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Rev. C. Ernest Essary

Rev. C. Ernest Essary, 95, of Lewisville, Texas, formerly of Norris City, Illinois, passed away Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Plano, Texas. He was born April 14, 1927, in Dale, Illinois, to Isaac and Verna (Southard) Essary. Ernie married Nellie M. Davis Feb. 3, 1961, and she survives. Ernie graduated from McLeansboro High School and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. He was a bi-vocational pastor andeducator, serving as principal of Brownsville School and later at Hillcrest Elementary in Eldorado and Eldorado Jr. High before retiring in 1986.     Ernie was an ordained minister for 70 years, serving as pastor of both New Prospect Baptist Church and Ditney Ridge Baptist Church for 50-plus years each. He was honored as Bi-Vocational Pastor of the Year from the Illinois Baptist Association in 1993. In addition to pastoring local churches, Ernie was instrumental in establishing churches in Ghana, Africa, as well as the Global Missions Resource Center. After retiring from ministry and moving to Texas in 2012, he continued serving his new church, Prestonwood Baptist Church, where he was a faithful member of the Encouragers Bible Fellowship Class, led and taught the Men in Christ Bible Study group and ministered at Prestonwood Court Senior Living.     Ernie faithfully served his country during World War II as a member of the U.S. Navy from 1945- 46. He was honorably discharged in order to care for his brother and family.Surviving Ernie are his wife of 61 years, Nellie; his daughter, LaNell Armour of Lewisville; his sister, Doris Harper of Tampa, Florida; his African family, Emmanuel Mustapha, Felicia, Olive Jane, Waldine, Cindy, Nellie and Chris Mustapha; brother and sister-in-laws, nieces, nephews and a host of honorary grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; three siblings, Dorothy Knight, Delores Essary and Joe Essary; and his son-in-law, Terry Armour.     Funeral services for Rev. C. Ernest Essary will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at Ditney Ridge Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Ditney Ridge Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at Ditney Ridge Baptist Church.          In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Ernie’s memory to Ditney Ridge Baptist Church, designated to North East Christian Academy in Yendi, Ghana. Memorial gifts will be accepted at the church and at Campbell Funeral Home in Norris City, which is in charge of arrangements.


Ditney Ridge Baptist Church
752 County Rd 500 E
Norris City, IL 62869


Campbell Funeral Services – Norris City
201 East Main Street
Norris City, IL 62869


Ditney Ridge Baptist Church
752 County Rd 500 E
Norris City, IL 62869