Mary Ellen Wright-Naylor – Benton

Mary Ellen Wright-Naylor, 94, of Benton, IL, passed away at 6:55 a.m., Saturday, May 27, 2017, at Nature Trail Nursing Home in Mt. Vernon, IL.

She was born on April 15, 1923, to Russell and Ruby (Wright) Kilgore. Mary Ellen retired as a LPN for Good Samaritan. She married Leon Wright and he preceded her in death on March 1, 1981. She later married Ted Naylor who also preceded her in death on September 29, 2005.

She was a member of North Benton Baptist Church in Benton, IL.

Mary Ellen is survived by, one daughter, Carolyn (Terry) Wright-McCauley of Mt. Vernon, IL; one son, David Wright of Columbus, OH.; five grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Russell and Ruby Kilgore, first husband, Leon Wright, second husband, Theodore “Ted” Naylor, one son, Robert Wright, two brothers, Russell Wayne Kilgore and Robert Donald Kilgore in infancy.

Services have been entrusted to Pate Funeral Home, Benton, IL.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Pate Funeral Home, 301 S. Main St. Benton, IL.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 7:00 p.m. at the Pate Funeral Home, Benton, IL.

Per Mary Ellen’s wishes cremation will take place and will be buried with her first husband, Leon, in Walnut Grove Cemetery in Worthington, OH.

Memorials may be made to the National Kidney Foundation or to Alzheimer’s Association and will be accepted at the funeral home.

Online condolences can be given at

Joseph Baker – Christopher

Joseph Wayne Baker, 50, of Christopher, IL, passed away on Saturday, May 27, 2017, at the Franklin Hospital ER.

He was born on December 8, 1966, to David and Francis (Cihak) Baker in Oak Lawn, IL. He married the former Judith “Judy” Meier. Joseph was a loving husband, father, and son. He enjoyed fishing.

Joseph is survived by his loving wife, Judith Baker, his six loving children, Thomas Baker, Emily Baker, Autumn Baker, Cathy Baker, Pearl Baker and Kimberly Baker; his father, David Baker; two brothers, Mark (Cheryl) Baker and Thomas (Michelle) Baker; and three nephews, Michael Baker, Matthew Baker, and Jason Baker.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Francis Baker.

Services have been entrusted to Pate Funeral Home, Benton, IL.

Per his wishes, cremation will  take place.

Online condolences can be given at

Nellie Kelley – Benton

Nellie J. Kelley, 59, of Benton IL, passed away at 4:45 a.m., on Saturday, May 27, 2017, at her residence.

She was born on July 2, 1957, to Don and Regina Duncan in Benton, IL.  On November 18, 1983, she married Vince Kelley and he survives.

Nellie was a 1975 graduate from Benton Consolidated High School. She received her Bachelors of Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in Criminal Justice. Nellie worked as a Teachers Aid for Benton Consolidated High School. She was a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend to many. Nellie enjoyed decorating for every holiday, planting flowers and sudoku puzzles.

Nellie is survived by her loving husband Vince Kelley of Benton IL., one son, Corey Kelley of Benton, IL; one daughter, Mallory Kelley of Benton, IL; her father and step-mother, Don and Linda Duncan of Benton, IL.; two sisters and a brother, Susan (Jess) Spohn of Buckner, IL,Cindy (Kevin) Worthey-Alvis of Benton, IL., Roger (Tammy) Duncan of Benton, IL.; a step-brother and sister, Danny (Sue) Robey of Destin, FL. and Brook (Shawn) Craig of Benton, IL.; and her loving pets, Runt and Petey.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Regina Duncan; and step-sister, Kim Anderson.

Services will be privately held at Pate Funeral Home with the Rev. Ross Worthey.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois.

Online condolences can be given at

Vera Flowers – Mulkeytown

Vera L. (Hiller) Flowers, 86, of Mulkeytown IL passed away in the Sunshine Gardens Memory Care Unit on Sunday May 28, 2017.

Vera was born on March 24, 1931 to Everett and Bonnie (Sanders) Hiller in Christopher.

She graduated from Christopher High School in 1948, where she was a proud Bearcat cheerleader, and married Larry D. Flowers on November 23, 1950 at the First Christian Church in Christopher.  They shared over 66 years of marriage together.

