OLD SETTLERS MEMORIAL PRAYER • Believing They Go To A Better Life


Almighty God,

In the past year, our Father, we have praised Thee in prayer; we have also offered supplications to Thee for our nation's health, our neighbors' health, and our own health. Forgive us for those moments when we individually and collectively falter, when we cry why when those we love are taken from us.

Help us believe they go to a better life, that we too shall join them in eternity. Help us to accept Thy will, and help us, instead of questioning, to be grateful for the times we had on earth with those now on the other side with Thee.

We thank Thee for the examples set for us by servants like Terry Todt, so beloved for his work on the WSMI airwaves; in his years on air he cheered many with a positive attitude, not only as he broadcast high school sporting events but as he brought the news or the music of the day to a multi-county area. Ken Bradbury also gave us welcome uplift with the characters he portrayed in his weekly Coonridge Digest column published in area newspapers; he made us smile at ourselves.

Alicia Lynn Grosenheider battled cancer as it must be fought, with a smile on her face and bigger concerns for fellow victims than for herself. She was instrumental in the formation and expansion of the Montgomery County Breast Cancer Support group. Martha Cassity Jackson, a retired teacher, was one of the founders of the Litchfield Museum, a major Rt. 66 attraction in the county.

Our area lost many who toiled the rich soil this past year, though some of those now in greener pastures had off-the-farm jobs to help support their families. Leonard Keith Miller, a Korean War vet, also owned Miller's Lime Service on a country road east of Fillmore; the company served our ag community for decades. Dale Houck farmed near Irving after serving in the Army during the Korean War and then joining the Army Reserves. Charles Voyles of Panama farmed and was a member of the Pork Producers, but he also drove a school bus and worked in a Greenville factory.

Earl Hayes farmed and raised cattle near Butler while managing the Standard Oil Fertilizer plant located there before becoming a correctional officer at Graham; his son, Lee Hayes, a truck driver, passed two days after his father. Thomas H. Miller farmed near Sorento and was a strong supporter of children's programs in the Sorento Baptist Church.

Dale Calame, from the Witt area, was a farmer and a former Moose member. Near Sorento Mary Arndt was the co-owner/operator of Arndt's Game Farm, which specialized in upland game birds. She also sold ceramics and other craft items. Charles "Ted" McFarlin, Sr., farmed and raised his family on Micenheimer Avenue east of the North Road after serving in the Navy during WWII. Alice M. Moyer, husband John, and their son farmed in a 1950s fashion when they lived south of Taylor Springs along Rt. 127 before moving to Kentucky. Mrs. Moyer was a farm bureau member who worked for the laundry and dietary departments in local nursing homes.

Evelyn Bauerle worked at the Roller Derby Skate Corp. after helping her husband farm near Irving; and Marilyn Leuschke owned and ran Star Acres Riding Stable near Irving. She also was a homemaker, a foster parent, and a clerk/typist for the Illinois Secretary of State. Darrell Lemon was a welder who farmed near Butler.

Carol Bergman helped her husband farm west of Hillsboro; a member of the farm bureau, she was also a homemaker. Betty Boldt was born in Panama, lived in Sorento, and helped on the family farm. She also refinished furniture for Kelly's Antiques.

1970 Hillsboro High School graduate Bill Manning, of Sorento, farmed and was Shoal Creek Township Road Commisioner who played Santa Claus for the Litchfield Seniors Club. 

Sovereign God, we thank Thee for those individuals among us wise enough to believe in hard work, the roll up the sleeves and do the job ethic that has always sustained this community. Among those who practiced sweat equity every working day were Brian Williamson, who grew up in Hillsboro, lived in Witt, and worked in the county's recycling center; Mary Jane Shelbourne of Coffeen, who worked as a machinist at Olin Corporation; and Paul White of Coffeen, a mechanic at CIPS and a deacon of the Mt. Moriah Church.

