Richard H. Holt – Christopher, IL

Richard H. Holt, 65, of Christopher, IL, formerly of Bloomington, IL, passed away Wednesday, July 20th following a courageous 9-month battle with cancer.

holtRick was born August 3, 1950, in Centralia, IL, to Richard “Tex” Holt and Mary Holt.  He graduated from Centralia High School in 1968.  He completed a tour of duty with the US Army in Vietnam from 1970-1971. Upon his return, he attended SIU Carbondale and spent several years teaching special education in Carbondale and Schaumburg. Rick left teaching  in 1979 to open his business, Functional Furniture, in Bloomington, where he was able to pursue his passion as a master carpenter and cabinet maker.

He moved his business to Christopher in 2004, and married Diane Holt on February 14, 2007.  Since that time, he has added prize-winning jelly maker (Ma Holt) to his resume, and has been actively involved in the Lion’s Club of Christopher.  He was also actively involved in the Young Musicians Project based in Centralia, without his tireless efforts, support, and fundraising efforts, including the “Bathhouse Band Reunion Jam” from 2011-2012 and “Missing the Sixties” from 2014-2016, the Young Musicians Project would not be as successful as it is.

Rick was a proud member of the Disabled American Veterans Franklin County Chapter 51, whose single purpose was empowering disabled Veterans and their families to lead a high-quality of lives with respect and dignity. Rick gave tirelessly of himself during his time with the DAV in his service to our ill and injured heroes, which he was one of. Rick spent hours upon hours raising money to help those in need and visiting our Veterans in the hospital and in long-term care. He held several titles during his tenure with the organization to include most recently as the Adjutant/Treasurer. A title he held for several years as he was the glue that held the chapter together. The most important title he held was mentor and friend to all those he encountered. His patriotic sense of compassion was exhibited daily and his leadership and friendship will be greatly missed but never forgotten.

Rick was a loving husband, father, brother, and uncle.  He never met a stranger, and will be missed by all who knew him and loved him.

He is survived by his wife of nine years, Diana Lambert Holt; daughters Elizabeth (Brian) Holt-Schwab of Chicago, and Ericka (Craig) Louer of St. Louis; step-sons Beau (Jamie) Forbes of Oak park, and J.J. Forbes of Royalton; one grandson Ronan Alexander Forbes, brothers John (Pam) Holt of Carbondale, and Jim Holt of Centralia; nephews & nieces Philip (Jillian) Holt of Seattle, WA, Dion (Marianne) Holt-Phoenix of Gig Harbor, Wa, Vanessa Holt-Phoenix of Murphysboro, Cassy & Matt Gregge of Herrin, Colleen Price of Carterville, Nick Dodson of Arizona.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and one brother Charles “Chuck” Holt.

Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher is handling the arrangements.

The family would like to thank the entire staff at Carbondale Memorial Hospital for their exceptional care over the past month, and his team at Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis.  Rick’s wishes were to be cremated, a celebration of life for all who knew and loved him will be held at a future date.  Memorials can be made in his name to the Disabled American Veterans Charity (DAV) and will be accepted at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher.

And as Rick would say, “Once an Orphan, always an Orphan”

For more information go to our website .

Robert “Howdy” Mandrell – West Frankfort, IL

Della “Sue” Blomquist – West Frankfort, IL

WEST FRANKFORT — Della “Sue” Blomquist passed away suddenly Jan. 9, 2016, from a stroke.

dellaBeloved daughter of Ann and Frank Ezell, Della (Sue) was born and raised in West Frankfort.

She married her college sweetheart, Jon, moving to the Chicago area, where they raised their daughter, Beth. She and Jon moved to the Denver area in 2014 to live near their daughter.

Della made friends wherever she went, always involved in the community. She didn’t go anywhere without running into someone she knew. There was always a garden in the yard, where she enjoyed watching the wild birds and butterflies that were attracted to the native plants. She continued the trend when she moved to Colorado, filling her balcony with flowers. Della collected teddy bears, with one for every occasion and season, sharing them with others. Genealogy was her other passion. She researched both her family and her husband’s, meeting relatives and interested people around the world. She was rarely without a book at hand. Her first act after moving to Colorado was to locate the closest library and used bookstore.

Della’s passing leaves a hole that we will never be able to fill. She is survived by her husband Jon; daughter, Beth; sisters, Judy Summers and Edna Ezell; and countless precious nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family.

Graveside services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 23, in Bethel Cemetery.

Morton and Johnston Funeral Home in Benton is in charge of arrangements.

For more information or to sign the online guest register, visit

In Della’s memory, donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,, Bears and Blankets,!donate/c1d1z; and the Freedom to Read Foundation

Connie Lee Carso – Christopher, IL

Connie Lee Carso, 71, of Christopher, IL, passed away July 19, 2016 at Herrin Rehabilitation and Nursing, in Herrin, IL.

Connie was born on February 5, 1945 in Oklahoma City, OK, the daughter of John Carso and Ruth (Crain) Woods.

Connie is survived by sisters Karen and Dennis Parrent, of Christopher and Laina Hembree, of Du Quoin, IL. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Graveside funeral services will be held at Mulkeytown Cemetery on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 10 a.m. with Brother Jason Todd officiating. The family requests no flowers. Donations can be made to the Mulkeytown Cemetery and will be accepted at the funeral home. Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher, IL, is in charge of arrangements. For more information go to

Linda Kay Rea – Benton, IL

Carlton “Carl” Heifner – Thompsonville, IL

Carlton “Carl” W. Heifner, 69, of Thompsonville, passed away at 9:05 p.m., on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, at his residence surrounded by his family.

darlene brother Carl was born on September 3, 1946, to William and Ida (Poynor) Heifner in Hamilton County, IL. He retired as a Park Ranger from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. On May 11, 2005, he married Dixie Gaither.