Vera owned and operated many businesses with her family including Vera’s Flower’s and Gifts, Flowers Fashions, Larry’s Trailer Sales and Flowers Farms.

Throughout her life, Vera was very active, social and involved with the Zeigler Saddle Club, Christopher Saddle Club, Boy Scouts, Zeigler Eastern Star, Homemaker’s Extension as well as holding several positions at area churches.  She was active in horse shows for her sons and attended most events for her grandchildren.  Vera always looked forward to her annual high school class reunions, often hosting the celebrations at her home.

Vera is survived by her husband Larry D. Flowers, son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Gayle Flowers, grandchildren Lacey Holt, Larry A. Flowers, Courtney Flowers, Chad Flowers, and Chase Flowers, great grandson A.J. Holt, daughter-in-law Pricilla Flowers, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Kenneth and Carolyn Flowers as well as several nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

Vera was preceded in death by her parents, one son Larry Allen Flowers, brother and sister-in-law Archie and Doris Hiller, and a sister and brother-in-law, Loretta and Nelson Harris.

Graveside services will be on Tuesday May 30, 2017 at 1:00 PM at the Mulkeytown Cemetery with brother Denny Bush officiating. Visitation will be on Tuesday May 30, 2017 at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher from 11:00 AM until 12:45 PM.

Vera’s family would like to thank all the caregivers and staff at Sunshine Gardens Memory Care for their love, respect and dignity provided to Vera and the family as well as the caregivers at Reflections Memory Care and Hospice of Southern Illinois.  In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Sunshine Gardens Memory Care Unit or to Hospice of Southern Illinois and will be accepted at the funeral home.  For more information go to our website

Olga Roush – Christopher

Olga B. Roush, 88 of Chirstopher IL, passed away on Saturday May 27, 2017 at 5:30 AM at Parkway Manor in Marion.

She was born on January 19, 1929 in Chihuahua, Mexico, to Tolstoy Leo and Margarita (Castellanos) Binswanger.

 She is survived by her children Kitty and Mark Cavinder of Mulkeytown, Mark Roush of Midland, TX, Paul Roush of Lubbock, TX, Viki and Joe Jensen of Midland, TX; grandchildren Kimberly and James Nesler of Herrin, Mandy Sneed of Christopher, Casey Cavinder of Mulkeytown, Tracy Cavinder of St. Louis, MO, Lucas Roush of Arlington, OR, Sarah Roush of Lubbock, TX, Marta Jensen of St Paul, MN, Emma Jensen, Midland, TX, Matthew Roush of Lubbock, TX; great grandchildren Hannah Nesler and Jake Nesler both of Herrin; brother Lewis Binswanger of El Paso, TX.

She was preceded in death by her parents, one sister Enedina Ellzey, one sister-in-law Corine Binswanger, one brother-in-law Paul Ellzey, grandson Vincent Paul Sneed, three great grandchildren Eliana Kathryn Nesler, Karissa Hazel Nesler, and Alexa Renee Nesler.

Olga lived the majority of her life in Carlsbad, NM, where she raised her four children.  She retired from the banking business while living in Carlsbad.  She relocated to Christopher in 2005.  She enjoyed being with family, reading, crocheting, needlepoint, and crossword puzzles.  She was a member of St. Andrews Catholic Church in Christopher.

She was an amazing lady, whose loving presence brilliantly shined upon all those with which she came into contact.  She will be sadly missed by her entire family, including her beloved Abigail, a three year old red short-haired miniature dachshund.

Graveside service will be on Thursday June 1, 2017 at 11:00 AM with Father Urban Osuji officiating at the St Andrews Catholic Cemetery in Christopher.  Friends and family are asked to meet at the cemetery. Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher is handling arrangements.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the St Andrews Catholic Cemetery, envelopes will be available at the cemetery.

For more information go to our website

Gordon Higginson – Benton

Gordon Lewis Higginson, age 82, of Benton IL, passed away at 3:05 p.m. Thursday, May 25, 2017 at Helia Healthcare of Benton.

Mr. Higginson was born on November 4, 1934 in Wabash County, Illinois, the son of Leo Higginson and Caradena (Stadler) Higginson. He married the former Janet Bruce on April 24, 1953, and she survives.

He formerly worked for Ashland Valvoline Oil Company for 36 years until his retirement. He was a 52 year member of Pond River Masonic Lodge #244 in Greenville, KY. And he was a member of First Baptist Church of Thompsonville.

