Obituary – Hollis Dale West – formerly of Sesser, IL

Hollis Dale West, died unexpectedly at his home in Lexington, KY at the age of 84, on September 1, 2015.

Hollis is survived by four children: Holly Denise Wilson (Freddie), Johnnie Jean Marlow (Paul), Marsha John (John), and Gordon Scott West. Seven grandchildren: Chris Tapp, William Ashley Wilson (Amber), Haley Wilson Hall (Clint), Jasmine John Reuscher (Nick), Jordan Michael John, Camille Patsy West, and Meredith Diana West, and six great grandchildren: Isabella Tapp, Lawson Tapp, Cullen Jax Wilson, Briley Olivia Reuscher, Holly Katherine Hall, and Emery Grace Reuscher.

He was preceded in death by his wife Patsy Jean Metcalf West and a beloved granddaughter Holly Nicole Wilson. Also his parents Hollie Jefferson West and Gladys Myrtle Stevison West, and one brother Leon West.

He also leaves behind special friends and colleagues Robert Schaeffer, Mike Perry, David Farmer, Ron Williams, and Bonnie Vaughn

Hollis was born February 6, 1931 in Sesser, Illinois to Hollie Jefferson West and Gladys Myrtle Stevison West. He graduated from Sesser High School in 1949 and married Patsy Metcalf that same year.

After joining the United States Air force during the Korean War, Hollis was sent to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. There he taught Morse Code to Airman who were going overseas. Upon leaving the Air Force, he returned to Illinois in 1955 and went to Southern Illinois University on the GI Bill. He often worked three jobs while attending school to provide for his family.

Upon graduating from college, he took a job in Kalamazoo, Michigan at a federally funded program for low income and developmentally delayed adults. From there the family moved to Charleston, West Virginia so Hollis could open a Manpower Training Program. This was the beginning of “The War on Poverty.” Hollis began working with very powerful people like Robert Kennedy and Jay Rockefeller.

He was contacted by a friend and offered a position as the Director of Job Corps in Battle Creek, Michigan, where race riots were common. He made an enemy of former President Gerald Ford who was a congressman from Michigan. Ford worked behind the scenes to have Hollis fired. Hollis took a job at another Sheltered Workshop and the family moved to Syracuse, New York.

While in New York, he was approached to take a job in Barbourville, Kentucky to work for the Community Action Council. Less than a year after moving to New York, the family moved again.

In Barbourville, Hollis worked hand in hand with those who dedicated their lives to the poor, illiterate, and less fortunate. In response to Governor Louie B. Nunn giving a racehorse to a Saudi Arabian Sheik, Hollis presented Governor Nunn with a mule named Hope on behalf of the poor.

During his tenure at OEO in Barbourville, Hollis opened KY Krafts, Lawson Furniture, and the Hickory House Restaurant all so that the poor of Knox County might find employment.

In 1984, his wife Patsy became ill and they returned to Illinois to be with family. Hollis took a job as an Administrator at Rea Clinic in Christopher, Illinois. He then worked with the blind at Fasicil until health forced him to retire.

He was a lifelong Methodist and a passionate member of the Democratic Party. He loved his grandchildren and great grandchildren with all his heart, and reveled in their accomplishments. His greatest moments of joy were spent with them.

He will be loved and missed by all whose lives he touched. He is someone who truly lived his life and left an extensive legacy for his family members and the poor and disadvantaged.

Graveside Services will be held on Saturday September 5, 2015 at 1 p.m.. at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser, Illinois where he will buried beside the love of his life. Visitation will be on Saturday September 5, 2015 at the First United Methodist Church in Sesser from 12:00 p.m. until 12:45 p.m. In lieu of flowers it is requested donations be made to:

Kilo Diabetes Foundation

11780 Manchester Rd Suite 107

St. Louis, Missouri 63131

For more information go to our website


Obituary – Richard Lee Fitzgerrell

Richard Lee Fitzgerrell, also known as Dick, Mr. F and Fritz, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 4 p.m. at Parkway Manor, at the age of 83.

Richard was the son of William and Florida (Kirk) Fitzgerrell.

Richard graduated from Benton High School. He was an Army veteran and served his country during the Korean War. Following the war Richard began what would be 37 years of employment with McDonald Douglas/Boeing Company. He was a Shriner and a lifetime Mason. Richard was of the Baptist faith.

Richard was a cancer survivor and actively supported the American Cancer Society. For many years he participated in the Relay for Life fundraisers, faithfully attending the relays in several southern Illinois communities. He was a beloved participant, known for wearing his decorated hats and ribbons. Richard was also a huge fan of Snoopy. He had a large collection of Snoopy memorabilia as well as lots of T-shirts that proudly displayed his animal friend.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Mary Ann Crane.

