GALESBURG - Leonard Everett Belote, age 92, of Galesburg, Ill., formerly of Knoxville, Ill., died at 10:05 a.m. Sunday, June 29, 2014, at Seminary Manor.
He was born near Pocomoke, Md., on Feb. 20, 1922, the son of William Thomas and May Merrill Belote. He graduated from Pocomoke High School, Western Illinois University and University of Illinois. He married Ethel May Baxter at the Baxter home near Jacksonville, Ill., on Dec. 8, 1943. They achieved their 64th anniversary prior to Ethel's death on Dec. 21, 2007. He married Juanita V. Lanier on Feb. 14, 2010.
He is survived by his wife and two sons, Mike Eugene (Joni) Belote of Morrisville, Vt., and James Thomas (Patty) Belote of Decatur, Ill.. Also, he is survived by four grandchildren, Jeffry, Eric, Elizabeth and Todd (Shelly); as well as three great-grandsons, Jace, Ryan and Sean; plus his nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, parents, two brothers and their spouses, two sisters and their spouses, one half sister, two half brothers, a niece and a nephew.
During World War II, he served in the 11th Armored Division, Third Army, with service in England, France, Belgium (Battle of the Bulge), Germany and Austria.
Following military service, he worked in commercial and newspaper printing, as well as serving as a high school teacher and school superintendent. In 1960, he began his extensive career in college administration. He served as dean of Moline Community College, which became the first separate community college district in Illinois under 1959 legislation and was named Black Hawk College. In 1965, the Illinois Community College Act was passed, creating the Illinois Community College Board and providing for the system of Class One Community Colleges. Everett was the second professional staff member employed by the state board and was directly involved in the development of the current system of Illinois community colleges. When the wave of community college district establishment subsided, he was invited to become the dean of the School of Vocational, Technical and Applied Arts at Ferris State College in Big Rapids, Mich. He subsequently returned to Illinois and was the founding Dean of Instruction for Richland Community College in Decatur, Ill. He retired from Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Ill., in 1982.
Following his retirement, he was appointed to an unexpired term as councilman for Knoxville, Ill., and was elected as mayor of Knoxville in 1985 and served for four years.
In 1991, the Belotes moved to Winter Haven, Fla., for nine years. They traveled, mostly by motor home, to all 48 of the lower states, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, plus a six-month trip to Alaska during the 50th anniversary of the Al-Can Highway. They relocated from Florida to Knoxville in 2000, where Everett served as city administrator on an interim basis for 14 months. Subsequently, he served as chairperson of the Knoxville Plan Commission. Unfortunately, Mrs. Belote's health deteriorated so they decided to move to Seminary Estates in Galesburg in June of 2007. Since he could no longer serve on the Knoxville Plan Commission as a resident of Galesburg, he volunteered to serve as an unpaid consultant to the city of Knoxville so that he could continue to provide assistance on projects like the revision of the subdivision ordinance, which was underway when he moved. He was appointed as a city consultant by the mayor and was confirmed by the council.
The Belotes were active members of the Presbyterian or Methodist Church in the various communities where they lived and Everett was elected to various positions of leadership. Everett and Juanita continued to reside at Seminary Estates.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, July 7, 2014, at the Hurd-Hendricks Funeral Home. A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at the Hurd-Hendricks Funeral Home in Knoxville, Ill. Interment will be at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Antioch Cemetery in Jacksonville, Ill.
Memorials may be made to the Knoxville United Methodist Church, Cunningham Children's Home, P.O. Box 878, Urbana, Ill., or the donor's choice.
Online condolences and sympathy cards may be sent through www.hurd-hendricksfuneralhome.com.