Betty Jean Lienemann of Butler delivered the mail, facing that famous wind, sleet, rain, and snow every day in a vehicle. So did Kathleen Carlock of rural Coffeen. She also braved the rigors of school bus driving and refinished antique furniture while raising two active sons. Betty J. Toberman was a Coffeen postal worker and a member of Eastern Star who moved to Florida to be near her daughter after retirement.

Witt's Bob Durbin was a Decatur Caterpillar retiree who served figuratively on the county board and literally on a food truck at once-popular community auctions. Richard Blake of Sorento was a 40+ year member of Operating Engineers Local 513, and Mark Caldwell spent 30 years toiling at the Crown 3 Mine in Farmersville. Margaret Scheiffer, the mother of three sons, mined coal for Consol in Coffeen, worked in the CIPS plant, owned Maggie's Tavern in Schram City, and worked at Hillsboro Glass.

Gene Elmore of Coffeen enjoyed a long career as a custodian for Hillsboro Unit Schools; Michael Beach of Taylor Springs worked when he could find work and enjoyed the outdoors, as did Alfred Wilson, a member of the Shoal Creek Fox Hunters Association. Kevin "Smiley" Catalano of Butler was both an over-the-road trucker and a diesel mechanic who enjoyed fishing and hunting.

Coffeen's Tom Mills was a Ford mechanic for 38 years, 19 locally and 19 more in Alton. He was also an Air Force veteran and a Coffeen volunteer fireman. Bob Clanton of Coffeen worked for 33 years at a rock quarry in Nokomis; Carl Hatfield had a coal-mining career in West Virginia. Wes Ricke of rural Fillmore was a maintenance worker; Rick Hodge of Litchfield, but who attended Hillsboro schools, worked on the assembly line for Schutt Sports.

Stephen Holder of Witt was a truck driver and an outdoorsman. Ralph Baker of Hillsboro mined coal for 20 years and farmed for  20 years. Jesse Jones of Hillsboro was a crane operator for Inland Steel in both Indiana and East Chicago. Community volunteer Dorothy Hosto of Sorento worked for and retired from Bunn-O-Matic. HHS grad Sherry (Purcell) Derry of Witt worked for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in Springfield for over two decades.

James E. Davis attended the Christian Church in Hillsboro; he is survived by a daughter in Mattoon and two grandchildren. Marie Stewart-Mueller served in the laundry department of a nursing home. Kenneth Dean White of Witt was a concessionaire and is survived by nine children.

Ruth Nessl of Sorento worked for Small Arms in St. Louis during WWII, then went to Olin Corporation for 40 more years. She lived to be 102. Panama's Ruby Tipsword was a mail clerk in Sorento but also worked for the Army Depot, first in Decatur and then in Tom's River,  N.J. Louis "Sam" Dodds was one of three brothers and a sister who attended Hillsboro High School while growing up in Coffeen; he moved to Virginia Beach, where he worked as a mason and an east coast deep sea fisherman. Kevin Perkins was an HHS grad who first worked for his dad as a carpenter/roofer and then had his own construction company before becoming a boilermaker. Dave Devaisher was the maintenance man for Korner Spirits.

Competitive fisherman Dave Reynolds worked for Hurst-Rosche, Consol Coal, and the Illinois Department of Transportation. He was also an amateur radio enthusiast. Janet Roseland of Witt began her career at Ronk Electric in Nokomis before moving to CIPS as plant supervisor. Bob Veres of Panama was a maintenance welder at CIPS for 37 years. Eric Felix spent his early years in Hillsboro, then moved to Florida and California; among other jobs he worked as a construction supervisor. Staunton native Kyle Gundlach lived in Butler when he lost his battle with cancer.

Irving's Harold Schmidt was a diesel mechanic at Caulk Brothers Trucking in Irving; he enjoyed fishing and camping. Mark Horn was a warehouse manager. Hillsboro's Ronnie Melow drove a truck, was a boilermaker and enjoyed motorcycles. Michael Nelson, formerly of Fillmore, lived in Chicago while working for United Parcel Service and did some IT support before succumbing to leukemia.

