Obituary – Phyllis June Reece – Christopher

Phyllis June Reece, 70, of Christopher, died Oct. 1, 2014 at her daughter’s home surrounded by friends and family.

phyllis reecePhyllis was born March 15, 1944 in Eldorado, to David Robert and Eathel Juanita (Biggerstaff) Roberts.

She was a homemaker and a member of the Whittington Church.

Phyllis is survived by her children, Julie and Allen Eubanks, Christopher, IL, John and Gisele Reece, Mulkeytown, IL, Jeffrey Reece, Carbondale, IL, Michael Reece, Mulkeytown, IL and Timothy Garrison, Carbondale, IL.

She is also survived by grandchildren Bradley Restivo, Andrew Reece, Amber Reece, Ender Reece, Zyler Reece and Inara Reece.  She was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Randall Roberts.

Graveside services will be held Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 11 a.m. at Harrison Cemetery in Buckner with Brother Greg Shelton officiating.  There will be no visitation, friends and family are asked to meet at the cemetery

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Whittington Church.  Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher is in charge of arrangements.






Obituary – Rebecca Jane Malkovich – Benton

Rebecca Jane Malkovich – age: 53
(April 25, 1961 to September 22, 2014 )
Resident of Benton, Illinois

Visitation Information:
GRAVESIDE SERVICES: 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 27, 2014
Masonic & Odd Fellows Cemetery
12740 Odd Fellow Lane
Benton, Illinois 62812

CELEBRATION OF LIFE SERVICE: Will be held at a future date

Rebecca Jane Malkovich, 53, died at 3:35 p.m., Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, in Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Rebecca, known as Becky to all who knew and loved her, was born April 25, 1961, in Benton, the daughter of Daniel Leon Malkovich and Joe Anne (Choisser) Malkovich.

becky 9-22Becky was a 1979 graduate of Benton Consolidated High School. She was a gifted writer who grew up in the world of newspapers. She had a special connection to the Benton Evening News, a newspaper her family owned until 1986. Even as a child, she showed an exceptional talent for sleuthing, so much so that she was known as the BBI. The Becky Bureau of Investigation initially focused on sibling misbehavior but eventually branched out to the entire community. She was not content to rely on her extensive experience and went back to school, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

For the past decade, Becky worked as a reporter for The Southern Illinoisan. She was passionate about the people and places of Southern Illinois and dedicated her considerable talents to telling their stories in her unique voice. She had a gift for putting people at ease and making everyone feel like her best friend, whether they were being interviewed or just catching up over coffee.

Becky loved her sons Jake and Eli, her family and friends, music, good writing, coffee and her pets, Captain (the famous dog) and Kitty. She was generous: with her time, her compassion and her distinctive laugh. She hated the limelight but was eager to shine it on others. She would have found this obituary too long and effusive, despite the fact that it doesn’t begin to capture the incredible person she was. She will be fiercely missed.

Becky is survived by her sons, Jake Ivanovich of Carbondale and Eli Ivanovich of Benton; brother John Malkovich and Nicole Peyran of Cambridge, Mass.; sister Melissa Malkovich of Seagrove Beach, Fla.; sister-in-law Debbie Malkovich of Sesser, Ill.; nieces and nephews Matthew Malkovich and wife Brandi of Orlando, Fla., Loewy and Amandine Malkovich of Portland, Ore., Jesse Starita and wife Anh Dao Pham of Lincoln, Neb., Tim Eubanks and wife Kim, grandnephew T.J. Eubanks and grandniece Bayley Eubanks of Sesser, and grandniece Mila Joe Malkovich of Orlando.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Amanda Malkovich and brother Daniel Malkovich.

Graveside Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 27, 2014 at the Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery in Benton, with Rev. Mark Minor officiating. Leffler – Poulson Funeral Home of Benton is in charge of the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Becky’s children in the name of Eli Ivanovich and will be accepted at the Leffler – Poulson Funeral Home, 401 East Main Street, Benton, IL 62812.

