Oris Setchell Elias


MIAMI, Fla. - Oris Setchell Elias, 93, passed gently from this life on Dec. 28, 2017 in Miami, Fla.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be announced at a later date.

Oris was born Oct. 24, 1924 in Chicago to Joseph and Amanda (Nehm) Vitt. She married Gilbert Setchell on June 8, 1947. He preceded her in death in 1985. She married Elmer Elias on Dec. 17, 1988. He passed away in 2008.

Survivors include two sons, Jay (Sherry) Setchell of Canyon Lake, Texas and Scott (June) Setchell of Mendota; two daughters, Edith (Daryl) Alderson of Green Valley, Ariz. and Jane Potter of Coconut Grove, Fla.; the beloved daughters of Elmer, Jeanne (Don) Osgood of Nekoosa, Wis., Joyce (Richard) Ballard of New Berlin, Wis. and Joan Elias of Saxon, Wis.; Carol Elias of Wheaton; one brother, Hillert (Lorraine) Vitt; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husbands; one brother, Carl; a stepson, John (Carol) Elias; and a step-granddaughter, Denise.

Music was the passion that flowed through her life. Oris learned to read music and play the piano at age 3, and was still reading music and playing the piano at 93. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in music education, returning to school to earn her master’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1974. She gave piano lessons to scores of young people from Mendota and the surrounding area. She taught vocal music for many years in the Mendota elementary schools, which, before they were consolidated, included the Compton and Troy Grove schools. Her students learned not just to sing but to read music and play various instruments, the autoharp being a favorite among the youngsters. She sang in the church choir in every city in which she lived and directed gospel music groups. She loved going to concerts and the opera. Elmer honored her by creating a perpetual scholarship at Mendota High School for the top music student entering music education. The scholarship will continue as her legacy to Mendota.

Memorials may be directed to the Oris Setchell-Elias Scholarship. Checks to the fund should be made to Mendota Township High School with the notation: Oris Setchell-Elias Scholarship on the subject line.

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