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Robert Eugene “Bob” Elam

Birth Date: October 23, 1923
Death Date: November 22, 2017

Decatur – Robert Eugene “Bob” Elam, 94, of Decatur, passed away Wednesday, November 22, 2017, at McKinley Court Nursing Home, Decatur, IL.
Bob was born October 23, 1923, in Decatur, IL, a son of Hubert James and Elnora Pauline (Hummel) Elam. A WWII Navy veteran, Bob was the owner/operator of Elam’s Silverfross Drive-In for 25 years. After the diner was sold Bob obtained his commercial pilot’s license and flew for Decatur Aviation for 18 years. He was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church, Very Reverend Jeremiah J. Murphy Assembly #211 and Knights Of Columbus Darrell W. Beck Council #577. Bob married E. Constance Holthaus June 4, 1946 in Oconee, IL.
Surviving is his wife of 71 years Connie of Decatur; children: Linda (Mike) Wayne of Decatur, IL, Craig (Kay) Elam of Mokena, IL, Sheila (Dale) Wandersee of Fargo, ND, Suzanne Rodrigues of Naugatuck, CT, and Dolores Rodrigues of St. Charles, MO; 17 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren, relatives and friends.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents; son Robert James Elam and brother Carlin Elam.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 PM, Wednesday, November 29, 2017, in the Moran & Goebel Funeral Home; vigil prayer service at 4:30 PM. Mass of Christian Burial to celebrate his life will be 10 AM, Thursday, November 30, 2017, in Holy Family Catholic Church, Very Rev. Joseph M. Molloy, V.F., celebrant. Burial with military honors will take place in Calvary Cemetery, Decatur. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Holy Family Catholic Church.
The family of Robert Eugene “Bob” Elam is being served by the Moran & Goebel Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2801 N. Monroe St., Decatur, IL 62526. Condolences and memories may be shared at

Video Tribute for Robert E. “Bob” Elam:

November 29, 2017
5:00 pm
- 7:00 pm
Moran & Goebel Funeral Home and Cremation Services
2801 N. Monroe Decatur, IL 62526
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Mass of Christian Burial
November 30, 2017
10:00 am
Holy Family Catholic Church
2400 S. Franklin Decatur, IL 62521
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  1. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s on West North Street, only about a half block from Elams Root Beer Stand, it was our summer home away from home. After a long winter and all the Christmas Trees were gone, one of the first signs of spring was when the signs were taken out of the windows. You know the signs, “Gone for the year out of beer”, “Gone to the track but I’ll be back” and “Gone for the season reason freezin”, the only ones I remember but there were others. This would happen about Mid-March and with a little cleaning and paint touch up, the first of April they were open for business once again. I can see Bob with his white shirt and black pants topped off with one of those black and white paper hats standing behind the counter barking orders to many employees all doing their job. Occasionally, Mrs. Elam would come out of the kitchen where the 3b’s and Pork Tenderloins were being prepared over a very hot flat grill. Oh, to have a 3B basket and a large root beer now… She always reminded me of Dale Evans, she must have had the same hair dresser. Always thought the root beer glass washing and cooling process was cool. A dip or two in the soap water, a good rinse and back into the cold water for a quick cool down before the next mug was ordered. Not sure if that would pass today. I guess the first time I would have gone there was with my older brothers crossing hand in hand busy Eldorado Street fetching the six hamburgers for a dollar deal with two quarts of root beer, the ones in the cone looking containers. Just enough, one hamburger each with a root beer chaser. Getting old enough to venture out into the neighborhood meeting the other boys of North Street, and that is what we called our bad selves, The Boys of North Street, we would end up at the root beer stand at least once a day, most times more. We found out early on that Bob Elam didn’t and wouldn’t put up with and horse play at the counter. Having been ousted a few times in our day, only to go back the next day all was forgotten. We didn’t have much money in those days, paper route, mowing yards and pop bottle deposit money but just enough for Elam’s. As my oldest friend Fluss said when I sent him Mr. Elam’s obituary, He lived a long life. Good Catholic family man. I still remember when he doubled the price of his small root beer from a nickel to a dime one year. He blamed it on the Cuba sugar embargo. A bowl of chili was 35 cents, root beer was a dime, and a Reese's peanut butter cup was a nickel. Fifty cents ("and a penny for the governor") got you out the door.

  2. Debbie and ray. We always wondered where and how you two were doing. You were both such good workers and great to have around. Love you. Connie

  3. Mrs. Elam and Family:
    Was so sorry to hear the news!
    I had a stroke in January of 2015 and has made me unable to travel.
    I remember when you came to Mom’s.
    I will keep you all in my prayers and will have masses said hear.
    Again I am so sorry!
    Bill Querrey

  4. Captain Robert Elam, a superb pilot and a real asset in a cockpit! I have never met a finer man, nor do I expect to. Godspeed, Bob.

    Jim W. Smiley

  5. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Elam! Some of my earliest memories are of being with your family and especially the closeness my Mom felt for all of you! You are all in my prayers and thoughts! Sincerely, Pam (Bernotas) Ashenbremer

  6. My husband (Raymond Sanderson) and I (Deborah (Schrock) Sanderson) first met 45 years ago while working at Elam's. Mr. and Mrs. Elam suffered several seasons of typical teen years in addition to our high school/work romance drama. Mr. Elam constantly teased my later to be husband about "eating" his entire paycheck and leaving his girlfriend to pay for his gas. The Elam family was such a wonderful example of a close, hard working, and caring family. Mr. Elam always showed his employees respect and instilled the good work ethic and family values we both carry with us today.

  7. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Uncle Bob was the most handsome family man with the smoothest moves on the dance floor. Always loved watching Aunt Connie and Uncle Bob "cut up the rug." Wonderful to see how they loved, laughed and took such care of each other. His was a life to celebrate. My love to you all.
    Jean Collins Manos

  8. Dear Linda and Family,

    Please accept our condolences on the passing of your father. We know that many fond memories will fill your conversations and thoughts in the days ahead. Peace be with you.
    Judy and Paul Rooney

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