Elstan (James) Coghill OFM
died at the age of 85
on Friday, May 9, 2008,
in Loretto Home at the Motherhouse of the Hospital Sisters of Saint Francis in Springfield, Illinois,
after suffering a major heart attack the day before following six years of failing health.
A Minnesota boy, James Coghill was born on August 27, 1922, in Jordan, Minnesota, of Donald and Elizabeth (nee Smith) Coghill. On August 19, 1942, he entered the novitiate of Sacred Heart Province of the Order of Friars Minor and received the religious name Elstan which he kept for the rest of his life. Making solemn profession in 1946, he was ordained a priest on June 24,1949.
After that first practicum year for preaching after ordination, Elstan spent the rest of the priestly career in parish work, except for one year of continuing education in 1972-1973. He made the circuit of almost the whole province: eight years in Chaska (MN), two years in St. Paul (MN), one year in Memphis (TN), six years in Columbus (NE) at St. Bonaventure’s, five years at Harbor Springs (MI), seven years in Bastrop (LA), three years in Memphis (TN) at St. Mary’s, two years in Chanhassen, 11 years in Victoria (MN), and six years at Cross in the Woods in Indian River (MI) as senior associate. He retired to Our Lady of Angels Friary in Villa West in Sherman (IL) in 2002, and eventually moved to Loretto Home where he passed away.
He was known as a genial and entertaining story-teller all of his life. During the years he was stationed in Victoria, he regularly wrote columns for the Victoria Gazette which were collected into a book entitled Prints of a Priest. His sense of hope, spirit of joy, and genuine authenticity endeared him to many people. As one young adult said about him, There was an ‘air’ about him that I have never felt with anyone else. Transcendent comes to mind …
Visitation in Sherman, Illinois:
Chapel of Villa West, Sunday, May 11th, 2:00-4:00pm with Evening Prayer at 4:00pm
Services in Victoria, Minnesota:
Wednesday, May 14th, 4:00-8:00pm Thursday, May 15th
Wagner Funeral Home St. Victoria Church, Victoria, Minnesota
17365 Johnson Memorial Drive Visitation 9:30 am to 10:30am
Jordan, MN 55352-9587 Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30am
952.492.3366 Interment: St. Victoria Cemetery
May Elstan rest in peace!