Dr. Elmer H. Kirchoff, 81, of Smithton, IL, born Friday, September 14, 1934, in E. St. Louis, IL, died Saturday, January 23, 2016 at Dammert Geriatric Center in Belleville, IL.
Born in East St. Louis, IL to Henry R. and Bessie nee Batha Kirchoff, he lost his loving wife Dr. Joan M. nee Mellein Kirchoff, of 58 years, in January 2014. He is survived by two children, daughter Sally (Bryan) Kendall of Waterloo, IL and son, John Kirchoff of Freeburg, IL. Grandchildren Augustin “Gus” (Candice) Kirchoff of Centralia, MO, Matthew Kendall and Kaitlin Kendall of Waterloo, IL and Great Grandson Kain Kirchoff of Centralia, MO. He took enormous pride in the accomplishments of each of his grandchildren.
Also surviving is his brother James (Carol) Kirchoff of Hoyleton, IL and Sister and Brother-In-Laws Roseann (James) Agnew of Belleville, Herbert (Carolyn) Mellein of Kansas City, MO, Charles (Mary) Mellein of Atlanta, GA, Loring Mellein of New Baden, IL, Patricia (Robert) Sibert of New Baden and many beloved nieces and nephews. Dear niece, Lynn Kirchoff lost her battle with cancer last summer.
Elmer was a devoted husband, father, and friend. He dedicated his life to his career in education. His considerable passion was big band, jazz and Dixieland music. He played his trumpet in bands before he could drive. He began his music career with the Walt Schlemer Ochestra. He played with many other bands thru the years, including the Skyliners and The Nobleman.
He began his career as a vocal and instrumental Music Teacher at Marissa High School and then moved on to the Alton Public Schools, and Grant School in Fairview Heights. He continued his career as Elementary Principal and Junior High School Principal in Grant Community Consolidated School District 110, Fairview Heights. Dr. Kirchoff received his Doctorate of Philosophy Degree in Educational Administration from St. Louis University and then became the Superintendent of Grant Community Consolidated School District. He was then selected to be the Assistant Regional Superintendent of Schools for St. Clair County, prior to becoming the Superintendent of Cahokia Unit School District 187.
In 2008, he was appointed to SWIC President, where he served for 10 years. During his tenure there, he collaborated between the college and the foundation to construct the Schmidt Art Center. He led the college through the historic name change from Belleville Area College to Southwestern Illinois College. Upon his retirement, he established the Dr.’s Elmer and Joan Kirchoff Scholarship for the SWIC Foundation.
He served on the Southwestern Illinois Leadership Council and the Illinois Community College Presidents Council and was a member of the Elks and Moose Lodges. He was a member of St. Clair Lodge #24 AF & AM Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite Bodies, Ainad Shrine, Southern Illinois Court #86 ROJ.
Elmer cherished the memories created while traveling with Joan. His last years were devoted to caring for Joan and his lovable, four-legged boys, Louie and Bix.
Memorials: Memorials may be made to the Dr.’s Elmer and Joan Kirchoff Scholarship Foundation or Belleville Humane Society
Visitation: Friends may call from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm with a ROJ walk through at 7:13pm Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, IL.
Funeral: Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 am Thursday, January 28, 2016 at Kurrus Funeral Home, with Rev. Kenneth York officiating. Interment will follow at Lake View Memorial Gardens, Fairview Heights, IL.