Obituary – Elizabeth May Bowling – Christopher

CHRISTOPHER – Elizabeth May Bowling, 79, of Christopher, IL, passed away October 4, 2013 at Herrin Hospital.

Elizabeth was born on May 7, 1934 in Mulkeytown, IL to  Otto Ensigner and Ollie (Webb) Ensinger.

She married Darrell Bowling and he preceded her in death on July 23, 1990.  Elizabeth was a homemaker and a member of South Side Baptist Church in Christopher.

She is survived by a daughter, Sandra Wilder and husband Don, of Petersburg, IN.  Also surviving are grandchildren, Shawn Williams, of Carbondale and Shelly Powell and husband Jay, of Petersburg, IN; great-grandchildren Cole Powell, Conner Powell, Kinzie Powell and Jacob Bowling.  She is also survived by a brother, Claude Ensigner, Dixon, IL.

Elizabeth was preceded in death by her husband, a son Randy Bowling, three brothers, Phillip Ensinger, Harvey Ensinger and John Ensinger and two sisters, Mary Rose and Lena Ensinger.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher with Brother John Overturf officiating.  Visitation will be Tuesday from 11 a.m. to the time of the service at 1 p.m.  Burial will be in Mulkeytown Cemetery, in Mulkeytown, IL.

In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to South Side Baptist Church in Christopher and will be accepted at the funeral home.

Gilbert Funeral home is in charge of arrangements.  For more information go to


Obituary – Merle I. Davis – Benton

BENTON — Merle I. Davis, 90, of Benton ‘went home to be with her Lord’ and with her husband of 75 years, John, Saturday morning October 5, 2013.

She was born in Parrish, IL on January 6, 1923, the daughter of Ted and Ethel (McCormick) Kerley.

She married John Logan Davis on Oct. 31, 1937 in Marion, KY.  Mr. Davis passed away on Oct. 29, 2012.

Mr. and Mrs. Davis operated Davis Electric/Lawn Mower business for many years.  Mrs. Davis was a 60-year plus member of East Benton Baptist Church.

She is survived by three children, Kenneth Dale Davis, of Parrish, IL, Ruth Ann West and husband Danny of Benton, IL and Tammy Eugene Davis and wife Debbie of Yules, Florida.  Also surviving is one grandson, Kevin Scott Hefner and one great-grandson, Logan Scott Hefner, both of Benton.  She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, two granddaughters, Terri Renee Hefner and Shelley Renee Davis; by one brother, Wendell Kerley and two sisters, Hazel Rogers and Dorothy Duke.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, October 8 at the Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton with the Rev. Carroll Toler officiating.  Burial will be in the Masonic & Oddfellows Cemetery in Benton.  Visitation will be after 10 a.m. on Tuesday at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton.

Obituary – Thomas Wenfield Wheeler – McLeansboro

MCLEANSBORO — For the past few years, Thomas Wenfield Wheeler has said he wasn’t ready for the “bus” to come and get him. Since May 2012 when he was injured in a fall and became paralyzed from the neck down, the “bus” has been out front honking for him. He finally got on the angels’ bus at 9:10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, 2013, when, at the age of 87, he passed away. He was surrounded by those that loved him in Hamilton County Memorial Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in his home town of McLeansboro.
Thomas Wenfield Wheeler

Thomas Wenfield Wheeler

Tom was born March 26, 1926, in McLeansboro to the late Leonard “Bunt” Wheeler and Uldine Vaughn Wheeler. The rough oil field worker “ran off with the preacher’s daughter” and married the love of his life, Eleanor Kathleen Greer, on May 1, 1943, in Jackson, Mo. Tom has been lost without her since her death Nov. 18, 2004.

Tom is survived by his sons, Thomas D. and Lynda of Buckner, Stephen Winfield and Elizabeth of Du Quoin, Wendell Lee and Kim of Carbondale and Scott and Mary Miller of Rocky Mountain, N.C. Tom lost a son, Daniel Joseph (wife, Donna Wheeler) on Jan. 11, 2012, in Rocky Mountain, N.C.

