John Elliott ’65

The Rev. John D. Elliott Jr. (Jack), former pastor of Greenville Community Church and longtime resident of Edgemont, passed away on June 30. He was 80 years old. His wife Ruth, of 58 years, children and grandchildren were by his side.

Born on April 20, 1941, in Detroit Michigan, to John D. Elliott Sr. and Judith Penoyar, he had an international childhood spending summers in Mexico with his mother, and graduated from high school in Kodaikanal, India, where his father worked as an engineer.

He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where he met his wife Ruth and said, “It was love at first sight” many times through his years. He then decided to attend Western Theological Seminary, where he did not “fit the norm” and told his professors that he would attend for a year to see if ministry was right. He graduated from seminary in 1970, having never actually applied.

The Rev. Elliott received his Doctor of Ministry in 1985 from the New York Theological Seminary (where he did apply). Community and inclusion were particularly important to him, and his doctoral thesis was on community, “Many Parts, One Body.” His family said he “believed in empowering people, and that no few people should have all the power.”

The Rev. Elliott was known for his love of church and family, and in his eyes the congregation was family. He loved the church nursery school and would visit the kids each day. “He saw the good in people and believed everyone had value [and] had a way of connecting with people and making everyone feel special,” his family said.

While serving Greenville Community Reformed Church for 26 years, the Rev. Elliott developed the Memorial Garden, started the Men’s Breakfast, began the messages people read as they drive along Ardsley Road, and built the low wall and garden along Ardsley Road.

He served on various boards for the Reformed Church of America.

His family said he “cared and supported people daily through word and deed. His Sunday sermons were pragmatic and impactful, and meant to take to work on Monday morning.”

He also was the Greenville fire commissioner from 1984 to 1988, worked on the athletic program at Edgemont High School and was an involved parent in the Edgemont School District. He enjoyed being active in the Scarsdale-Edgemont interfaith meetings and services.

The Rev. Elliott is survived by his wife Ruth, daughter Elizabeth and son John, and grandchildren Donald McAlpine, Ellen McAlpine and Sidonie Elliott.

“Jack lived his life full of love, forgiveness and the grace of God,” his family said, adding that there is “no doubt that he has performed countless random acts of kindness.”

“Jack has made the world a better place and will be missed more than words can say,” his family noted.

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