Farrie Burris Ihns worked at Hillsboro Glass; she lived to be 102, outliving all other members of the Taylor Springs Birthday Club. Andrew Shemeline of Witt had been an iron worker and a cattle rancher, and William Wilhelm, also of Witt, was a mechanic at ASARCO in Taylor Springs. Bill Dean Harris, Jr., of Witt and a member of the Witt Lions Club, worked at Echlin and was quality control administration at Pittsburgh Pipe in the Litchfield Industrial Park. Matt Jones, who lived in Taylor Springs, worked for TC4 in Vandalia and liked outdoor activities.

Pastor Terry Pope of Sorento retired as a semi-driver but became an associate pastor for two churches -- the Donnellson and Sorento Baptist churches. Other ministers went home as well. The Rev. Tom Compton, who served as a United Methodist minister for 30 years, most in Hillsboro, leaves a son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren in Witt. He was here often to watch his grandchildren play soccer and basketball - and he watches still. Ralph Elam of Walshville was a Baptist minister for over 56 years while also working at Hano Business Forms in Mt. Olive. The Rev. Robert McDonald of Fillmore was an ordained Baptist minister who helped establish the Grace Fellowship Church; and John Wilson Cooper Sr., a Vietnam Air Force vet, was a retired UMC minister who moved to this area to be near his son's family. Imagine the ecumenical theological discussions taking place on the other side of the Jordan River.

Jim White, an Irving native, was an Army vet who became president of the Security National Bank in Witt. Another Army veteran, Don Snow of Coffeen, had a long career in utilities, including stops at CIPS in Coffeen, Newton, and Meredosia and the central office in Springfield where he served as a cost accountant. Marion Bircher and her husband founded radio station WINU-AM in Highland and helped run it until her 1991 retirement, when she too moved to the area to be near family.

Ed Millhorn lived west of Hillsboro, but within the school district, when he was shipping/receiving manager at the Hiram-Walker (former Ball Brothers) Glass Plant in Schram City. When the plant closed, he moved to the same job in Ft. Smith, AR. He also had a distinguished Army Air Corps stint as a paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne.

We also lost veteran educators. Les Dollinger of Monmouth was a retired superintendent of Hillsboro schools. A National Guard vet, he was a member of the Iowa Football Coaches Hall of Fame. We lost Roger Whitehouse of Northwood Heights; he was a retired teacher and a Coast Guard veteran. Dolores (Wankel) Hoffman was a school teacher, a housewife and a valued community volunteer, as was Master Gardener Leora "Peggy" Brown, who taught in Witt, Texas, and Kentucky. Betty Morgan lived in Greenville and taught at Donnellson, Coffeen and Beckemeyer elementary schools before retiring in 1994.

Robert Kirk, of Litchfield but once of Hillsboro, was an Air Force vet who worked for the county health department for 35 years, retiring in 2001 as Director of Environmental Health.

Often we who live here lose significant-to-us others who live elsewhere. Nora Girth of Bunker Hill, the mother of our Kristy DeLuka, longtime District Three teacher, passed; she was a registered nurse. Veronica C. (Green) Robbins moved from Hillsboro to California after WWII. She worked for the Bloomington, CA, school district and for the First Lutheran Preschool in Fontana, CA while volunteering widely in other clubs and organizations. Kevin McDonald, Sr., of Granite City, the father of Hillsboro resident Kevin McDonald, Jr., and an Air Force vet, passed in May; and Doris Mathews, mother of retired Topper French teacher and tennis coach Mark "Mace" Mathews, died in April. She had been an English teacher at Taylor University. Shirley Zippay, born in Hillsboro, worked for Walmart and at Olin Brass and left a son in Hillsboro.