Other survivors include grandchildren, Dhana Dee Wheeler of Christopher, Thomas Jon (TJ) and Deanna Wheeler of Tolono, Brandi Wheeler of Raleigh, N.C., Neil and Niki Wheeler of Raleigh, N.C., Connor Wheeler of Warrensberg, Mo., Macie Wheeler of St. Louis, Shelby Wheeler of Du Quoin, Hylan Wheeler of Rocky Mountain, N.C.; and great-grandchildren, Hunter Thomas Wheeler of Christopher, John Thomas (JT) Wheeler, Myla, Dylan and Rysa Stacy, all of Tolono, and Colton Wheeler of Raleigh, N.C.

Tom lied about his age and quit school to serve his country during World War II. He was sent to St. Louis and then shipped to New York for naval yard boot camp. He then was chosen to attend engineering school, where he stayed till he graduated as a Marine engineer. He was then shipped out on the USS Davy Crocket, which patrolled the South Pacific. It was during this time that the South Pacific encountered one of the worst typhoons in history.

Tom didn’t stay home long as he was called back into the Navy during the Korean War because of his experience in the engine room. While serving at Fort Huemia, Calif., he also served as the provost’s marshall and served time in Siapan and Guam.

After a stay in LaPorte, Ind., working for the Labors Union under his late sister Phyllis’s husband, Sylvester Jaske, he returned to his roots north of the tracks in McLeansboro. There he became an independent contractor and his bright yellow trucks with Tom Wheeler and Sons House Movers became familiar to Hamilton County residents. He moved many homes throughout Southern Illinois, including many in Benton preparing for interstate 57. He once moved 137 homes out of an army facility in Northern Indiana.

A heart attack in McLeansboro in 1964 changed his occupation as he accepted a job with SIU in the engineering department at Camp Breckinridge Job Corps in Morganfield, Ky., which later led to the family moving to Johnston City when he worked on campus at SIU in Carbondale.

His ability to handle men and knowledge of machines put his family on a tour of the states. Starting at Blue Bell in Du Quoin, to Morgan Colorado Beef in Fort Morgan, Colo., to Hygrade Beef in Seattle, clear across the country to Lundy’s in Clinton, N.C. In 1989, he retired and moved back to Southern Illinois, settling in Benton.

Tom was better known as the “Big Bear” in his later days as a golfer. In fact, his family has hosted a golf tournament for the past 17 years in his honor called Wheeler’s Big Bear Golf Classic. This has always been one of his favorite days to visit and meet teachers, coaches, ath-letes and friends of his family.

Not only a great husband, father, grandfather and uncle, he was one who loved to entertain and tell stories, especially those of his days of growing up in McLeansboro. He also loved watching his sons, grandkids and great-grandchildren compete in athletics in high school, college and later in the coaching profession.

His proudest moment in the eyes of his family was when he accepted the Lord into his life in his greenhouse in his backyard in Benton with the help of Brother Billy Duncan. He was later baptized Nov. 3, 2002, by Brother Duncan in First Baptist Church of McLeansboro, the church where his father-in-law, the Rev. Dewey Greer, once preached.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in First General Baptist Church in McLeansboro with the Rev. Ken Cook officiating. Burial will be in McLeansboro IOOF Cemetery with military honors provided by American Legion Post 106 and the Military Honors team from Marion. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, at the church.

Gholson Funeral Home of McLeansboro is assisting the family with arrangements.

Obituary – Jay Douglas Webb – Ewing

EWING – Jay Douglas Webb, 72, died Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, while farming near Wilson Road in Benton.

Per his wishes, Mr. Webb will be cremated. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at the home of Jay and Judy Webb at 13381 Webb Hill Road in Ewing with Larry Miller officiating.

Leffler-Poulson Funeral Home of Benton is in charge of arrangements.

Jay was born May 6, 1941, in Ewing, the son of Roy Webb and Mickey (McKee) Webb.

