PEORIA - Pastor Jeffery Ivory Sr., 79, of Peoria, Ill., passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving and devoted family at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.
Reverend Ivory was born on Nov. 20, 1933, in Gainesville, Ala.
His parents, the late John L. and Sephronia (Grice) Ivory, raised their family in York, Ala. He married Gladys Sturdivant on Aug. 20, 1953, in Meridian, Miss.
Rev. Ivory leaves to cherish his precious memories his beloved wife of almost 60 years, Gladys Ivory of Peoria; four sons, Ricky (Carolyn) Ivory of York, Ala., Larry (Janis) Ivory, Rodney (Jennifer) Ivory and Darren Ivory, all of Peoria; four daughters, Lorraine (William) Sephus, Teresa (Lonnie) Hayes, Beverly (Eric) Cameron and Ariel Ivory, all of Peoria; one sister, Marjorite Shelton of Livingston, Ala.; 18 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; one godson, Jamar Thomas; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, friends; and his Grace Baptist Church family.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Jeffery Ivory Jr.; one daughter, Erica Dawn Ivory; three brothers; and two sisters.
He retired from Allied and Hyster's construction companies in 1973 before being called into pastorship.
Rev. Ivory was the pastor of Grace Baptist Church for 40 years and directed the activities for the purpose of building up the kingdom of God. During Pastor Ivory's leadership, the church has grown to over 800 members.
As a pastor, he was a fisher of man, a shepherd of his flock. His aim has not been merely the salvation of souls but also the salvation of society. He carried the spirit of faith, hope, and love with him into every home he entered and left a great benediction.
As a leader, Rev. Ivory had been a journalist interpreting current events, an author of literature, teacher instructing us in truth, an executive head in our business affairs, and a pastor regenerating our society.
As a past moderator of the Central District Association, past president of the Baptist Ministerial Alliance and the Central District Congress of Christian Education, and a member of the Peoria Christian leadership Council, Rev. Ivory was a man of dedication to improving the condition of the city of Peoria.
Rev. Ivory was also a past board member of the Minority Affairs Council for the Illinois Department of Transportation for District 4, dedicated to improving minority participation for black contractors, and was a past board member of the Central Illinois Black Expo.
As one of the most highly respected ministers in the Peoria area and the oldest pastor in the Central District, he was known by many as the "Godfather." This man of God was respected by not only the Baptist ministers, but also the ministers of other denominations.
As a community leader he championed many causes, people have known that if Rev. Ivory was involved in something, it was definitely something worth getting involved in.
Pastor Ivory was an avid Cubs fan.
He enjoyed spending time with wife, children, grandchildren and his church family.
He had a great passion for fishing and cooking; he's known for his peach cobbler throughout the community.
Pastor Ivory's visitation will be held at Grace Baptist Church from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17, 2013, with a religious ceremony immediately following beginning at 6 p.m. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2013, at New Morning Star M.B. Church, with a visitation beginning at 9 a.m. The Rev. Cleveland Thomas Sr., pastor of New Morning Star, will officiate. Rev. Ivory will be laid to rest at Springdale Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Pastor Ivory's name to the Grace Baptist Church Building Fund.
Simons Mortuary has been entrusted with arrangements. Online condolences may be made to simonsmortuary.com.