PASTOR M. L. SHREFFLER 1934-2007
MONTICELLO – Pastor M. L. Shreffler, 73, formerly of Monticello, Illinois, died Sunday, September 30, 2007, peacefully at home in Madison, Kansas, after a courageous battle with cancer. Having just preformed a wedding in August, his illness unexpectedly took a sudden turn for the worse in his last two weeks.
Born Mickie Louis Shreffler, on June 4, 1934 in Peoria, Illinois and known to most as “Mick”, he recently changed his first name to Michael. He was the son of the late Robert and Sarah “Sally” Terensky Shreffler.
Maxine, his wife of 21 years, survives him as do his son, Stephen and his wife Dora of Monticello, Illinois; his daughter, Deborah of Newbury Park, California; his sister, Roberta “Bobbie” Allen and her husband Thomas of Tremont, Illinois;
Also surviving are his niece, Carrie Allen of Pekin, Illinois; nephew, David Allen and his wife Liz of Minooka, Illinois; and 4 grandchildren, Lisa Shreffler and Kimberly Shreffler both of Monticello, Illinois, and Cortni Kaufman and Jamie Kaufman, both of Newbury Park, California.
His extended family included four step-children: Teresa Rice and her husband Randy, Beth Dains Pees and her husband Michael, and Greg Rawlings and his wife Mary all of Madison, KS; and Cindy K. Nichols and her husband Rick of Ellinwood, KS; 15 step-grandchildren, 5 great step-grandchildren, numerous step-nieces and step-nephews, and his faithful dog Ziggy.
Pastor Shreffler graduated from Peoria Manual High School. During his early years, he assisted his father in his cobbler and watchmaker business while serving as a minister for Youth for Christ.
At times holding two full time jobs while going to school, he worked very hard to put himself through college and continued adding to his higher education throughout his life, easily exceeding the requirements to earn a Ph.D.
He received his secondary education from Spring Arbor University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and the University of Illinois. Ordained by the presbytery of the United Presbyterian Church, he was a seminary-trained Presbyterian minister graduating in 1963 with a Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
He subsequently completed two years of Clinical Pastoral Education from the University of Missouri and at two Kansas state hospitals. Following this specialized training and state certification, he most recently worked seven years at Trinity North Hospital where he worked with ex-offenders and their families dealing with violence, alcohol and drug addictions, other anti-social behaviors, spiritual struggles and many other personal issues.
During his long ministerial tenure, Pastor Shreffler was honored to serve numerous churches in Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas. He held credentials with both the Presbyterian and Baptist ministries. His ministry was devoted to pastoral care, leadership, and counseling. He was particularly pleased to be an advocate for those in need through a lifetime of working with and on behalf of poor, oppressed, and disadvantaged people.
Knowing that actions speak louder than words, he lead by example by practicing what he preached. He engaged in mission activities, sought to alleviate hunger, foster self-development, responded to disasters, supported mission works, preached the gospel, healed the sick, and educated new generations for the future.
In 1965, while serving the Knox Presbyterian Church in Naperville, Illinois, he founded the Sheltered Workshop, now named Little Friends, Inc., a well-known private, non-profit organization for physically handicapped children and young adults, and was a vital player in desegregation in Chicago during the 1960s. Little Friends, Inc. flew the flags at all of their facilities at half-mast in tribute for a week after his passing.
During his service at the First Presbyterian Church of Monticello, Illinois, he was active in radio and television ministry, and founded the pre-school located in the First Presbyterian Church of Monticello, which he named the Kairos School and two of his grandchildren attended 25 years later. One of his fondest moments in Monticello was ringing the church bell with his son Steve, celebrating the end of the Vietnam War.
An avid table game player, and while never cheating, he did strategize to win any way he could within the rules making him a fierce but enjoyable competitor. His son credits his own success at playing Poker and in life in general to being taught these values and approach from an early age. When faced with adversity, he had the ability to disagree without being disagreeable. As an example, he and his son never had an argument in 48 years.
Not afraid of a challenge, during his time in Eskridge, Kansas, he was instrumental in yoking the United Methodist and First Presbyterian churches.
He united many couples in marriage including his sister and each of his two children and performed many baptisms. He rejoiced in celebrating these special occasions and serving the Lord in this capacity.
After honorably retiring from full-time ministry in 1997, Pastor Shreffler continued to serve in Pastoral Care and Counseling. He was a counselor for Alcoholics Anonymous and the Compassionate Friends organization. He was a professional member of NCADD of Missouri and held professional certification.
He volunteered for United Way and Lions Club, and transported eyes for corneal transplants. He was a long-time member and Chaplain of Rotary Club, a charter member and Chaplain of the Lee’s Summit Garden Club, and numerous other civic groups.
He was an avid scholar and lifetime collector of books regarding theology, psychology, and philosophy and was instrumental in starting many church libraries, including attempting to replace his own after loosing everything in a 1991 church fire which totally destroyed the church including his Pastor’s office containing among other things, all of his papers, writings, and extensive library of books that easily covered a 30+ feet of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
Pastor Shreffler was in the process of compiling a collection of his writings, inspirational and devotional thoughts reflecting upon the Bible, garden, nature, and philosophy.
Always humble and never one to boast about his personal achievements and contributions, the few accomplishments shared here are certainly just the tip of the iceberg of a lifetime full of giving to others.
After moving to Madison KS in June, so Maxine could be near her children, he and Maxine attended Lamont Wesleyan Church in Lamont, KS, where a celebration of his life was held Wednesday, October 3, 2007, with Pastor Steve McVey conducting the service.
Desirous of his commitment to help others even in death, Pastor Shreffler donated his body to Kansas University School of Medicine for teaching and research.
Pastor Shreffler had a great sense of humor and he used it often even in his last days; he was a kind human being and no one was a stranger to him. He will be sorely missed by family, friends, and colleagues alike.
A website celebrating his life is located at www.SS427.com/dad where family, friends, parishioners, colleagues, and clients are all encouraged to visit, leave messages, upload pictures and other files, and share stories or memories of Pastor M. L. Shreffler.
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