He married the former Judy McKinnon on Oct. 17, 1964, and she survives.

Jay, along with his wife, Judy, and their son, Shannon, owned and operated Webb Farms of Ewing. He was a member of Farm Bureau, FFA Alumni and a former Ewing School Board member. He also enjoyed auctioneering.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Judy Webb of Ewing; a son, Shannon Webb and wife, Tracey, of Ewing and a granddaughter, Josie Lee Webb of Ewing.  Also surviving is a sister, Kay and husband, Rick Boundy, of Metamora; two aunts, Billie J. and husband, Herb Winemiller, and Judy McKee; two sisters-in-law, Donna Ellis of West Frankfort, and Mary McKinnon of Burlington, Wis.; and several nephews, nieces and cousins.

Jay was preceded in death by his parents; and grandparents.

Memorials in memory of Jay Webb, may be made to the organization of the donor’s choice.

Obituary – James (Jay) Reeves Espy – Christopher

James (Jay) Reeves Espy, 82, of Christopher IL died Wednesday October 2, 2013 at Herrin Hospital

Jay was born to the late James Reeves and Ellen Pearle Espy of Beverly Hills, California. Jay graduated from the Holy Cross Abbey High School in Canon City, CO; and then Cal Polytechnic Institute in San Luis Obispo, California.  He married Judith L. Trogolo in 1961 and they lived together in Lawrence, KS. before relocating to Christopher, IL in 1963.

Jay worked with the Sheriffs department of Los Angeles County, and then with Merck Pharmaceutical before joining the Hoe Supply Company in Christopher for more than 38 years.

Jay is a proud veteran of the Korean War and was a long time private pilot. He was a member of the Christopher High School board of education, and an active member of the American Legion and Knights of Columbus. He was an avid fisherman, a trap and skeet enthusiast, and earned may honors with his sharp shooting over the years. Jay was known for his love of animals, his dry sense of humor, and most importantly as a loving and supportive father to his family.

He is survived by his wife, Judith L. Espy, Christopher IL; three children, James Trogolo Espy of Christopher; Treza L. Espy of Warrenton, MO; and Mary Ellen McCoy of Clarksville, TN.  He is also survived by his sister Ellen K. E. Roesch of Beverly Hills; cousin Leslie Dolan of St. Louis; his grandson Charles J. McCoy of Clarksville, TN; 13 nieces and nephews; and his best friend Harry Thomas of Buckner lL.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Saint Andrews Altar Society and will be accepted at the funeral home or church.

A memorial visitation  service will be held at Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher IL on Friday, October 5 from 6 to 8 pm. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday Oct.6, 2013 at 11 a.m. at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Christopher.

A private burial at the St. Andrew Catholic Cemetery in Christopher will occur at a later date.

 The Christopher American legion will be conducting a service at the church after  the Mass.

Obituary – Eva Mae Wright – Valier

VALIER — Eva Mae Wright, 90, died Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, at Green Tree in Mount Vernon with her family by her side.

Eva was a postal clerk in Valier and Sesser and also worked at Lavenders Drug in Christopher.

She was born Feb. 9, 1923, in Franklin County to Charles Harvey Whitlow and Bessie Mae (Veach) Whitlow Eubanks.

Eva married Wathan Wright on Dec.23, 1938, and he preceded her in death Oct. 20, 2011.

Survivors include children, Chuck and Jeanne Wright of Valier, and grandson, B.J. and Marissa Wright of Henderson, Kentucky.

She was preceded in death by her parents and three infant sons.  Also preceding her in death was a brother, Noble Whitlow; stepbrother, Bill Eubanks; and stepsisters, Margaret Whitlow and Nina LeVault.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct.2, in Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser with Brother Larry Cook officiating. Interment will be in Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to VNA TIP Hospice and will be accepted at the funeral home.