Conversely, occasionally we receive news of the passing of a former resident. Ken Christian was an HHS grad who was a star football lineman; he became a coal miner in Harrisburg in southern Illinois. Joe Hubbard, whose father taught biology and coached football and basketball here before taking over the boys' program at North Greene, spent his early years in the 'Boro. His mother was the former Charlotte Hersch, a PK (preacher's kid) whose dad was minister of St. Paul's Lutheran Church and whose mother taught elementary school. Joe was a senior account executive for iHeart Radio in Chicago who became a cancer victim. Terry (Cox) Ware, an HHS grad, worked in Human Resources for a firm in Wasilla, AK.

Maurice "Mac" McCollum, formerly of Hillsboro, retired from Conrail to work in Branson, MO, parking cars at theaters; then he moved to Texas. H. Richard Funderburk, a Navy vet and a volunteer firefighter in Hillsboro, moved to Springfield to work in marketing, ultimately becoming an economic development advisor for the state. Andrew Erwin was a construction worker in Bethalto who is survived by a brother, Michael Stevenson, in Hillsboro.

HHS grad Van Reincke grew up in the Irving area, moved to Arizona (perhaps because of golfing weather there), and became a certified public accountant. 

Coffeen's Carl Smith, an Army Air Corp vet, was a radio operator for the 379th Bomber group in WWII. He lived in Orlando, FL, at the time of his death. Panama native Dennis Calufetti became the owner/operator of Midland Inn in Murphysboro.

A 1940 graduate of Irving High, Lamar Hartman was a Navy veteran who survived the Pearl Harbor attack. He was also active in the Guadalcanal Invasion and worked for Phillips Petroleum after his discharge. He was a founding father of the Irving Museum. Korean War veteran Stephen Jagosh came back here after discharge to own and operate a heating, air conditioning, and plumbing firm; later in Florida he had a Honda motorcycle dealership. Air Force vet Jim Hefley retired from the U.S. Postal Service. A gentle man, he was a member of the Illinois Audubon Society and Bremer Sanctuary north of town. He also opened his own property for hummingbird banding parties.

Several Marine Corps vets, other than those already mentioned, passed in the last twelve months. Lenny Homa served in the Pacific Theater, then ran his own beer distributing company and served 23 years as a Hillsboro Township Trustee. Paul Houser served in Korea, then worked for Hillsboro Glass and entertained others by playing guitar in a local band. Bill Niehaus farmed after his Marine service; he was awarded a purple heart. Jeffrey Irvine of Witt came home from Marine duty to work for the Illinois Dept. of Public Health.

The following served in the Navy during the Korean War era. William Somerfield, born in Witt, settled in West Frankfort after his service, working as a machinist. Panama's Charles Dixon drove for Cassen's Transport for 32 years while coaching Little League, Pony League, and 3M League baseball teams for Panama. He also was a Past VFW Post Commander.

Jim Kunz, Jr., a Korean War veteran, farmed, worked at Eagle Picher and as a heavy equipment operator at the Ameren/CIPS plant, and won awards for his art work at many Old Settlers Art Shows. Robert Criswell also served in the Army in Korea; then he worked as a carpenter, relaxed as a beekeeper, and served as a faithful Calvary Baptist member. Army vet Vince Burritt worked in the IGA deli department and was a small engine mechanic for Lessman's Sales and Service.

Allen Zupanci, an HHS grad, grew up on a farm near Hillsboro, went to the Air Force, and settled in Hillview. Everett Smoot was a WWII Air Force vet who turned what he learned in the service into a career as an electronics expert for McDonnell Douglas and others. After retirement he was instrumental in founding the Seventh Day Adventist Church (and its radio station) in Donnellson. Robert "Bobby" Allen of Panama, a Greenville High graduate, was an Army veteran and then a general laborer for over 40 years, working out of Laborer's Local 1084.

Ron Sugg, born in Hillsboro, was also an Air Force vet who became a postal employee and served as president of the Springfield postal workers union. Thomas Wheeling was an Air Force vet as was Gerald "Speed" Eddington who worked on the MX Missile site and at the Pentagon; he too became a postal worker. Panama native Tom Frey became a Master Sergeant in the Air Force.

