Marion “Lynn” Shotts -Benton

Marion “Lynn” K Shotts, 73 of Benton IL passed away on Thursday, marion-shottsDecember 22, 2016 at Herrin Hospital, surrounded by her family. Lynn was born December 10, 1943 in Benton to George and Virginia (Brown) Knapp.

She loved Swimming and was an instructor at Camp Cedar Point for the Girl Scouts and later for Macher Swim School in Columbia Missouri.

She attended the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a BS degree in Microbiology. She worked as a lab technician for the Health Department in Albuquerque New Mexico, returned to University of Oklahoma and received a masters Degree in Environmental Sanitation.

She met Jamie Shotts in Norman, OK., and they were married in Benton January 19, 1969. She worked as a Sanitarian for the Illinois Department of Health in Marion IL., until moving to Columbia, MO., where Allan and Julie were born. She lived in the country where she loved to have her favorite chickens; ducks and geese numerous other pets and a large garden while developing lifelong friendships in the area.

She worked at the Swim School until forming a product demonstration business “Presentations Limited” for the local Businesses. She moved back to Benton, worked as an Instructor at Rend Lake College and at Wal-Mart, became an ardent Saluki fan and lived out her life in the house that she had grown up in.

Lynn is survived by her husband Jamie, Son Allan (Kelly) Shotts, Daughter Julie Shotts and two grand children, Ally and Kolt.

She was preceded in death by her parents George and Virginia Knapp and Brother Don Knapp.

Funeral Arrangements under the direction of Pate Funeral Home, 301 S. Main St., Benton, IL.  As per her wishes she will be cremated and a Celebration of Her life will be scheduled in the future.

Memorial contributions may be made in Lynn’s honor to The Benton Public Library Benton, IL., First Baptist Church of Benton, IL., or The Turtle Hospital Marathon, FL.


Mr. Huston “Pete” Summers- 78 of Thompsonville

Huston Virgil “Pete” Summers, age 78, of Thompsonville, passed away Tuesday, December 13, 2016, at his home.  He was born on pete-summersOctober 27, 1938 in Thompsonville, the son of Sherman “Red” Summers and Fonda Irene (Brown) Summers. He married the former Fanny Mae “Fran” Mikel on February 7, 1960 and she preceded him in death on November 9, 2006.

Mr. Summers graduated from Thompsonville High School, Class of 1956.  He was a U.S. Army veteran serving as an LPN and attained the rank of Sergeant.  Pete worked as a coal miner for Inland Steel Coal, and was a member of the U.M.W.A.

Mr. Summers was a member of the Mt. Etna United Methodist Church, and in recent years attended the First Christian Church of Benton. He was a member of Akin Masonic Lodge #705 A.F. & A.M. in Thompsonville. He was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star in Thompsonville, where he formerly served as Worthy Patron. He was also a member of the Scottish Rite Bodies of the Valley of Southern Illinois of Belleville, IL.

Mr. Summers is survived by three daughters: Beth Reed and husband Jimmy of Benton, Dotty Mitchell of Marion, IL, Sharon “Sonny” Summers of Columbia, MD; a son David Summers of Thompsonville; nine grandchildren: Nathan Reed, Preston Reed and wife Alisha, Neva Corn, Eli Reed and wife Heather, Mikaila Reed, all of Benton, Jacob Mitchell and wife Alexandra of Marion, IL, Jessica Mitchell of Marion, IL, Matthew Summers of Pinckneyville, Whitney Summers of Benton; eight great-grandchildren: Jordan Pettit, Landon Corn, Persephone Reed, Pandora Reed, Hazel Reed, Logan Reed, Gemma Reed, Asher Mitchell; a brother Les Summers and wife Kathy of Thompsonville; four special nephews: Jim, Greg, Steve and Dan Summers; and two special friends of the family: Stephanie and Stephen Williams.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; an infant daughter Dianna Lynn Summers; two sisters: Myola Hatfield, Mary Miller; and a niece Donna (Miller) Corey.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton, with Rev. Mark Minor officiating. Burial with military rites under the direction of the Benton American Legion Post #280, Benton V.F.W. Post #2671, and the Army National Guard out of Marion, IL, will be at the Mt. Etna Cemetery of Thompsonville. Visitation will be from 11:00 a.m. Wednesday until the funeral hour at 1:00 p.m., at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Mt. Etna Cemetery Fund, and will be accepted at the funeral home.