To leave online condolences to the family, visit

Obituary – Richard “Rick” A. Kerkemeyer II – Christopher

Richard “Rick” A. Kerkemeyer II, 47, of Christopher, died at  9:45 a.m., Monday, Sept. 15, 2014 at his home.

A funeral service conducted by Pastor Matt Crain will be held at 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18, at Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to the time of service.

Rick was born June 12, 1967 in Peoria, the son of Richard A. Kerkemeyer and Bonnie (Johnson) Kerkemeyer.

He was a graduate of Christopher Community High School and attended Southern Illinois University.

Rick was a longtime member of the Franklin County business community and was manager of the S & S Tavern in Christopher.

He loved his family and his dog, Buddy. He was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs and enjoyed playing darts.

Rick is survived by his mother, Bonnie Kerkemeyer, Christopher; two brothers, Randy and wife Terra Kerkemeyer, Christopher, and Craig and wife Kelly Kerkemeyer, Christopher; one sister, Lisa Jones and husband Eric, Valier; his companion, Jessica Rusher, and her two children, Charlie Swisher and Megan Wilson, Christopher; nieces and nephews, Kara Stark, Michael Stark, Kailey Kerkemeyer, Khortnee Kerkemeyer, Cadi Kerkemeyer, Bailee Jones, Beau Jones and Bryce Jones; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his father, Richard A. Kerkemeyer.

Memorial donations may be made in Rick’s memory and will be accepted at the funeral home.


Obituary – Roy P. Kretz – Christopher

Roy P.   Kretz, 82, of Christopher, IL, passed away September 12, 2014 at Marshall Browning Hospital, in Du Quoin.

Roy was born Dec. 22, 1931 DuBuque, Iowa, the son of Roy Leo Kretz and Henrietta (Schmitz) Kretz.

He served in the U.S. Army 9th Signal Corps in Korea.  He was employed for several years at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake.

Occupation: Core of Engineers at Rend Lake

Roy married Mary (Chizmadia) Kretz May 24, 1957 and she survives in Christopher.

Also surviving are four children, Roy John Kretz-Benton, IL, Robert C. and Lisa Kretz, Bluford, IL, Catherine Kretz, Bloomington, IL and Cindy Kretz and Dave Stark, Mulkeytown, IL.  Surviving grandchildren include Roy John Kretz Jr., Shannon Kretz, Kali Boaz, Charles Boaz and Todd Boaz.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, September, 17, 2014 at 10 a.m. at St. Andrews Catholic Church, in Christopher, IL with Father Joseph Trapp officiating. Visitation will be after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at Gilbert Funeral Home, in Christopher.

Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher is in charge of arrangements. For more information visit our web site at


Obituary – George Dawe – Valier

VALIER – George Dawe 65, of Valier, died Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, in Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

George was born July, 16, 1949, in Christopher, to Myron and Alma (Talley) Dawe.

He served in the U.S. Navy and worked with Human Resources for Peabody Coal Mine. He was a member of St. Andrews Catholic Church in Christopher.

George was a member of Masonic Lodge in Sesser and Knights of Columbus in Christopher.

He married Linda (Brincivalli) Dawe on Oct.25, 1969, and she survives of Valier.

Also surviving are his children, Sean and Jodie Dawe of Christopher and Angie and Chuck Brown of Winchester, and grandchildren, Jaden Dawe, Landree Dawe, Tyson Brown and Carson Brown; brothers, Mike and Liz Dawe of Thompsonville and Greg and Nancy Dawe of Universal City, Texas; and mother-in-law, DeLores Brincivalli of Tinley Park.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Funeral services will be on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 11 a.m. at St. Andrews Catholic Church in Christopher, with Monsignor Tom Flach officiating. Burial will be in St Andrews Cemetery in Christopher. Visitation will be at 5 p.m. Monday at Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher.

Memorials may be made to St. Andrews Improvement Fund.

Obituary – Ila Faye Cox – Zeigler

Ila Faye Cox, 63, of Zeigler, IL, passed away at 7 a.m. on September 6, 2014 at Benton Rehabilitation and Nursing Home, in Benton, IL.

Ila was born August 24, 1951 in Plattsburg, MO, the daughter of Ada Pierson Edwards, of Mounds, MO.