Robert Cruthis of Sorento served in the Army Air National Guard (the Army Air Corps existed before the Air Force came into existence). Though he became an engineer for Caterpillar in Decatur, Cruthis held a private pilot's license and was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association. Hillsboro native Dick Gifford spent uncomfortable hours crawling through enemy tunnels during the Vietnam War. Compared to that, his civilian duties in maintenance work and as a bird-dog trainer had to seem mundane. As a VFW member he was part of their burial detail.

Hillsboro's Harold Markos was a veteran of the Army Air Corps who served with the Alaskan Air Transport Wing Command. He worked for Shell Oil in Roxana after his discharge, became part of the Wernsing-Markos Appliance  Store in Litchfield, and then accepted a laboratory job with IDOT, where he worked for 25 years. Markos was also a long-time member of the Hillsboro Masonic Lodge.

John Huddleston of Donnellson became both a Navy and an Air Force veteran. Then he directed the transit system of Albuquerque, NM, before moving to this area. Joe Kimball became a Vietnam Era vet who worked as a trucker out of Witt. Larry Schoen, an HHS grad, was awarded multiple medals in his Army career; he became a truck driver as a civilian and was very active in the New Berlin community.

Allan Comer left Hillsboro for the Army; he worked for Propellex south of Donnellson and then became a coal mine inspector. Henry "Ott" Hemken of Walshville was an Army vet who survived WWII to become a veteran laborer for Local 1084. Brian Wells, an HHS grad who attended LLCC, became an Army vet who moved to Decatur. Armour Beckerman survived Omaha Beach and the Battle of the Bulge to return to Hillsboro. He worked for GTE as an installer and offered a local tree trimming service, tame danger compared to his Army days.

Larry Moore, an Army vet who grew up east of Coffeen but lived in Hillsboro, did maintenance and cleaning at the county jail and the Hillsboro Post Office. Robert Hallemann of Sorento returned from Army duty to farm, drive a school bus, and work as a handyman/carpenter. James Kranich, who lived in Hillsboro after living in Litchfield, was an Army vet.

Alfred Elam of Irving had varied career pursuits once he returned from Army duties. He was co-founder of Elam's Towing in Taylor Springs, worked as a tire manufacturer in Joliet, and for a time was greenkeeper at the Hillsboro Country Club. Scotty McDonough, Panama, was an Army retiree who took an interesting job after retirement -- he worked for Manufacturers' Railroad as a switchman at the Anheiser-Busch yards. Clyde Allen was an Army vet who became an ironworker.

Hillsboro's Glenn Wankel finished his Army tour and became a forester. Scott Walker of Irving became a truck driver, the owner of Walker Trucking. James "Bull Dog" Hefley left the Army to work for and retire from Hillsboro Glass; he was a member of the American Kennel Association and the PKC Coon Dog Hunting Club. Witt's Charles M. Golitko was a WWII Army veteran who became a factory worker; his grandson Aaron and family may soon return to Hillsboro.

Lloyd Shipley, once of Fillmore, lived to be 100 after serving in the Navy in WWII. In his civilian lifetime he farmed and worked as a mechanic. Wayne Elliott of Donnellson became a truck driver after his Navy duties; also from the Donnellson area, Floyd Stanton, a WWII era Navy veteran, drove a truck for Clark Oil. Albert Panscik, a Taylor Springs native, lived in Sterling after serving in the Navy during WWII; he worked in industry and for the Sterling School District.

Navy vet Charles Simonton from Taylor Springs went to work at Graham after his service obligation and became head of the laundry department. Donald Lee Shoemaker, Sr., was a Navy career man who also joined the Army Reserves and the National Guard. He worked too as a security guard for the state. Stanley Eyman of the Donnellson area survived Navy duty in Vietnam to return to a long career as a purchasing agent for DeMoulin in Greenville. He also farmed.

