Rev. James Lorray Elsner, age 71, entered eternity with the Lord on January, 11, 2023 at Parkview Noble Hospital, Kendallville. Jim was born in Elgin, Illinois on November 8, 1951 to the late Lorray Raymond Elsner and Ruth Vera (Nesler) Elsner.
He grew up in Dundee, Illinois and graduated from Dundee High School in 1969. He graduated from Elgin Community College and received a bachelor’s degree from Concordia Teachers College, Seward, Nebraska. He earned a Master of Education degree from Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio and a Master of Arts in Religion degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. He married Elaine Margaret Schroeder on November 30, 1974 at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Fort Wayne.
Serving our Lord through the congregations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Pastor James Elsner was in full-time ministry for 45 years (1973-2018). He began his ministry as a Lutheran elementary school Teacher serving congregations in Ohio, Illinois, and California (1973-1983). Concurrent with his teaching duties, he also served as youth minister and school principal. From 1983-1999, he served as Christian education director and youth minister at congregations in Colorado, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
Pastor Jim served his pastoral ministry at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Stroh (Hudson), Indiana, from 1999 through 2018 as Field Worker, Vicar, and Pastor of the congregation. He retired from full-time ministry in 2018. In 2021, Pastor Elsner began serving part-time as Associate Pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, Fremont.
Pastor Jim has also served the church-at-large through district and synodical level youth ministry committees. He also has served as Circuit Counselor for the Indiana Circuit of the English District-LCMS and as Pastoral Advisor for the Kendallville Zone of the LWML-Indiana District.
Pastor Jim has been part of the ministry of Lutheran Ministries Media (LMM) as an on-air preacher for Worship Anew / Worship for Shut-Ins (2008-2018). And he has been a voice and face for Moments of Comfort (LMM’s online weekly devotional broadcast) since it began in 2019.
Wife, Elaine Elsner of Auburn.
Son, Steve and Emma Elsner of Phoenix, Arizona.
Sister, Anita and Jeffrey Miller of Hutchinson, Minnesota.
Sister, Janet and John Bonkoski of Dundee, Illinois.
Brother, Ronald and LuAnn Elsner of Coon Rapids, Minnesota.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, January 17, 2023 from 3:00 – 7:00 PM at Hite Funeral Home, 403 South Main Street, Kendallville, Indiana.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 11:00 AM at Peace Lutheran Church, State Road 120, Fremont, Indiana. There will be visitation at 10:00 AM prior to the service.
Burial will follow at Concordia Lutheran Cemetery, Anthony Blvd and Maumee Avenue, Fort Wayne.
Memorial donations may be made to a Lutheran Church of choice or Worship Anew.