She was a maintenance worker at Pepsi.

She was married to Richard Cox and he preceded her in death.

Ila is survived by a son, William Cox, of Alabama and a brother, Frank (Linda) Arnold, of Sesser, IL.  She is also survived by six brothers and sisters.  She was preceded in death by her husband and three brothers.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, September, 13, at 12 noon at Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser with Brother Mark Miller officiating.  Visitation will be on Saturday, September 13, 2014 from 10 a.m until the time of service at noon.

In Lieu of flowers donations can be made to the family and will be accepted at the funeral home.

Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home, in Sesser, is in charge of arrangements.
For more information go to

Obituary – Faye Ailene Willmore – Sesser, IL

Sesser- Faye Ailene Willmore, 83, of Mt. Vernon, formerly of Sesser, went to be with her Lord and Savior Monday, September 1, 2014 at Countryside Manor in Mt Vernon, IL.

Faye was born March 15, 1931 in rural Geff, IL to Ralph and Anna (McNeal) Beck.

She grew up on the family farm in Wayne County with her four sisters. She married Chester E. Willmore on May 9, 1948 at her parents’ home and they enjoyed 37 years of marriage until 1985 when she lost Chet, the love of her life, to illness.

Faye was a homemaker and beautician, operating Faye’s Beauty Shop in rural Sesser for over 20 years. She was a wonderful and caring mother to her four sons and gracious, Christian Soul to those who knew her.

She was of the Baptist faith and a member of the Park Avenue Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon and former member of the First Baptist Church in Sesser. She was an avid quilter for many years, crafting everything from utilitarian comforters for use at home, to exquisite works of art with her skills in quilting, embroidery, cross-stitching and applique. All of her grandchildren received a handmade quilt and many of her extended family and friends were gifted with baby quilts. There will be a display of her quilts at the funeral home. The family asks any friends and family who wish to bring one of Faye’s quilts for the display to please do so.

Faye is survived by her four sons, Jerry and Lisa Willmore of Hockley, TX; William (Tom) and Joann Willmore of Mt Vernon, IL; David and Bonnie Willmore of Valier, IL; and Jeffrey and Jennifer Willmore of Tempe, AZ. Two sisters Joyce (Bob) Caudle and Norma Lee Koontz, both of Fairfield, IL.

Grandchildren Larry Willmore, Heather (Andy) Adams, Kenny Willmore, Nick (Kristie) Turner, Mary Jo (Ryan) Thompson, Amanda (Will) Bolyard, Kyle (Kailey) Willmore, Dayne (Elisha) Willmore, Zachary Willmore and Lucas Willmore; and several great grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Chester, sisters Bernadine Beck and Doris Kidd, and second husband Douglas Guy.

Funeral Services will be on Friday September 5, 2014 at 10:00 A.M. at the Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser, IL, with Pastor Gary Davenport officiating. Interment will be at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser. Visitation will be on Thursday September 4, 2014 from 5:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the donor’s choice and will be accepted at the funeral home.

For more information go to

Obituary – Theresia Elizabeth Seagraves – Benton

Theresia Elizabeth Seagraves, 108, of West City, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, August 11, 2014 at 8:47 p.m. at Helia HealthCare in Benton.

She was born in Benton, IL on November 11, 1905, the daughter of Isaac Newton and Sallie (Schrade) Simpson.

Mrs. Seagraves was a longtime member of Flatts Baptist Church.  She graduated from Benton High School in 1924.  She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.  She received several blue ribbons in Town & Country Art Show.  She was a talented and gifted artist.  She was a loyal St. Louis Cardinals fan and will be greatly missed by her family.