 He was a member of Plaster Grove Freewill Baptist Church.  Carl was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and a dear friend.  He enjoyed spending time outdoors hunting, working in his garden and landscaping.

 Mr. Heifner is survived by his loving spouse of 11 years, Dixie Heifner; a brother and two sisters, James “Jim” R. Heifner and wife Patty of Akin, IL, Barbara Wyant of Benton, IL and Darlene Roberts and husband John of Rural Dale, IL; three step-children, Freddy Isaacs of Eldorado, IL, Steven Isaacs and Michael  Isaacs both of Thompsonville, IL; seven grandchildren, Jason Isaacs, Noah Isaacs, Isabella Isaacs, Billy Brannon, Charlie Horn, Bambi Horn, Johnny Horn; and many nieces, nephews and friends.

 He was preceded in death by his parents; two brother, Charles Heifner and John Heifner; a brother-in-law, John Wyant; a niece, Kelley Robles-Dewitt and a great-niece, Lavera Robles.

Visitation will be held Saturday, July 16, 2016, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Pate Funeral Home, 301 S. Main St., Benton, IL.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, July 16, 2016, 12 p.m. at Pate Funeral Home, Benton, IL, with Rev. Kent Dunford, officiating.  Burial will follow services at Plasters Grove Cemetery, Thompsonville, IL.

The Heifner family would like to extend a special thank you to the caring staff at Hospice of Southern Illinois.

 Memorials contributions may be made to the family and will be accepted at the funeral home.

Online condolences can be given at

James Henry Rusher – Benton, IL

Kenneth “KP” Perry — Benton, IL

Kenneth “KP” Perry, 65, of Benton, IL, passed away Wednesday morning, July 6, 2016 at his home.

kpHe was born in Fleming, KY on August 13, 1950, the son of Edward L. Perry, Sr. and Maggie Lee (Adams) Perry.

KP was a U.S. Navy veteran serving during the Vietnam War on Midland Island.

He was a retired coal miner and a proud UMWA member.

KP dearly loved his family. He enjoyed cooking, and had a degree in culinary arts. He was a student of the universe and loved science, especially astronomy. He loved photography, music, philosophy, particularly the thinkers and thought provokers.

KP is survived by his wife Diana Perry, of Benton; son Joel Perry and Ashley Taylor, of Logan; three grandchildren Jayden, Vance and Jameson; sister Lisa Odom and husband Alan, of Benton; brother Edward Perry, Jr. and wife Shelia McVeigh, of Gibsonia, PA; stepdaughter Stephanie Diers and husband Joel, of Springfield; stepson Robbie Woolridge and wife Jennifer, of Carbondale, IL; step-grandchildren Aliyah, Mason and Holden; nieces and nephews Jeff Perry, Jamie Perry, Aaron Odom, Kristin Odom and Ashley Odom. He is also survived by several cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Funeral services will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 9, 2016 at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home, in Benton, with Jim Muir and family members officiating. Visitation will be after 6 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.

James Mayer Benton, Illinois

James Edward Mayer, age 86 of Benton, IL, passed away Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at the Franklin Hospital in Benton.

Graveside services with Masonic Rites will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 9, 2016 at the Masonic & Odd Fellows Cemetery of Benton.  There will be no visitation.  Friends are asked to go directly to the cemetery.

Arrangements are with the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton.

James was born on March 14, 1930 in Benton, the son of Richard Mayer and Della Mae (Durham) Mayer.  He married the former Betty Joann Leffler on June 29, 1952 and she survives.

Mr. Mayer was a retired coal miner, having last worked with Arch Minerals.  He was a member of the U.M.W.A., and the First Baptist Church of Benton.  He was also a Past-Master with Benton Masonic Lodge #64 A.F. & A.M..

James served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and he enjoyed fishing.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Betty Mayer of Benton; his daughter Debbie Davis and husband Tommy of Yulee, FL;  a special nephew Steve Mayer of Kansas City, KS; and two nieces.

Mr. Mayer was preceded in death by his parents; a brother Robert Mayer; and a granddaughter Shelley Davis.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church of Benton.

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

Ty Jarrod Benjamin – Terre Haute, IN

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Ty Jarrod Benjamin will be held Saturday, July 9, 2016 at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home, in Benton, IL.

Ty was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on October 25, 1977. He was raised and spent most of his life in Carrollton, Georgia, but had recently returned to Terre Haute.

Ty’s unique personality brought joy and laughter to his family and friends. He was an avid sports fan — partial to his Atlanta teams, the NBA and especially the Duke Blue Devils.

Ty was preceded in death by his father, Richard Benjamin and his paternal grandparents, Richard and Betty Benjamin.

Surviving family members include his mother, Becky Benjamin, grandparents Robert and Mary Whitehead, all of Benton; aunt and uncles Debbie (Jim) Scott and David Benjamin, both of Terre Haute, Indiana, Vickie (Ralph) Connor, of Vincennes, Indiana, Jerry (Marcia) Whitehead and Cathy (Bill) Smith, all of Benton; and many fun-loving cousins.

Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until 1 .m. with the memorial service starting at 1 p.m.

Morton & Johnston Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.