A graveside funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser, IL on Saturday, September 5 with the Rev. Fred Edwards officiating. There will be a visitation time just prior to the service. Memorial donations can be made to the American Cancer Society. Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton is in charge of arrangments.

Military rites will be conducted by the Sesser American Legion and VFW.

For more information or to sign the online guest register please go to

Obituary – Virginia “Ginny” Miller – Christopher, IL

Virginia “Ginny” Lee (Turner) Miller, 81, of Christopher, IL passed away September 2, 2015 at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, IL.

ginny millerVirginia was born May 29, 1934 in Du Quoin, IL, the daughter of Mary Delene Turner.

She married Phillip Dale Miller on June 19, 1981 and he survives of Christopher.

She worked as a cashier at Big John’s in Benton.

Virginia is survived by her husband, her chilcren Dan Head, of Parker, AZ, DeDe and John Boker, of Christopher, Mary Delene and Jeff Bagwell, of Zeigler, IL, Ginny Head, of Christopher and Deidre Meadows, of Herrin, IL; grandchildren Daniel Head Jr, Johnny Boker, Megan Rhodes, Hope Boker, Renee Delene Bagwell, Andy Bagwell, Ruthanne Bagwell, Steven Head, Cassie Meadows, Jacob Meadows, Bethany Meadows; great-grandchildren River Head, Rayne Head, Cody Boker, Alex Boker, Ben Boker, Linsey Cole; great-great granddaughter Aylah Mae; special nieces and nephews Sherry, Bobbie, Johnnie, Kathy, Jackie and many great nieces and nephews along with her Big John’s family.

She was preceded in death by her mother Mary Delene Turner, special uncle Ted Quinn, mother-in-law Helen Martin, cousin Oravle Mygatt, granddaughter Heather Danell Head and dear friend Alene Guess.

A graveside funeral service will be on Saturday September 5, 2015 at 10 a.m. at Hammond Cemetery, in Sesser, IL. A eulogy will be given by Diane Crisp. Burial will be at Hammond Cemetery.

Friends and family are asked to meet at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday to go in procession to the cemetery.

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


Obituary William Paul Uhles – Benton, IL

William Paul Uhles, 95, of Benton, passed away Monday, August 31, 2015 at the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Anna, IL.

He was born in Rend City, IL on May 11, 1920, the son of James Marshall and Nancy Elizabeth (Piercey) Uhles.

He married Virginia Jane Shaw on June 25, 1941 and she preceded him in death on September 19, 1995.

Mr. Uhles was a World War II veteran and served in the Army Air Corps.

He was a member of Collinsville Masonic Lodge. He retired from A. O. Smith after almost 30 years. He then moved to the old home place in 1980. He was cemetery supervisor at Masonic & Oddfellows Cemetery in Benton for 12 years.

Mr. Uhles is survived by five children, Larry Paul Uhles and wife Judy, of St. Louis, MO, Dennis Richard Uhles and wife Barbara, of Ava, MO, Janet Suzanne Hoge and husband Danny, of St. Jacob, IL, Jo Ellen Bauer and husband Dave, of Benton, IL and Jane Ann Lantrip and husband Mike, of Farmington, MO. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren, several great-grandchildren and one sister, Marjorie Lamastus, of Benton.

Mr. Uhles was preceded in death by his parents, wife, by a son Charles Keith Uhles, two sisters, Alyne Midyett and Irene Browning and by two half-brothers, Elmer and Roy.

Funeral services will be held at 12 noon Thursday, September 3, 2015 at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton, with Pastor Kurt Sanders officiating. Burial with military honors by the Benton American Legion and VFW will be at Masonic & Oddfellows Cemetery in Benton. Visitation will be after 10 a.m. on Thursday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Anna and will be accepted at the funeral home at any time.

Obituary – John S. Minier — Thompsonville

Thompsonville, IL —  John S. Minier, 67, of Thompsonville, died Sunday, August 16, 2015 at his home.

John Minier1Graveside Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 5, 2015 in the Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery in Benton, with Rev. Mark Minor officiating. There will be no public visitation. Per John’s request family and friends are asked to go directly to the cemetery.

Services are under the direction of the Leffler – Poulson Funeral Home of Benton.

John was born on January 1, 1948 in Christopher, IL, the son of Robert V. “Pete” Minier and Blanche Mildred (Rice) Minier. He married the former Carla Wisely and she preceded him in death.

John was a truck driver and a farmer. He enjoyed being outdoors, and was an avid reader.

He received his bachelor’s degree from SIU in agriculture, and was a member of the B.P.O.E. 1234 in Benton.

Survivors include his two sons: Chad Minier and wife Jennifer of Waterloo, IL, Ryan Minier of Thompsonville; three grandchildren: Evan Minier and Ella Minier of Waterloo, Halle Minier of Benton; a brother Phillip Minier and wife Amy of Benton; two sisters: Donna Triyonis of Springfield, IL, Debbie Moehn and husband Mike of Mt. Vernon, IL; and several nieces and nephews.