Richard Whitehead, an HHS graduate, became a member of the Navy and then a factory worker in Elgin after service duties. He retired back to Hillsboro, becoming a recognizable character as a spectator at high school basketball games and Hillsboro City Council meetings. Navy veteran Ed Becker came back from Navy duty to work for and retire from Hillsboro Glass. Kenneth White from Coffeen was a security administrator for the Illinois State Police after a stint in the Navy.

Always, our Father, we as a community are jolted by those we think have left us too soon. Strengthen us as we remember infants Ellie Marie Hillbrant-Scheifer of Irving and Allie Faye McCaslin of Witt. To terrible diseases we lost Bayleigh Hartman, the 23-year-old mother of three, and Layton Pezold of Litchfield. Many prayers locally were offered on their behalf.

Vehicle accidents snatched Samantha LaPradd, Cameron Levi Gutierrez, and Gavin Twitty, an HHS graduate, from our midst. Also leaving before we would have wished if we had a choice were Miranda Singler, Cody Haines, Brooke Naylor, Angelo Romero, and Nate Wilhelm. We wanted to know them better.

Others from Main Street businesses we knew quite well; that didn't make our pain, our misunderstanding, any less. Faye Degani was a co-owner of Gene's Tavern in Panama, and she liked to bring comfort to nursing home residents. Sarah Reynolds clerked at Casey's General stores. Don Sale, a Korean War Army vet, ran a print shop on School Street and was very active in Masonic lodges. Darrin Jorn did computerized, artistic signage in his shop on South Main; he was one of the town's graphic artwork specialists.

"Grandma Jo" Harris held body and soul together with various jobs downtown, including clerking at Ross' Shoe Store, but she honored Thee and helped our souls with her gospel renditions at church events. Norman Rosentreter, a WWII Army vet, owned and operated Rosentreter's Insurance Agency in Hillsboro. He was active in the KCs and the VFW. Sadly, we also lost his son Andrew, an HHS graduate who joined his dad in the agency. Andrew had been a volunteer firefighter.

Two former Sears Roebuck employees in the big retail store on the corner of West Seward and Courthouse Square passed since last we met in prayer. Betty Whitworth opened a Sears Catalogue store after the big store closed its doors. Her friend and co-worker, Madeline Springer, who lived to be a spry 101, cheering for the Cubs all those years, worked for Sears for over 40 years.

Marjorie Simmons had driven from Coffeen to work in Hillsboro, for Hillsboro National Bank and for the county's health department; after retirement she took part in many community activities. Jimmy Dean White of Taylor Springs seemed bigger than life at times as an entrepreneur/businessman; a heavy equipment operator, he also owned and operated The White House Lounge and My Place Bar and Grill in Taylor Springs, B&B Convenience Store in Butler and several rental properties as well as belonging to the Donnellson Masonic Lodge. He died in a motorcycle accident in Bond County.

Nancy (Atterberry) Miller, a 1960 HHS graduate, attended college in California before returning to Illinois to teach at Auburn High School. Ida Menghini of Taylor Springs cooked for the Moonlight Y and clerked for Mode-O-Day, a downtown Hillsboro dress shop. Fred Gates was famous locally for pizzas he built at Gates Pizza in Schram City and then at Trail's End in Taylor Springs. Clarissa Choate of Coffeen worked as a legal secretary. Witt's Nancy Newquist was a floral designer who played softball well locally.

Cass Bellaver, first a teller, then a secretary at National Bank, also worked in the circuit clerk's office. Arlene White was a beautician and homemaker in Hillsboro. Ellen (Kent) Overton grew up in Coffeen and was office manager for DC Waste and Recycling. She was also a volunteer for Paws Care. Thomas Andrew Ondrey IV, an HHS grad, moved to California where he became a realtor and a department manager for Walmart.

Melvin Zimmerman was a Hillsboro nursing home administrator and the leader of Boy Scout Troop #90. Tammy (Seabaugh) Cressey left rural Sorento for Florida where she became an industrial electrician and a scuba diver, even working on a dive boat. Beulah B. (Carlock) Castleman, a Coffeen native but Sorento resident, was a secretary for McDonnell-Douglas in St. Louis. Hillsboro's Edna Lang worked at Boone's Shoe Store and for the county's Tuberculosis Control Department. Marti Lyerla worked at Starlight in Kincaid.

