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BLUE MOUND - Richard Earl Denmark, Blue Mound, went to be with Jesus on Sunday (Feb. 5, 2006) at Decatur Memorial Hospital.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Zion Chapel UMC, Boody. A service of celebration of his life will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Zion Chapel United Methodist Church, Boody. Burial will follow in Zion Chapel Cemetery, Boody, with military rites at the gravesite. Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, is in charge of arrangements.

He was born Aug. 27, 1924, in Topeka, Kan., a son of Ella Marie and Theo Denmark. Richard joined the US Navy at the age of 17, immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served as a gunners' mate on a LST 339 for four years. In recent years, he enjoyed attending many LST reunions with his Navy buddies. He attended reunions in Mississippi, Texas, Las Vegas, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana and Illinois. He received a Purple Heart and a medal for outstanding heroism of action.

Upon his discharge from the Navy, he moved to Peoria and received his GED. He married Evelyn Droll on June 1, 1942, in Peoria. He worked as head accountant for Adams Furniture Store for many years until he decided to return to school. Richard graduated from Bradley University in Peoria with a bachelor of arts in education in 1962. He graduated from Garrett Seminary, Evanston, with a master's degree in theology in 1968. He was then ordained by the Central Illinois Great Rivers District of the United Methodist Church.

He served as a Methodist minister for more than 30 years at Fairview; Buda-Sheffield; Minonk-Dana-Rutland First United Methodist Church, Prairie Center and Birkbeck in Clinton, Wesley United Methodist Church, Springfield; Zion Chapel, Boody; and Wesley United Methodist Church, Decatur. He retired with his wife to the Blue Mound area in 1990 and began attending Zion Chapel United Methodist Chruch in Boody.

Richard is survived by his wife of 59 years, Evelyn; his three daughters, Paula (David) Mills, Clinton; Dee Denmark, St. Joseph; and Connie Denmark, Blue Mound. Also by his eight grandchildren, Marc Mills (Jean Ann), Philo; Carey Mills Clendenon, Indianapolis, Ind.; Joshua (Mindy) Hale, St. Joseph; Matthew Hale, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Rachel (Michael Collins) Denmark, Charleston; Jon Mills, Indianapolis, Ind.; Noah Hale, Urbana; and Abby Denmark, Blue Mound. He is also survived by five great-grandchildren, Colton and Conner Hale, St. Joseph; Lauren and Ethan Mills, Philo; and Rowan Denmark-Collins, Charleston.

Richard was an accomplished woodworker and leaves behind many beautiful projects he made for his family and friends. He could build almost anything and imparted that love of working with his hands to several of his grandsons. He was well known for being a minister with a Navy tattoo on his arm. He enjoyed gardening, traveling, woodworking, crossword puzzles, playing pinochle with his friends ( yes, he was very competitive), reading mystery novels and being a lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.

He served the Lord for over 30 years and his strong faith was an inspiration for everyone whose life he touched. His big smile will be deeply missed by many, many friends. He was a very loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather and will be missed by all.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother.

Richard's family wishes to thank the nurses and staff on the fourth floor of Decatur Memorial Hospital and all the staff at McKinley Court for all the compassionate, loving care he received.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to either Zion Chapel United Methodist Church, Boody, or to the United Methodist Church Preachers Aid Society.

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