The Life of Rev. Eleanor Felder



YOUNGSTOWN – Services will be held on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at 11 a.m. at the New Bethel Baptist Church for Pastor Eleanor Felder, 79, who answered the call of the Lord to come home and take her rest on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, at Cleveland Clinic.

Pastor Felder was born Aug. 24, 1934, in Montgomery, Ala., a daughter of Joe and Lelia Mae Pickett Boyd and relocated to the Mahoning Valley as a child. She was also blessed to have been nurtured by her mother’s second husband, the late Will Johnson.

Pastor Felder accepted the call into the ministry after a fulfilling career as an educator. A lifelong learner and committed to personal development, she was furthering her education pursuits as a scholar at the C. L. Lane Bible Institute in Transfer, Pa.

In 1981, she retired from the Youngstown City School District and became the pastor of the Holy Bible Church of God. During her pastorate, she established an outreach ministry for women, “God’s Kitchen,” which is a full service dining establishment, an after-school tutorial programming and a host of other vital services to residents within the inner core of the city.

Pastor Felder was active with ACTION and was one of its founders, serving as its President from 2005 to 2007. She was honored as the 2007 recipient of the Frances Kerpsack ACTION Community Service Award.

She was the first executive president of the Interdenominational Clergy Women Alliance and had also served as president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. Pastor Felder held the distinction of being the first female to have been elected to serve to this IMA office. She was former past vice president of the League of Women Voters and served on the Juvenile Justice Center Citizen’s Advisory Board, and the central committee of the Citizens for Public Service. Committed to the work of social justice and community empowerment, she continued to support the efforts of the NAACP Youngstown Branch, and was a nominee for the Youngstown Warren Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious Athena Award.

Pastor Felder attributed her pastoral leadership style to the influences of the late Rev. W. A. Clark, the late Rev. Elizabeth Powell and community activist, Rev. Lonnie K. A. Simon. She accepted her calling into ministry on April 20, 1980, and was licensed into the gospel ministry on Oct. 18, 1982, by the Holy Bible’s founding pastor, the late Rev. Emma Hopkins. The mantle of this ministry was placed upon Pastor Felder and she was subsequently ordained to fulfill the pastoral office at the Holy Bible Church of God on Nov. 21, 1983, by the late Rev. Lonnie Simon.

Pastor Felder was a former board member of the Mahoning Valley Association of Churches, former participant of the Interdenominational Clergy Dialogue, past board member and community coordinator of the NAACP, and former host of a weekly live radio broadcast ministry. Among her many awards and citations, she was the recipient of the YWCA Outstanding Clergy Woman and a proclamation from Nassau County Executive’s Thomas S. Gulutta.

Pastor Felder and her husband, Joe were blessed with 10 children, Sheila Conley, Tanya (Rev. Ellis IV) Payne, Ronald Lewis, Dorothy (Rev. Lewis) Macklin, Joe Felder Jr., Marlene Felder, James Felder and Joan Felder, all of Youngstown, Anthony (Barbara) Conley of Stockton, Calif., and Stephon Felder of Cleveland; a myriad of grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sisters, Joetta Ross of Oklahoma City, Phyllis (James) Liggens, Mary Lou Venable, and Addie Fitzgerald, all of Youngstown, Joyce Boyd and Magalois (Supt. Preston), May, both of Warren, Mattie Anderson of Dallas, Ga. and Alberta (Horace) Hodges of Stockton; brothers, Jesse and Eddie Boyd, both of Youngstown; a sister-in-law, Delores Boyd of Youngstown; and a host of family, church family and friends.

Besides her parents and stepfather, she was preceded in death by her husband, Deacon Joe B. Felder Sr., whom she married Feb. 28, 1964 and who passed away Sept. 19, 2007; and brother, Willie J. Boyd.

Visitation hours will be held on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, from 5 to 7 p.m. and on Friday from 10:30 to 11 a.m. at the church.

Arrangements are entrusted to the L.E. Black, Phillips & Holden Funeral Home.


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