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Junior F. Elder Obituary – Topeka Capital-Journal

Colonel Junior Franklin Elder of Topeka began his journey to heaven on Monday September 26, 2022. His goal was always to live to be 100 years old and he passed away peacefully on Earth with his family present at the age of 102 years old. was born September 13, 1920 on his family farm near Leoti, KS to James and Katherine (Thompson) Elder. Born the third of the youngest of 20 children, the family lived in rural southwestern Wichita County, KS, where his father was a farmer, salesman and teacher until his untimely death in 1930. Junior, known as of “Nin” by his family, learned the love of the family of both parents. He also learned a lot about his mother’s determination.

When he was 20, he enlisted in the Kansas Army National Guard as a stenographer. He was immediately called up for extended active duty and posted to the Selective Service System in Topeka in October 1940. Junior married Constance “Eddie” (Dagwell) Elder in November 1942 and they celebrated their marriage by traveling west from Kansas training so he can vote for his mother (Leoti County Clerk candidate) for the first time. In May 1943 he was posted to the 250th Station Hospital and in 1944 sent to the European Theater in southern England where he wrote a letter every day to his family back home. Junior returned to Kansas in 1945.

He graduated from Washburn University in 1949 and Washburn University School of Law in 1951. Junior had the unique opportunity of being appointed State Director of the Selective Service System in 1972 as as the first nominee who was not the Adjutant General of Kansas. His tenure spanned three wars: World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was decorated by Selective Service with three of the highest honors, including the Selective Service Distinguished Service Gold Medal, which is the agency’s highest honor. Combining his military and civilian service, Junior has dedicated more than sixty years to the state and the nation under the Selective Service Program. He was the last to serve as Director of Selective Service for the State of Kansas and was inducted into the Kansas National Guard Hall of Fame in 2002.

He was very involved in the community with the church, civic clubs, professional clubs, military associations, Kansas Bar Association, Boy Scouts of America, Topeka Downtown Optimist Club, Masonic Lodge, American Legion Post #1 and others. He was also a generous supporter of First Baptist Church of Topeka, United Way, Stormont-Vail Medical Center, and Washburn University.

His greatest pleasure was connecting with others, whether it was spending time with family and friends or volunteering. He also always looked forward to annual family reunions. He loved Jesus and loved people. He was always encouraging, smiling, joyful and shining the love of Christ every day. He was never short of stories to share and often he would laugh in the middle of a story. Others didn’t know the punchline yet; however, his laugh was contagious and whether the story ended or not, everyone had a good laugh.

Reflecting on his life, Junior said it was good for him. He credited his long life to his strong faith in God, regular breathing, taking naps, getting a good night’s sleep, and appreciating each day. His hard work ethic and commitment to others was beyond measure, but when giving career advice recently, he said the most important thing was to find something that would truly make you happy. He will be deeply missed by all who love him.

His parents predeceased him; 19 siblings Roy, Susie, William, Carl, Harmon, Elsie, Bessie, Dick, Opal, Wes, Dennis, Violet, Ethel, LaVina, Mary, Billie, Hope, Harry and Tom; and his wife Eddie. He is survived by his wife of 40 years Mary Jane Fitzpatrick Elder; children Kenneth “Ken” (Jeanne) Elder of Topeka, Beverly “Bev” (Lowell) Campbell of Louisville, CO, Maurice “Maury” (Karen) Elder of Wichita, KS, Pamela “Pam” (Kenny) Lierz of Topeka, Patricia “Patty” Williams of Edmond, Oklahoma; grandchildren Tasha, Stacey, Matthew, Mark, Tracy, Brent, Heather and Holly; 13 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A visitation will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, October 17, 2022, followed by a celebration of life service at 11 a.m. at Mount Hope Chapel, 4700 SW 17th Street, Topeka, KS. Burial with military honors will follow the service at Mount Hope Cemetery.

The family requests that memorial donations may be made to Let’s Help (200 South Kansas Ave, 66603), Interim Healthcare of Topeka (1251 SW Arrowhead Road, Ste 103, 66604) or First Baptist Church (3033 SW Macvicar Ave, 66611) .

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Posted on October 08, 2022

Posted in Topeka Capital Journal

service information


Mount Hope Cemetery and Funeral Chapel 4700 SW 17th Street Topeka, KS 66604


Mount Hope Cemetery and Funeral Chapel 4700 SW 17th Street Topeka, KS 66604

October 17, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


Mount Hope Cemetery and Funeral Chapel 4700 SW 17th Street Topeka, KS 66604

October 17, 2022 at 11:00