John Wesley LeNoir Jr., 78, of Urbana, IL, transitioned peacefully to his heavenly home early Tuesday, April 11, 2023. Born August 3, 1944, in Tylertown, MS, to Helen I. LeNoir and John W. LeNoir Sr., John was the eldest of nine children. He attended Gulfport Highwhere he loved and excelled at football. John's life was filled with beloved memories as a son, brother, husband, father, uncle, and friend.
As a young man, he would relocate his family from Gulfport, MS, to Champaign, IL, where he found a deep sense of community. His employment history included working at Magnavox plant, 16 years as a Lab Technician with the University of Illinois' Animal Sciences Dept., as Supervisor for Foremost Liquors,Teen Challenge Rehabilitation, as a cook at Grandy's Restaurant, and as Assistant Director of Canaan Baptist Church's Men's SAFE House. He also volunteered his time to Salt-N-Light, a non-profit organization.
As a member of Canaan Baptist Church, John's soul was dedicated to God. John practiced fellowship and ministry, often hosting bible study followed by a meal. He was known to feed the souls and stomachs of many church members and non-members. Later, he would expand his gifts by volunteering at the SAFE House, providing meals, and mentoring his brothers in Christ. In addition, he would often deliver food, volunteer at local food pantries, and provide milk for Oscar Steer Place.
He was affectionately known as Big Brother, Big John, Brother John, Brother LeNoir, June Bug, Uncle, Papa John, Pawpaw, and most infamously, "Big Daddy Woo-Woo." His power and pride shined through service as a protector, provider, disciplinarian, mentor, chef, weightlifter, and "antiques" enthusiast (or as his grandkids call it, Baby Boomer hoarding). His devotion and life's work could be seen by the love he poured into those around him. He believed that great love could be shown through prayer and the provisions of meals. If ever in doubt, he could be found at Sunday dinner; he gifted his loved ones with fond memories of cooking lessons, recipes, and laughter.
He is preceded in his heavenly transition by his wife, Rebecca J. LeNoir, both his parents, his sister Brenda A. LeNoir-Mullins, brother-in-law Stephen F. Burden, niece Knichole A. Barrett, granddaughter Payton K. McMullen.
John will be eternally cherished and dearly missed byhis large family and community for whom he cared deeply. John is survived by his children, John C. LeNoir, Yolanda S. McMullen (Troy) (Champaign, IL), Tirsha S. LeNoir (Belleville, IL), and LaToya M. LeNoir (Champaign, IL). He is also survived by his first wife, Christeen Puckett and his sisters, Kathy Perkins, Hattie LeNoir-Price, Gloria P.A. LeNoir, (Champaign, IL), Helen D. LeNoir (Broadview, IL), Shirley LeNoir (Houston, TX), Jacqueline Burden (Fairburn, GA), and Nyoka LeNoir-Cooper (Sim) (Hanover Park, IL), along with two aunts, 16 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, a host of nieces and nephews, and many friends.
A Celebration of Life will commemorate at 12:00 Noon Wednesday April 19, 2023 at Canaan Baptist Church. Eulogies Rev. BJ Tatum. Visitation will begin at 11:00 am until the time of the service.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of John Wesley Lenoir, please visit our floral store.