In Memory of




Obituary for Rev. Russell Lee Elkins

Russell, the youngest of five, was born on the family farm to Celia and Mac Elkins on August 17, 1941. Being a farm boy, he grew up working in the fields and caring for the livestock. He attended a one room school until Grade 9 when he was transferred to a large high school in Bloomington. He was a typical teen of the fifties. He loved fast cars and spent many evenings drag racing with his friends, eating in drive-ins and playing his guitar in various homes in the Knight Ridge community.
At the age of nineteen, he gave his heart to God and with that decision, the seed of his lifelong legacy was planted. Although he spent thirty years working for Bell Telephone, his commitment to God’s kingdom and to the community of people God called him to serve never wavered.
He bloomed where God planted him. He became a member of Shiloh Temple by way of his sweetheart, Hope. He found a way to involve himself with this congregation by first being a musician, then a Sunday school teacher and eventually, their youth leader. Even in these early ministries, his leadership was consistently characterized by what would eventually become his trademark leadership style: serving with love, wisdom, generosity, and honesty.
In 1978 he became the pastor of Shiloh Temple. He led with quiet strength and powerhouse motivation. Boundless energy was used to further God’s Kingdom. During his 45 years of leadership, the congregation was able to purchase land and build a new church building.
He was a member of good moral standing in the community, serving as assistant chaplain at Bloomington Hospital and volunteering at the juvenile correctional center.
He was a member of The Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, a national religious organization. This membership provided him with opportunities to lead in an international capacity, serving as National Secretary of the World Missions Department for 16 years. His work with World Missions took him all over the world, assisting missionaries in 19 countries. He was also a friend to the ALJC Evangelist Department, supporting their various ministries and hosting their annual retreat for a number of years.
He loved his family, travel, meat and three restaurants, long drives in the country, tomatoes and sweet corn from Hope’s garden, Martin guitars, and playing his beloved banjo for anyone who would listen.
He was a simple man.
He was honest.
He was righteous.
He had a servant’s heart.
The intentional, carefully placed seeds he planted will continue to grow for generations to come.
Survivors: wife, Hope (Crouch) Elkins; two sons, Marty (Amy) Elkins of Nashville, TN and Ryan (Ashley) Elkins of Bloomington, IN; one brother, Junior (Albera) Elkins of Bloomington, IN; five grandchildren, Adeya Elkins, Ezra Elkins, Miles Elkins, Mac Elkins and Vovie Elkins and a Loving Congregation.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Ruth Duke and Doris Frye and brother, Hershel Elkins.
Visitation will be from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, September 9, 2023 at Shiloh Temple 77 W. Smithville Road Bloomington, IN 47403, Funeral services will follow at 6:30 p.m. at the church. Revs M.L. Walls, Kenneth Allen and Fred Stanger will officiate. Private Burial will be at Clover Hill Cemetery, Harrodsburg, IN.
Donations may be made to Shiloh Temple Mission Fund 77 W. Smithville Road Bloomington, Indiana 47403.
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