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Robert “Polb” Polbinski-Christopher

Robert “Polb” Dean Polbinski, 82, passed away Monday December 19, 2016 at the Franklin Hospital Emergency Room.

polbPolb was born July 23, 1934 in Royalton, IL to George Polbinski and Francis (Mondoni) Scronce.  He was raised by his grandparents Tony and Maggie Mondoni. He married Phyllis (Evans) Polbinski on February 11, 1956 and she survives of Christopher.

Mrs. Josephine Byars -Formerly of Christopher

Mrs. Jo Byars, 89, passed away on December 18,2016 in Marion.  She was the daughter of Bert and Tina (Arondelli) Venegoni and was born August 11, 1927 in Christopher, Illinois.  She was josephine-byars-1482148020united in marriage to Glenn R. Byars, June 24, 1950 at the First Baptist Church, Christopher, IL and together they shared more than 66 years of marriage.

Mrs. Byars was a 1945 graduate of Christopher High School and an Alumnus of Southern Illinois University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Education in 1949.  She began her teaching career at Elkville High School in 1949 where she implemented a new Smith-Hughes Home Economics Department, including sponsoring the FHA program. Three years later she was asked to do the same at Christopher High School.  After several years there, she taught at the Valier High School as a substitute and then semi-retired due to the arrival of their sons, James and Richard.  She wanted to be a “stay at home” Mother.

In 1990 at an Elkville High School banquet, Mrs. Byars was invited to be honored as the first FHA sponsor and Home Economics Teacher there.  She fondly remembered her students throughout the years and stayed in touch with many of them.  This honor touched her heart and was greatly appreciated.

During the time that she was a “stay at home” Mom, Mrs. Byars was asked to give knitting lessons.  This quickly evolved into more and more students and the beginning of “Jo’s Knit Shop.”  This was especially dear to her because she could teach again. She taught her “Southern Illinois” clients knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, and crewel embroidery and provided all the materials needed.

After ten years in the craft business, Jo again became a school teacher in 1967.  She was contacted and asked to teach Kindergarten in the Sesser-Valier School District at the Washington School building. She remained at Sesser for the remainder of her teaching career, retiring in 1985 with 25 years of service.  When asked which field of teaching she preferred, she always said she loved them all.

During her lifetime, Jo was a member of the Jr. Woman’s Club, Business and Professional Woman’s Club, Christopher Woman’s Club, charter member of Christopher Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, member of Marion Beta Sigma Phi, Illinois Education Association, West Franklin Historical Society, and a member of the Crystal Lakes Community Church Choir in Okeechobee, Florida.   For years, Mrs. Byars served on the Christopher Library Board, and the Franklin County Cancer Society Board.

In her spare time, Jo liked entertaining friends, traveling all over the United States with her husband and sons, gardening, crafts, cooking, sharing food with others and keeping in touch with friends on the internet.

Mrs. Byars was preceded in death by her father, Bert Venegoni, and her mother Tina (Arondelli) Venegoni; Grandmothers Catterina (Constantino) Arondeli, Josephine (Pessina) Venegoni; Grandfathers Batiste (Bob) Arondelli, Pete Venegoni, her brother, Bert Venegoni, and special cousin, Father John Venegoni.

Survivors include her husband, Glenn R. Byars; Sons, James Randall Byars and wife, Anita (Herzog) of Freeburg, IL, and Richard Scott Byars and wife, Kimberly (Simpson) of Marion, IL; Grandsons, Bradley Scott Byars of Atlanta, GA, Robert Simpson Byars and wife, Erica, of Minneapolis, MN, and Scott Christopher Byars, of Freeburg, IL, Granddaughter, Jessica Lynn (Byars) Stanford and husband, Matt, of Belleville, IL. and Great Granddaughter Colette Amelia Byars of Minneapolis, MN.

She is also survived by a sister, Catherine Browning and her husband Bill, of Springfield, IL, her sister-in-law, Gracie Venegoni, of Mt Vernon, IL; Nieces and Nephews, Rob and Lisa (Venegoni) Lowery, of Benton, IL, Bruce and Kari (Browning) Tomei, of Long Beach, CA, John and Laura (Venegoni) Schneider, of St. Louis, MO, William and Georgina Browning, of Springfield, IL, and Randy and Marcia Venegoni, of Christopher, IL., and several Great Nieces, and Great Nephews.