Carol Baran of Hillsboro was a multi-talented person rooted in her Baptist faith. She and husband Bill owned and operated a paint/wallpaper/and Christian bookstore in downtown Hillsboro. She taught a Sunday School class at Calvary Baptist and supported Bill as Hillsboro mayor. Laurie (Weston) Gansner became a clerical worker at the health department.

Wilda Prater provided tax preparation services to residents of Fillmore and others for 58 years; she attended the Fillmore Baptist Church for more than 60 years. Frances Hopley had an upholstery business locally, and in Florida was an environmental science manager in Homestead. Virginia Dankoski owned Dankoski's Antiques for 21 years near the eastern end of East Tremont Street in Hillsboro, and she belonged to the Hillsboro Garden Club.

Hazel Edwards, who lived in a brick house in Schram City, worked at the Hillsboro Dress Factory and at Hillsboro Glass before joining husband Paul in selling real estate and insurance. She lived to be 100. Betty Traylor of Schram City did clerical work for the city and for the Hillsboro/Pana Mutual Insurance Company. Willie D. Strobel lived in Vandalia but was co-owner of Coaches Insurance which had an office in Coffeen. Dorothy Bracey, a Mississippi native, was a factory worker.

David Boone was another local entrepreneur before the word was popularized; be booked bands in the area, painted murals, and even owned the Coliseum Ballroom in Benld for a time. Another HHS grad, John Ward Parlante, had a career in finance in Georgia. Mary Lou Knostman was a 60+ year member of Eastern Star and also was a member of the Christiana Tillson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She worked in the Pawnee Bank.

Florence Booher was a teller at the Coffeen National Bank for 27 years. She was a member of the Coffeen Eastern Star. A former Coffeen resident, she was a switchboard operator there. Pearl Crawford became an accounting auditor in Edwardsville. A waitress at Canton Inn and Trail's End, Patricia Wallace from Panama was also a collector for Bailey's Time Shares when that office was in Litchfield.

Our Father, prayers are offered daily for those whose job is to protect us, either as law enforcement officers or as those in charge of the institutions that house those who have gone astray. The keepers of the gate deserve extra prayers. HHS graduate S. Gene Guinn, a Schram City native, entered the Army after high school and then became a correctional officer at Stateville and Vandalia before beginning a 30 year career as a Litchfield police officer, retiring in 2005. Army vet (and cook) Cordell E. Coates, Sr., of Sorento became Chief Deputy for the Bond County Sheriff's office. Jan Schaefer was a corrections officer at Graham for 22 years; she lived in Staunton. Todd Ricke of rural Fillmore was a handyman around his neighborhood who worked at the Vandalia Correctional Center as a guard. Herman Greene, a WWII Army vet, Second Calvary Division, became a food manager for the California Department of Corrections before retiring to Hillsboro.

Valerie Sheldon of Hillsboro and Schram City became police chief of Raymond after serving them as a patrol person on a part-time basis. She was a victim of a non-duty car accident south of Raymond; she had been an EMA volunteer for the local Search and Rescue Team. Tony Row had worked for Hillsboro and Nokomis police departments. A Naval Reserve veteran, he was a member of the Gibson City Police Department at the time of his death.

We have other, even less unsung heroes, among us – those who care for us, especially when we are in our weakest states. Sandy Lawson worked at Hillsboro Area Hospital while living in Taylor Springs. Carol Leetham was a CNA at Southtown Nursing Home; a visiting nurse for the Montgomery County Health Department; and worked at Litchfield Family Practice.

Wayne Belanger retired to Hillsboro after 30 years as a clinical nurse specialist in Hines Veterans' Administration Hospital. He volunteered here, especially at the lakes, serving as a member of the city's Natural Resource Committee and Imagine Hillsboro. Debbie (Langston) Montgomery was a CNA who worked in nursing homes and home health care. Karen Londrigan, a retired nurse, grew flowers around her home and loved bird watching and butterflies.