Mrs. Seagraves is survived by three children, William H. Seagraves and wife Pat of Prospect Heights, Mary Lou Lewis, Benton and Molly Frasher, Metropolis.  She is also survived by grandchildren Vernon “Rick” Lewis and wife Tricia, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Cyndy Ellis and husband Larry of Waltonville, Terry Lewis, of Benton, Claudia Toler and husband Gary of Thompsonville, William Seagraves II and wife Lisa, of Prospect Heights, Rene Frasher, of Metropolis, Lisa Oldham, of Metropolis, Dan Frasher, of Metropolis, Brenda Schmidt and husband Tim, of Metropolis.  Also surviving is 12 great-grandchildren and several great-great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Seagraves was preceded in death by her parents, three brothers, four sisters, son-in-law Vernon Lewis and grandson Frank Lewis.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, August 15 at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton, with the Rev. Mark Minor officiating.  Burial will follow in the Masonic & Oddfellows Cemetery in Benton.  Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.

For more information or to sign the memorial register please visit

Obituary – Betty Rhine – Benton

BENTON — On Saturday, August 9, 2014, the spirit and soul of Betty La Vonne Rhine said goodbye to this material world and went to be with her savior and loved ones. At the time of her passing she had reached the age of 80 years.

In the gallery of those who have kindled in our hearts the great flames of love and adoration are the ones who have, without thought for themselves and untiringly, given themselves in sacrifice and service for others. So it was in the life our loved one and friend.

She was born on a farm in Indiana on July 22, 1934. She was the daughter of the Rev. Deneen Taylor and Maxine Marshall. Her religious environment was of a marvelous background. The Taylor family performed at many revivals, singing conventions and radio shows.

She was a member of First Baptist Church of Benton.

She was married to Donald L. Rhine Sr. They had three children including daughter, DeNece and husband, Scott Griffin of Orlando, Florida; son, Donald L. Rhine Jr., and wife, Laura Johnston of Benton; and daughter, Karen Kay and husband, Randy Seeker of San Martin, California. She leaves three grandchildren, Misha Dawn and husband, Renny Sibiglia of Long Beach, California, Taylor Itomura Seeker of San Martin, California, and Cheyenna Rose Rhine of Benton; and great-granddaughter, Dylin Sibiglia.

Betty later chose for her companion, Robert Marvin of Benton.

She leaves her heartbroken sister, Sue Peck of Paducah, Kentucky. Sue stayed beside Betty throughout all of her life and held her hand to comfort her during her illness. Betty leaves other loved ones, including Sue’s children, Kenneth V. Anderson and wife, Gina, Keith Anderson and wife, Kathy, and Kevin Anderson and wife, Kim; six nieces and nephews of Paducah; cousins Sarah Revis, Nancy Cockrum and Mary Ann Page, all of Benton; and other relatives in Indiana.

Betty’s father and mother preceded her in death.

In addition to the loved ones listed above, Betty leaves many relatives and friends who will miss her smile, her laughter, and the love in her eyes.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13, in Shiloh Cemetery, with the Rev. Mark Minor officiating.  Those attending are asked to meet at the cemetery.  There will be no visitation.

Obituary – Andy W. Tasky – Benton

Andy W. “Paw” Tasky, 65, of Benton, passed away August 8, 2014 after a long and courageous battle.

He was born on March 25, 1949 in Benton, the son of Edmond and Betty (Mitchell) Tasky.

Andy is survived by his loving wife of 32 years, Jeannette and by his children Shane (Tara) Tasky, Kathy (Bill) Simmons and Tammy Marino.  He is also survived by a sister, Brenda Schwartz; stepmother, Ramona Tasky; grandchildren Jeremy (Liz) Bandy, Anthony (Sarah) Marino, Danielle Bandy, Lacey Smothers, Hunter Tasky, Sayler Tasky and Bayley Tasky; great-grandchildren Hailey, Sierra, Preston, Taylor, Myah, Mason, Brendon and Dreyson; nieces Nicole Schwartz, Lindsay Schwartz and Tina Lampley.

Andy was a coal miner, retiring from Old Ben Mine No. 26.  He was an Army veteran.

He was preceded in death by his parents, by a brother, Edmund Gene Tasky and by many dear aunts, uncles and cousins.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, August 9, 2014 at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton with Daniel Ison and Donnie Smith officiating.  Burial with military rites conducted by the Benton American Legion Honor Guard will be in Masonic & Oddfellows Cemetery in Benton.  Visitation will be after 1 p.m. on Saturday at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton.