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Announcing the passing of life trustee John Eldred’52

March 1, 2011

John Eldred’52, a native Beloiter and Beloit College life trustee, passed away on Saturday. He was 80 years old.

In a letter to trustees, President Bierman said that, “With (Mr. Eldred’s) passing, Beloit College has lost a longtime friend and supporter, and the city of Beloit, a beloved son.”

The long-serving president of the family-owned First National Bank and Trust in Beloit, Eldred was a Beloiter in every way. Born and raised in Beloit, and the son of Beloit College alumni, he also attended the college and graduated in 1952 (the same year his wife, Helen Macklem Eldred, also earned her degree at the college). He would leave Beloit after graduation to join the U.S. Army and eventually served in the Korean War before returning to Beloit, marrying and beginning his banking career at First National.   

He would join the college board and helped lead the $5 million “For Beloit” campaign in the 1970s and 80s. In 1972, Eldred received the college’s top alumni honor: the Distinguished Service Citation. His service to the college and board were further recognized when he was given life trustee status in 2000.

The Eldred’s generosity to their alma mater has meant much to the college and its students. The Eldred Endowed Music Fund was funded through their gifts, and they were also generous supporters of other scholarships and scholar programs. More recently, their gift helped fund the construction of the Center for the Sciences. If you’ve walked along the second-story bridge that connects the south side of campus to the science center’s second floor, you’ve walked the gateway that is named in their honor.

An obituary recounting Eldred’s life and contributions to the college and community appeared in today’s Janesville Gazette.