Reverend Wendell Harmon Elmendorf, Jr. died Saturday evening, July 15, at his Littleton, Colorado residence with his daughter and her family nearby. Wendell was 91 years old.
Born June 4, 1932 in Schenectady, NY, Wendell was a graduate of Mont Pleasant High School and Williams College. He received a Master’s of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Rev. Elmendorf began his ministry in 1955 in the Troy New York Conference becoming a Full Elder in 1957. He was appointed to six United Methodist churches over the course of his forty years in the ministry: East Harlem Protestant Parish in New York City, St. Luke’s in Albany, NY; Grace in Essex Junction, VT; Eastern Parkway in Niskayuna, NY; Pine Grove in Albany, NY, and Fremont in Gloversville, NY.
Wendell retired in 1995 to Galway, NY, with his wife Mary. He served as an interim minister at Galway United Methodist Church during his retirement. Wendell and Mary traveled to England, Israel, and Egypt during retirement. They often spent March and April near Wendell’s father in Cocoa Beach, FL, went on several cruises, and made frequent trips to Colorado to visit their grandsons, daughter, and son-in-law. Several years after Mary’s passing, Wendell was fortunate to find love and companionship again with Mildred (Millie) Pelrine of Utica, NY. Wendell and Millie eventually relocated to Jensen Beach, Florida. Millie currently resides in California with her daughter and family.
Wendell was preceded in death by his wife of 45 years, Mary Levander Elmendorf; their son Peter Edmond Elmendorf; his parents Wendell and Helen Elmendorf; his brother Carl Elmendorf and his sister Elizabeth (Betty) Quay. His sister Gladys Relyea Moore and his niece Peronelle Schiesswohl passed away less than a week after Wendell. He is survived by his daughter, Martha Elder; son-in-law, Jim Elder; grandsons, Peter and Chris Elder of Littleton, Colorado; his son, Mark Elmendorf of Boston, Massachusetts; his sister Marion Demgen of Connecticut; and many nieces, nephews, and in-laws. Wendell always spoke dearly of his extended Elmendorf and Pelrine family and loved them all very much.
Wendell had a fondness for nature, often taking long walks in the Galway countryside, along the beaches in Florida, and the trails in Chatfield State Park near his daughter’s house. Wendell played tennis until he was 80 years old and watched tennis matches on TV until his passing. He remained active in his Littleton assisted living community, attending Be Fit classes every afternoon and doing laps around the hallways using his walker. He was a dog lover and had several black labs over the years, often helping them break the house rules by sneaking them treats under the table and letting them nap on the bed. Wendell had a good sense of humor, a gift for telling a story, and an amazing smile.
Wendell’s daughter will honor his wishes by laying him to rest at Evergreen Memorial Park in Albany, NY, alongside his wife, son, father, mother, and brother. Wendell’s Celebration of Life, open to the public, will be held on Saturday, October 21, at 1 pm, at the Galway United Methodist Church.