Patsy Douglas was a nursing assistant at HAH for more than 23 years while Loretta Hokenson from Coffeen worked in the dietary department at HAH. Donna Wilderman, who had lived in the Coffeen area, worked as a CNA for Heritage Health Care in Pana. Mary (Seymour) Grassel, an HHS and Washington University College of Nursing graduate was a nurse in Chicago who retired to Arkansas where she spent three decades volunteering in the hospital and nursing home after her husband's death.

Judy Allen of Panama earned multiple certificates in health care as she worked in Belleville and Greenville hospitals. JoAnn (Compagni) Elizondo worked in the dietary department at HAH; and Laura Draper, a registered nurse at both Hillsboro and St. Francis in Litchfield, also taught Red Cross swimming lessons for 30+ years. Charlene Butler was a housekeeper for HAH for 17 years and also cleaned houses.

Homemakers have to be part doctor, part teacher, part psychologist and always a helpmate as their role changes over the years. They indeed become Thy true and faithful servants as the years pass. Shirley Edwards, wife of former HUMC pastor Bob Edwards, was active in the church's work. Priscilla McDowell, among her many duties, kept Hillsboro papers aware of comings and goings of Fillmore citizens as the town's correspondent. Also an early telephone switchboard operator in East St. Louis as well as a homemaker, Faye Powell lived in Panama and had a wide range of artistic talent.

Joyce Thacker of Sorento also had many interests, including artistic ones. Berneice (Brewer) Wall was actively involved with the Sorento Assembly of God Church for over 50 years. Other homemakers from Fillmore were Doris Miller and Dorris Alexander. Although Pauline Lipe of Hillsboro is remembered most for raising her family of boys, including a pair of twins, she also helped her husband manage the  liquor store they owned. She was a member of the Council for Catholic Women.

Debbie Hughes, a 1970 HHS graduate, loved her pets. Lisa Stokes of Witt was a Hillsboro native who was buried in Ramsey. Fillmore's Mary Hayes and Sorento's Mary Branz enjoyed cooking and baking. Shirley Egelhoff of Witt has a surviving daughter in Arizona. Shirly Ginos, a U of I graduate, and her husband Judge Ginos, owned and operated the Manor Motel on Rt. 16/South Main Street in Hillsboro. Both were very active in the Christian Church.

Margaret Chumley of the Coffeen area was a Fillmore UMC member; Paula Kuhl of Coffeen enjoyed boating and camping while Mary Otto was a Bingham area homemaker and farm wife. F. Darline Spears, a member of Eastern Star, was a church choir director. Ollie Witt of rural Butler particularly enjoyed gardening. Two sons live in Taylor Springs.

Other Witt homemakers include Janette Ledbetter and Debbie Emerson; Margaret Nelson lived in Fillmore and Dorothy Matthews from Taylor Springs worked part-time at Kink's Kor-ner in Schram City. Sharon Ricke lived near Coffeen and worked for a time in Hillsboro as a merchant.

Marie Annabelle Williams of Coffeen worked various jobs in the area, then became a volunteer at HAH and for Senior Citizen Centers. "Dottie" (Homa) Bennett, after raising her brood, had a second career as a secretary in McKendree College's library. Caroline Cruthis, full-time mother and homemaker, liked watching MASH and listening to Elvis.

Naomi Coleman, formerly of Panama, was known for her kindness as was Joanne Ellis of Hillsboro. Tammy Eardley of Witt, formerly of Wilsonville, is survived by a son in Witt. Rickey Huffman, a Sorento homemaker, enjoyed crafting but cherished her family.

Our supplications to Thee once again are about us as we struggle to understand how to go on into the future with only memories of those we held too tightly, perhaps desperately, while they were alive.

Sustain us, our Father, as we learn to live without them. We pray in Thy holy name.



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