BLOOMINGTON — James E. Whitehurst, 89, of Tampa, Fla., formerly of Bloomington, died Feb. 2, 2014.

He was an Illinois Wesleyan University professor of comparative religions, magician extraordinaire, interdenominational pastor and world traveler, born in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Professional magician since college and never without a magic trick, he attended Northwestern University-Garrett Evangelical Theological School, and received his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh. He was a professor at Illinois Wesleyan University for 30 years, teaching with slide shows, costumes and props from sabbaticals abroad. He then retired to be pastor of Crystal Beach Community Church, and moved to Tampa continuing his ministry, teaching and magic shows.

He is survived by Lois, his wife of 64 years; daughter, Carol, Tacoma, Wash.; son, William, and daughter-in-law, Jaime, Nyack, N.Y.; and granddaughters, Amelia and Annie-Sage.

A memorial service will be at noon March 8, 2014, at John Knox Village, Tampa Fla.