Gordon enjoyed quarter horses and trucks. He was known for his ability to fix anything and help anyone that asked.

Surviving are his wife of 64 years, Janet Higginson of Benton; three children: Stephanie Hobbs and husband Russell of Christopher, Bruce Higginson and wife Theresa of Benton, Beth Moore and husband John of Benton; four grandchildren: Jason Hobbs and wife Tiffanie, Kyle Hobbs, Shelby Biggs and husband Aaron, Taylor Moore; two great-grandchildren: Carson Hobbs and Tinley Hobbs; three sisters: Letha Michels, Lois Helm both of Mt. Carmel, IL, Dolores Elliot of Olney, IL; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers Donald Higginson and Bernard Higginson, and a sister Phyllis Hayes.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, May 28, 2017 at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton, with Rev. Rod Joplin officiating. Visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. Masonic Rites will be observed at 2:00 p.m. with funeral service to follow.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association and will be accepted at the funeral home.

To leave online condolences to the family, or to share memories of Gordon, visit

Christopher Coniglio – Mulkeytown

Christopher Louis Coniglio, age 29, of Mulkeytown IL, passed away at 9:36 a.m. Friday, May 19, 2017 at his home.

Christopher was born on May 20, 1987 in Pontiac, IL, the son of Gregg Allen Steimle and Christine Louise Coniglio.

Mr. Coniglio was a 2005 graduate of Murphysboro High School, and was employed in the Service and Tire Department at Carbondale Wal-Mart.

His family said, “He was the best father in the entire world. He was so very attentive and loving when it came to his children, and he always put his family first”. He was gifted with musical talents and enjoyed playing the guitar, drums, and saxophone. He was also skilled at carpentry, and enjoyed camping, fishing, gun safety, and video gameplay during his free time. He was a great person to have as a friend, and very compassionate and understanding to people from all walks of life.

Christopher is survived by his loving mother Christine Coniglio of Mulkeytown; his future-wife-to-be and mother of his two beautiful children, Rebeccah Vogt of Mulkeytown; his two children who were his world, Emily and Atticus Coniglio; two brothers: Matthew Kupcikevicius and wife Miranda of Mulkeytown, Nickolas Kupcikevicius of Joliet, IL; grandparents: Greg and Diana Steimle of Pontiac, IL, Kathy Coniglio of Hickory, NC, Frank “Chico” Coniglio and wife Teresa of Carbondale; step-grandparents: Kazys “Kup” Kupcikevicius and wife Jeanne of Bradley, IL; six aunts: Terry and Connie Coniglio, Dawn Wolfe, Rachel Francis, Krystal Coniglio-Sanders, Florence Caraway; uncle Andy Steimle; and nephew Joshua Kupcikevicius.

He was preceded in death by his father.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 27, 2017 at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton, with Pastor Rick Jackson officiating. Visitation will be from noon to 2:00 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home. Friends and family are welcome to gather after the services at the Greenwood United Methodist Church, outside of Christopher.

Memorial contributions may be made to the family of Christopher Louis Coniglio, and will be accepted at the funeral home or through the GoFundMe account set up in Christopher’s name:

To leave online condolences to the family, or to share memories of Christopher, visit




Kenneth Biggs – Christopher

Kenneth Wayne Biggs, 63, of Christopher passed away on Monday May 22, 2017 at his home.

He was born October 5, 1953 in Christopher, IL, to Eugene and Sena (Rice) Biggs.  He married Kris (Overturf) Biggs and she survives of Christopher.

He is survived by his wife Kris Biggs of Christopher, children Amy Hargis of Sesser, Tim Biggs of Johnston City, and Eric Biggs of Christopher; 5 grandchildren; brothers and sisters Gene Biggs, Ray Biggs, Rich “Kirby” and Millie Biggs, Joanne and Chuck Miner, Cathy and Denny Franklin.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister Phyllis Jean Biggs.

He was a coalminer and had worked at Old Ben Coal Company, Inland Steel, Kerr-Mcgee, and Peabody Gateway Mine in Coulterville.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday May 27, 2017 at 1:00 PM at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher with Pastor Josh Wehrmeier officiating.  Visitation will be on Saturday May 27, 2017 from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Second Chance Rescue of Franklin County and will be accepted at the funeral home.

For more information go to our website

Marsha Green – Zeigler

Marsha Dawn Green, 48, passed away on Sunday May 21, 2017 as a result of an automobile accident.

She was born March 9, 1969 in Benton, IL, to Wade Lemons and Malissa (Overton) Keith. She married Thomas D. Green and he survives.

Survivors include her father Wade Lemons of Sesser, mother and step-father Malissa and Robert Keith of Zeigler, children Timothy D. Green, Malissa N. Green, Alicia F. Green all of Paducah, KY, step-children Matthew D. Green, Aaron G. Green, Jordan M. Klingaman all of Paducah, KY, grandchildren Aurianna, Annabella, Abi and Alex, sisters Sara E. Wetherbee, Amanda J. Lemons, Rachael L. Hampton, and Dana Green, step-brothers David Smith, Robin Smith and Tim Southall.

She was a server for 15 years at Tequilas in Marion.

Funeral services will be on Friday May 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM at the Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser, with Brother Wayne Purdie officiating.  Burial will be in Hammond Cemetery in Sesser.  Visitation will be on Friday May 26, 2017 from 11:00 until 1:00 PM at the funeral home.


Glenn Byars – Christopher

Glenn R. Byars, 89, passed away on May 9, 2017, in the Community Living Center at the Veterans Administration in Marion, IL.  He was the son of Luby and Mary (Silkwood) Byars and was born June 10, 1927, in Christopher, IL

He was united in marriage to Josephine (Venegoni) Byars on June 24, 1950, at the First Baptist Church, Christopher, IL, and together, they shared more than 66 years of marriage.

Glenn was a 1945 graduate of Christopher High School.  After graduation, he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.  He was an Alumnus of Southern Illinois University, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education in 1950.  In 1958, he received a Master’s Degree from SIU in Guidance and Administration.

He began his teaching career at Elkville High School, where he implemented an Industrial Arts program and coached football and basketball.  After two years, he was asked to implement the same program at Christopher High School.  There, he also taught science and physical education and coached track, basketball, baseball, and softball. In 1959, Mr. Byars was named Principal of Christopher Jr. High School and in 1966 was appointed the Superintendent, where he served for 10 years.

After a long career in the education field, he retired in 1984 with 35 years of service. Mr. Byars initiated the first summer recreation program in Christopher, for children 7 to 18 years old. Various summer activities included soccer, volleyball, ping pong, basketball, baseball, and swimming.  Later, he and his assistant and dear friend, Gene Helfrich, originated the Khoury League baseball program in Christopher.

Glenn Byars will be remembered as an avid sportsman.  His favorite remark was “I’m a participator, not a spectator!”  He enjoyed hunting, fishing, trap and skeet shooting, and golfing.  In his younger days, he played on independent basketball and volleyball teams.  He thoroughly enjoyed his times spent with his sons, family, and friends at these sporting events.

Mr. Byars served on the Christopher Elementary School Board for ten years, was the Chairman of the Rea Clinic Board of Directors, and served on the Isaac Walton Board.  He was a member of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, a fifty year member of the American Legion in Christopher and Marion, IL, Western Franklin County Historical Society and the Christopher Lions Club.

Glenn was preceded in death by his wife, Josephine (Venegoni) Byars, his parents, Luby and Mary (Silkwood) Byars, and two sisters, Theola Bouffiou, and Doyce Hutson.

Survivors include his sons, James Randall, and wife, Anita (Herzog) Byars, of Freeburg, IL, and Richard Scott, and wife Kimberly (Simpson) Byars, of Marion, IL.

Also surviving are his grandchildren:  Jessica Lynn (Byars) Stanford and husband Matt, of Belleville, IL., Bradley Scott Byars, of Dallas, TX, Scott Christopher Byars, of Freeburg, IL, and Robert Simpson Byars and wife Erica (Polacheck) Byars, of Minneapolis, MN, and great-granddaughter Colette Amelia Byars, of Minneapolis, MN.  Other members of the family who survive are, Bill and Catherine Browning, Gracie Venegoni, Bruce and Kari Tomei, Lisa and Rob Lowery, Laura and John Schneider, William and Georgina Browning, Randy and Marcia Venegoni, Paul and Julie McGuire, along with other great nieces and nephews.

Graveside services will be on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 11:00 at the St. Andrews Cemetery with Military Rites.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.