkie.
Pallbearers will be Tim Elias, Jamie Elias, Aaron Elias, Jeff Timm, Jay Timm, and Douglas Guerrero. Honorary Pallbearers will be Paul Maurice and Derek Guerrero.
Memorials may be directed to the donor’s choice or the family.
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