Visitation will be at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher on Thursday December 22, 2016 from 5:00-7:00 P.M.  A Memorial Service will be held at 7:00 P.M. with Dr. Charles “C.W.” Hamilton officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society and will be accepted at the funeral home

 Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and very loudly proclaiming:  Wow!  What a Ride!!!


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Shirley M. Bigham — Benton, IL

Shirley M. Bigham, 79, of West City, IL, passed away Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at her daughter’s home surrounded by her family.

She was born in Benton, IL on September 27, 1937, the daughter of Jesse and Pauline (Taylor) Sullivan.

She was married to Jack Bigham, Sr. and he preceded her in death on March 17, 2009.

Mrs. Bigham is survived by  four children, Peggy Fitzpatrick, and husband Mike, of Benton, Donna Perkins, of West City, Jack Bigham, Jr., and wife Lydia, of Benton and Deon Bankston, of Marion, IL; two stepsons, Darrel Bigham, of Sesser, and Charles Daham, and wife Rita, of Bolivar, MO; grandchildren Michelle, Mike, Scott, Nathan, Triston, Brenah, Brad, Chad, Steven, DeAnna, Angela and Charles; two sisters, Suzanne Baker, of Benton, and Patsy Haney, of Aurora, IL; one brother, Larry Dale Sullivan, of Benton. She is also survived by several great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Bigham was preceded in death by her parents, husband, a son, Dennis Lee Keelin, a grandson, Greg, a son-in-law, Jim Perkins and by one brother, Bobby Sullivan.

Mrs. Bigham was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a homemaker and a member of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 17 at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home, in Benton, with Pastor Rod Joplin officiating. Burial will be at Masonic & Oddfellows Cemetery, in Benton. Visitation will be after 12 noon on Saturday at the funeral home.


Tom McLeod — Sesser, IL

Tom McLeod, 68, passed away on Monday December 12, 2016 at 6:22 p.m. in Mercy Hospital in St Louis, MO.

He was born on January 27, 1948 to Edwin Thomas and Julia (Sutter) McLeod. He married Janiace (Muir) McLeod on August 23, 1975 and she survives of Sesser. He is survived by his children Tommy and Raylene McLeod, of Pekin, IL, Sherrie and Dave Roecker, of Marquette Heights, IL, and Dr. Bryan and Tanya McLeod, of Florence, SC.  He is also survived by five grandchildren and four sisters, Kay Rybolt of Peoria Heights, Theresa and Rick Kelch of Peoria, Mary Kelch of Peoria, and Stacy McLeod of Peoria.

He was a painter in an auto body shop.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two granddaughters.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday December 17, 2016 at 3 p.m. at the Thompsonville Church of God with Brother Brian Mixon officiating.  Visitation will be on Saturday December 17, 2016 from 2 p.m. until the time of the service at 3 p.m. at the church.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home to assist the family with funeral expenses.

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James “Jim” Broadway – Benton, IL

James “Jim”  L.  Broadway, 70, lifelong resident of Franklin County, passed away at 12:04 a.m., Wednesday, December 14, 2016, at his home surrounded by his family.

broadwayHe was born on October 3, 1946, to Lester and Eleanor (Hartsock) Broadway in  Benton. James was a self-employed truck driver for 46 years. He was a former police officer for many years in Christopher. He married Freda Crider and they were married for 28 years.

 He was a life member of the Eagles, a life member of OOIDA, Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Sons of the American Legion Post 1961 Orient. He enjoyed fishing and hunting.

Jim was a loving husband, father and grandfather.

 Jim is survived by his loving spouse, Freda of Benton; three sons, Jimmy Broadway, Bill Crider and Brad Reynolds, Gary Crider and wife Becky; two daughters, Susan Broadway, Linda Sanders; two brothers, Ron Adams and wife Peggy of PA, Gene Dale Broadway of Benton, IL; two sisters, Beverly Irvin and husband Wayne of Orient, IL, Cathy Lamont and husband Joe of West Frankfort, IL; 10 grandchildren;  six great-grandchildren, many nieces & nephews; and Jims loving pet companion, Sophie.

 He was preceded in death by parents, Lester and Eleanor Broadway, three sons, Chester Broadway, Mike Crider and Chuck Garbo, four brothers, Carl Hartsock, Bill Hartsock,  Stacy Broadway,  Kenny Ray Broadway, four sisters, Linda Broadway Matheny Groves, Paula Broadway Vaughn, Cheryl Broadway Jones and Jan Hartsock.

