A Celebration of Life service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Tuscola United Methodist Church, 901 N. Prairie St., Tuscola, with the Rev. Patty Johansen and the Rev. Kenneth Roedder officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Please come prepared to share your favorite story, as we celebrate Earl's life. Military rites will be accorded.
Mr. Pendergrass was born July 3, 1925, in Boston, Ky., son of the late John L. and Maude O. Coates Pendergrass. His siblings include a brother, the late Harold O. Pendergrass, and sister, the late Evelyn P. Ferguson.
He married Jean Smith on June 19, 1948, in Louisville, Ky. She preceded him in death on July 31, 2006.
Earl is survived by a son, John L. Pendergrass II, and wife, Mitzi, of Louisville, Ky.; and daughter, Nancy Pendergrass Alex of Anchor Point, Alaska. Survivors also include two grandchildren, Jack and Morgan Pendergrass.
Earl joined the United States Army Air Corps when he was 17 years old during World War II, but had to finish high school before he could serve. During the war, he was an aerial gunner serving in Italy with the 376th Heavy Bomb Group, B-24 Liberators. After his military service, he attended and graduated from the University of Louisville.
Earl retired as vice president of First National Bank, now First Mid-Illinois Bank, in Tuscola. He was a past president of the Tuscola Chamber of Commerce (1978) and served on the board of directors for the East Central Illinois Development Corporation.
He was a member of the Tuscola United Methodist Church, Tuscola Kiwanis Club and Tuscola Masonic Lodge #332 AF&AM. Earl also served as treasurer of the American Heart Association for 20 years. In 1976, he was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel.
He was well-known in the community for his expert pancake flipping while camping and for always having a nicely trimmed lawn.
He had a particular fondness for golf - proud to have shot his age. Illini sports were a top priority for many years, even ushering at the Assembly Hall for basketball games. To quote one of his golf buddies, "Earl was the only politician who never ran for office, enjoyed visiting with folks and shaking everyone's hand everywhere he went." He had a smile for everyone.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to Carle Hospice, 206 W. Anthony Drive, Champaign, IL 61822, Central Illinois Honor Flight, 2603 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign, IL 61821 or the Tuscola United Methodist Church Building Fund, 901 N. Prairie St., Tuscola, IL 61953.
Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 705 S. Main St., Tuscola, is handling arrangements.