For more information, visit


Obituary – Delores Markel Roberts – Benton

Delores Markel Roberts, 82, of Benton, passed away Thursday, September 26, 2013 at her home.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, September 30 at Morton & Johnson Funeral Home in Benton with the Rev. Mark Minor officiating.  Visitation will be after 12 noon on Monday at the funeral home.

Obituary – Marcella Agosti – Christopher

Marcella Agosti, 94, of Christopher, died September 24, 2013 at her home with her family by her side.

Marcella was a homemaker and a seamstress at the Fashion Shop in Christopher.

She was a member of First Christian Church Christopher and DAR. She loved to quilt with the ladies at the church every week.

She was born April 30, 1919 in Christopher to William H. Edelman and  Phyllis (Mackey) Edelman.

Marcella married Tony Agosti on June 7, 1939 and they were married for 66 years until his passing on April 6, 2007.

She is survived by her children, Tamara Picantine and husband Jerry, of Birmingham, AL, Marsha Forster and husband Tom, of Camarillo, CA, Bill Agosti and wife Sue of Chantilly, VA and Nancy Marlo and husband Joe, of Sesser, IL.

She is also survived by eight grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.  Also surviving is a sister, Fauneil Gualdoni, of Mt. Vernon, IL and a good friend and caregiver Linda Jolly, of Christopher.  She was preceded in death by her parents and husband.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, September 28 at 11 a.m. at Gilbert Funeral Home, in Christopher with the Rev. Dan Isom officiating.  Visitation will be at the funeral home from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, September 27.  Memorial contributions can be made to the First Christian Church in Christopher.

Burial will be at Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser.

Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher is in charge of arrangements. For more information visit 







Obituary – Mae Sneed – Ewing

EWING – Mae Sneed, 88, passed away Wednesday evening, Sept. 25, 2013, in Franklin Hospital in Benton.

She was born in Frisco, June 27, 1925, the daughter of Sebern Loyd and Ethel Mable (Ward) Neal.

She married Garold Sneed on June 28, 1943, and he preceded her in death Nov. 10, 1974.

In 1982 Mrs. Sneed was voted Franklin County Farm Woman of the Year. Aside from her family, her love was cooking and baking pies (for which she was well known). She enjoyed going to cattle shows, auctions and collecting antiques.

Mrs. Sneed was a very active member of Rescue Free Will Baptist Church. She served as secretary-treasurer of the Woman’s Auxiliary at the Church. Mrs. Sneed was always ready and willing to help people in their time of need, especially serving dinners at the church.

Mrs. Sneed is survived by her two sons, Dennis Sneed and wife, Delenise, of Ewing, and Mark Sneed of Stillwater, Okla.; two granddaughters, Jennifer Abbott and fiancé, Danny Estep of Benton, and Jamie Mosley and husband, Cary, of Benton; four great-grandchildren, Kodi and Kyle Abbott and Taylor and Preston Mosley; three sisters, Mildred Koerner of Warsaw, Ind., Fay Klosowski of Milwaukee, Wis., and Loretta Odom and husband, James, of Benton; and several nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Sneed was preceded in death by her parents; husband; four brothers, Ralph, Carl, Jim and Gail; and by two sisters, Ethel Pearl Hargis and Helen Heimer.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton, with the Rev. Bryant Harris officiating. Burial will be in Shiloh Cemetery in Whittington. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home in Benton.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Mrs. Sneed’s name may be made to Rescue Free Will Baptist Church.

Obituary – William Davis Cook – Benton

BENTON – William Davis Cook, 76, died Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, at home.

Mr. Davis worked at Tuck Tape in Carbondale, attended Mulkeytown Christian Church and served in the U.S. Air Force.

He was born Sept. 16, 1937, in Mulkeytown to James Dwight Cook and Edna Fay (Furlow) Cook Shapkoff.

Survivors include a sister and brother-in-law, Wanda June and Dick Tinker of St. Louis; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Funeral services will be Thursday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m., in Mulkeytown Cemetery with the Rev. Kurt Jensen officiating. Friends and family are asked to meet at the cemetery,

Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher is in charge of arrangements.

For more information, visit