Services had been entrusted to Pate Funeral Home.

 Visitation will be held Friday, December 16, 2016,  from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Pate Funeral Home,  301 S. Main St., Benton, IL.     Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 17, 2016, at 1:00 pm at the Pate Funeral Home, Benton, IL, with American Legion Post 280 Chaplain Paul Lingle and Brother Howard Johnson, officiating. Burial will take place in the Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made in Jim’s honor to Hospice of Southern Illinois or the American Legion Post 280 and will be accepted at the funeral home.

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Mrs. Stella Kesler- 96 of Christopher

Stella P. Kesler, 96 of Christopher IL,mrs-kessler passed away peacefully in her sleep at the Herrin Hospital on December 7, 2016.

She was born July 21, 1920 in Christopher, the daughter of Walter and Elizabeth (Lemajtini) Petroff.  She married William “Bill” J. Kesler of West Frankfort and he preceded her in death on July 12, 1981.

She worked at Austin Periodicals in the office until the age of 82.  She was a member of the St Andrew’s Catholic Church in Christopher.

Survivors include a son William “Bill” Blaine and Janet Kesler of Christopher, one grandson Bradford Blaine and wife Angie Kesler of Columbia;  Three grandsons; Logan Blaine Kesler, Carter Bradford Kesler, and Gavin Blaine Kesler all of Columbia.  She loved them dearly and was so proud of them.

She is also survived by a sister-in-law Theresa Kesler, a good friend Karen Winget and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her precious granddaughter Beth Kesler, three sisters Anna Devienouski, Mildred Arbatch and an infant girl.

Private services will be held at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher. Burial will be in St Andrew’s Catholic Cemetery.

Barbara B. Huffine, 72-Macedonia

barbara-huffineBarbara B. Huffine, 72, of Macedonia, passed away at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, 2016, at her residence.

She was born on May 20, 1944, to Vern and Beth (Lewis) Billings in Mendota, IL. Barb worked in the mail room for Unocal Corp. She married Thomas Huffine in 1962 and he survives.

She was enjoyed quilting, knitting, crocheting, horseback riding and reading. She also enjoyed playing and working on the computer.

Barb was a loving wife, mother and grandmother.

Barbara is survived by her loving husband, Thomas Huffine, Sr., of Macedonia, IL; two sons, Thomas Huffine, Jr. and wife Holly, of Burlington, WI, Anthony R. Huffine of Rosco, IL; one daughter, Pamela Huffine of Macedonia, IL; one granddaughter, Amber Huffine and two sisters, Patricia Phillips of Champaign, IL and Jaquline Abbott of Champaign, IL.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Vern and Beth Billings.

Services have been entrusted to Pate Funeral Home.

Visitation will be held Saturday, December 10, 2016, from 2:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m., at Pate Funeral Home, 301 S. Main St., Benton, IL.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 10 2016, at 3:00 p.m. at Pate Funeral Home, Benton, IL.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army and will be accepted at the funeral home..

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Wanda Dorris — Sesser, IL

Wanda Faye Dorris, 72, of Sesser, IL passed away on Friday December 9, 2016 at 5 a.m. at her home.

wandaShe was born in Sesser on April 19, 1944 to Noble and Mae (Braden) Merkel.  She married Jim Dorris on February 14, 1964.

She is survived by two sons Steve and Benita Dorris of Sesser and Brian Dorris of Sesser, grandchildren Taylor (Ryan) Eubanks, Drew Dorris, Blake Dorris, Trey Dorris, Brianna Dorris and one great grandchild Everett James Eubanks.

She is also survived by two sisters, Neva Sulser of Sesser and Nina (Ray) Chrisman of Nashville, TN.  She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, one daughter Jamie Phoenix, and two brothers George Merkel and Harold Merkel.

She was a retired clerk from the Sesser Post Office and was a member of the Sesser First Baptist Church.

Funeral service will be on Monday, December 12, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. at the Sesser First Baptist Church with Brother Bryant Harris officiating.  Visitation will be on Sunday December 11, 2016 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser.  Visitation will also be on Monday December 12, 2016 at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the service.  Interment will be in the Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Sesser-Valier Athletic Department and will be accepted at the funeral home.

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