Elmer J. Egelkraut, 88, of Battle Creek, Michigan died peacefully at home at NorthPointe Woods on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.
Elmer Junior Egelkraut was born on December 22, 1933 in Bronson, Michigan to the parents of Elmer and Myretta (Boyle) Egelkraut. At an early age the family moved to Battle Creek. Elmer's work ethic began by delivering newspapers and shining shoes on the street corners of downtown Battle Creek for many Fort Custer soldiers. After graduation from Battle Creek Central, he worked for the Kellogg Company. Knowing he needed more education to provide for a family, he was hired at George R. Rich and completed a journeyman trade program in machine repair. With three young children at home, he took an opportunity to join the newly opened Fisher Body of Kalamazoo where he worked 28 years, retiring in 1993 at 59 years old. Elmer's life was fulfilled by volunteering, supporting and encouraging many athletes to meet their full potential.
In October of 1955 he married his high school sweetheart Alyce (Walters) Egelkraut. Alyce was by his side for over 68 years. They successfully raised three active sons, all Eagle Scouts. Elmer and Alyce traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada. From all their far reaching travels, their favorite spot was the shores of Lake Michigan in Ludington, Michigan.
Elmer's athletic career began as a young swimmer with Leroy Sparks. Mr. Sparks was an instrumental influence in his competitive and coaching career. In 1943 as a 10 year old, Elmer was the youngest swimmer to swim the Goguac Lake Swim at that time. After a work related injury in 1970, he returned to the pool to continue his lifelong love of competition and coaching. He continued to swim and coach for the next 35 years. He swam 25 years with the Y-Masters Team, competing in 25 Master's State competitions. Elmer swam on 3 National teams representing Michigan and two world teams giving him All-American recognition. Overall, Elmer won 12 All-American honors. In 1999, Elmer received the Leroy Sparks Award for his contributions to swimming and the community. He volunteered as a swimming coach supporting many senior athletes to refine and improve their competitive swimming skills. In 2010, the Y Center honored him by starting a scholarship in his name. He received the U.S. National Swimmers Kerry O'Brien Award and was also awarded Michigan Masters Coach of the Year Award in 2011. In 2012, he was inducted into the Battle Creek Central Hall of Fame.
Elmer coached and managed baseball teams as a young man. His baseball teams won countless titles as city champions and placed in state and national tournaments. In 1961, his team finished in 5th place in the Connie Mack World Series. In the six years leading up to this series, no other city team had ever won 99 games with only 11 losses. He often remarked, "No team in 65 years has beaten our record, and I am still counting." He played, coached and managed baseball, softball and basketball teams including B.C. Sportsmen Club, Lyman Printing, Level Park Little League and Maple Methodist basketball and softball teams. He and his Connie Mack team were inducted into Bailey Park's Wall of Fame.
Elmer was proceeded in death by his parents Elmer and Myretta Egelkraut, a brother, Richard Egelkraut and nephews Allen Egelkraut and Rick Teichman.
Elmer is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Alyce, three sons, Bob (Susan), David (Karen) and Paul (Debra), seven grandchildren, Emily, Lisa, Matthew, Annie, Michael, Molly and Gary ,and four great grandchildren, Carter, Aubrey, Jackson and Evelyn.
Friends will be received 4:00 â 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 20th and 10:00-11:00 a.m. Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Cremation Preneed Care, where funeral service will be officiated by Pastor Linda Stoddard 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, December 21, 2022. The service will be live-streamed and may be viewed by visiting: https://vimeo.com/event/2732725 Committal and interment will follow at Floral Lawn Memorial Gardens.
In Lieu of flowers, a contribution to the YMCA Elmer Egelkraut Swimming Scholarship (Checks payable to: "Battle Creek Family YMCA"), Salvation Army or Maple Methodist Church would be welcomed.
Personal messages for the family may be placed in the Memory Book here at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.