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In Memory . . . Rev. Carl Larsen Esenwein (1934-2006)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It’s with a sense of loss that we inform you that The Reverend Carl Larsen Esenwein died Nov. 4, 2006 at his home in Normal, after a long battle with cancer. A celebration of life service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Campus Religious Center, 210 W. Mulberry St., Normal, Illinois. 

Mr. Esenwein is survived by his mother, Eleanor, of Bloomington IL; his wife, Willemina, Normal; and four children, Marc, Louisville, Colorado; Steve, Dacono, Colorado; Lori (Vaughn) Hoffman, Bloomington, IL; and Willem (Anna) Knibbe, Alameda, California. Also surviving are three grandchildren, Nick and Neil Hoffman and Elleke Knibbe. 

Mr. Esenwein was born June 7, 1934, in Flagstaff, Arizona. In his youth he spent in the Southwest, he enjoyed the outdoors, horses, and magic. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in political science. He later decided to enter the Unitarian ministry and graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary in 1966 and was ordained in 1967. He served Unitarian congregations in Benton Harbor, Michigan and Norfolk, VA from 1966-1974; and served the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bloomington, IL from 1974-1982. He then started his own company which he ran until 2001. 

Known for his vocal opposition to the Vietnam War, Mr. Esenwein was instrumental in helping numerous conscientious objectors find sanctuary in Canada. He was also active in the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and organizations for prison reform. 

During his retirement, he worked tirelessly to restore his historic home to its original condition and rekindled his love of magic. He was known as "Mr. E," a magician whose sleight of hand and illusions delighted old and young. He loved classical music and had a special place in his heart for Beethoven's Ninth. 

The words "thoughtful, loving, caring, compassionate, engaged, generous, handy, funny, responsible and kind" describe Carl Esenwein. His positive and optimistic attitude was an inspiration to those who knew him and all were impressed by the courage and dignity with which he faced the end of his life. 

Memorials may be made to the New Covenant Community, 210 West Mulberry, Normal, IL 61761 or to the Community Cancer Center, 407 East Vernon Avenue, Normal, IL 61761. 

Messages of remembrance may be sent to his wife at 301 West Virginia Avenue, Normal, Illinois, 61761.

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