Wilburn Ivan Elmore, 93, passed away Friday, October 1, 2021, at Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston, Missouri.
He was born January 23, 1928, in Houston, Missouri, son of Arthur Elmore and Mary Etta Troutman.
He married Vivian Imogene Martin on March 18, 1950.
Wilburn accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at a young age. He was a member of First Baptist Church, Houston, where he was ordained as a deacon in 1968.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Imogene; his parents; and his six siblings, Ruth Rannifeld, Velma Kirkman, Willard “Lum” Elmore, Milton Elmore, Windsor “Pete” Elmore, and Lloyd Elmore.
He is survived by his son, Marty and wife Patti of West Plains, Missouri; granddaughter, Jennifer Vandall, and husband Zandy of Moberly, Missouri; three grandsons, Jared Elmore and wife Jordan of Republic, Missouri, Adam Elmore and wife Kacey of Nixa, Missouri, and Colin Elmore of Nashville, Tennessee; seven great-grandchildren, Grace Vandall, Ethan Vandall, Carrington Elmore, Charley Elmore, Austen Elmore, Asa Elmore, and Archer Elmore; and a host of other family and friends.
In 1946, Wilburn graduated from Houston High School. He joined the United States Navy and spent the next two years seeing the world as a sailor serving on two aircraft carriers: the USS Kearsarge, and the USS Midway. Upon leaving the Navy, he attended Oklahoma Baptist University for a time before returning to Houston, where he started his career as a clothier at Leavitt’s Department Store. He would spend the next 25 years at Leavitt’s, managing the store for 20 of those years. In 1973, Wilburn started his own business, Elmore’s Men’s Wear. After her retirement as longtime bookkeeper at Duff’s Western Auto, Imogene joined her husband in the clothing business until her health failed. Wilburn continued to operate the store until the summer of 2020 when his health waivered. He was proud to say that he spent 70 years on Grand Avenue in Houston.
Wilburn loved southern gospel music and along with his brother, Lum, was an original member of the Harmoniers Quartet, which was formed in 1948. There were many personnel changes over the course of their 70-year ministry, far too numerous to list. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Harmoniers brought many nationally known gospel groups to Houston, including the Blackwood Brothers, Statesmen Quartet, and the LeFevre Family.
After the death of his wife, Imogene, he found a second family in the form of the unofficial “Mayuga Cafe Supper Club,” a small, sometimes revolving group of folks who met most weeknight evenings at the Texas County Memorial Hospital cafeteria for supper. He loved his supper companions, and he loved the camaraderie that they provided.
An avid storyteller, Wilburn loved to talk about his time in the Navy, quartet experiences while traveling and singing, and growing up on a farm near Houston. He loved his Lord and his family with his whole heart. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church.
Services were held Wednesday October 6, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. at Houston First Baptist Church with Pastor Russ Stigall officiating. Burial with full military honors was in Pine Lawn Cemetery under the direction of Evans Funeral Home. Pallbearers were Marty Elmore, Jared Elmore, Adam Elmore, Colin Elmore, Steve Sifford, and Todd Fry. Honorary pallbearers were Dale Moulton, Bruce Wilson, Julius Fraley, Sandra Stow, Tim Stow, Omar Edington, David Gourley, and Darlene Gourley.