Mr. Minier was preceded in death by his parents and his wife.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Benton Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry and will be accepted at the funeral home.

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

Obituary – Larry Joe Roberts – Sesser, IL

Larry Joe Roberts, 58, of Sesser, IL passed away August 30, 2015 at his home in Sesser, IL.

Larry Roberts PictureLarry was born November 24, 1956 in Benton, IL the son of Larry Roberts and JoAnn (Broughton) and Bobby Gene Beaver, of Sesser.

He is survived by his mother JoAnn Beavers, a second mother Jo Ann Newcomb and Ben Haack, of Ozark, MO; brothers and sisters Steve and Jill Beaver, Christopher, Deanna and Allen Loss, Benton, IL, Renne Brock, Benton, IL; special aunt Carolyn Carter, Benton, IL and special caregivers Shawn Jame and Kim Lingle.

Special thanks to Centerstone (formerly Franklin-Williamson County Workshop) and to Francis Presswood, Larry’s longtime teacher, and to anyone who has been a part of Larry Joe’s life, and to Celtic Hospice

He is also survived by several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by Larry Roberts and Bobby Gene Beaver.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 1 p.m. at Brayfield Giblert Funeral Home in Sesser with Brother Larry Cook officiating. Visitation will be at the funeral home on Wedneday from 11 a.m. until the time of the service at 1 p.m. Burial will be at Mitchell Cemetery, in Sesser.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Centerstone VNR Client Activity Fund, 902 West Main West Frankfort, IL 62896

Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home, in Sesser, is in charge of arrangements.

For more information go to



Obituary – Herbert Ray Benedict – Sesser, IL

Herbert Ray Benedict, 82, passed peacefully in his sleep at his home, in Sesser, Illinois, on the morning of August 27, 2015.

herb benedictA funeral service is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 29, 2015 at Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral in Sesser, Illinois with the Rev. Larry Cook officiating. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until the time of the service at 1 p.m. Interment at Paradise Cemetery will immediately following the service.

Herb was born to parents Samuel Clyde and Mamie Lemmon Benedict on August 12, 1933.

On November 17, 1950, he married the love of his life, Ceola Goforth, in Osceola, Arkansas. He then began a long career in the coal mines. In his spare time, he raised and enjoyed horses, shared his tremendous love with his children and grandchildren, and always offered a helping hand to anyone in need.

After 42 years in the coal industry, he retired from Amax Coal Company in 1993. After retirement, he and Ceola traveled the United States in their motor home. Then eventually spent every winter in Brownsville, Texas. However, he always came home in the spring to be with his family – for him, six months was long enough without them.

Herb is survived by his loving wife Ceola, two sons and a daughter; Rick Benedict and wife Sharon, Kenny Benedict and wife Rebecca, and Carolyn Davis and husband Wayne. Grandchildren; Ricky Benedict, Tim Benedict, Veronica Tripp, Joanna Miller, Emily Fitzpatrick, Chelsea Zettler, Chloe Benedict, Caleb Davis and their families including 14 great grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren.

For more information go to



Obituary – Brenda Joyce Crnokrak – Coello, IL

COELLO — Brenda Joyce (Hodge) Crnokrak, 72, died Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, at home.

She was a homemaker.

Brenda was born Feb. 6, 1943, in Christopher, the daughter of Fred and Marcella (Whittington) Hodge.

She married Danny Crnokrak on Aug. 1, 1987, and he survives of Coello.

Brenda is also survived by her stepchildren, Rhonda and Bruce Todd of Johnston City, Brent and Jill Crnokrak of Christopher, Kent and Sandy Crnokrak of Collinsville, and Bill and Jeanne Crnokrak of West Frankfort; eight step-grandchildren; five great-stepgrandchildren; and brother and sister, Gary Hodge of Streamwood, and Phyllis Grant of Joppa, Maryland.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, August 25, in Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher, with Brother Bert Mitchell officiating; burial will be at Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser. Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society and will be accepted at the funeral home

For more information, visit

Obituary – Sandy Neal – Whittington, IL

Sandy Neal, 74, of Whittington, IL passed away Tuesday, August 18, 2015.

She was born in Steel City, IL on April 14, 1941, the daughter of John A. Logan and Opal (McCarty) Crisp.

She married Melvin Neal on September 26, 1958 and he survives.

Sandy’s top priority in life was spoiling her grandchildren and great-grandson. Sandy worked for Wal-Mart for 18 years and retired from managing the snack bar there. She was a wonderful wife, mom and homemaker.

Sandy is survived by her husband Melvin Neal, of Whittington, two daughters Beth Roberts and husband Jeff, of Whittington and Sherry Richardson and husband Stephen, of Benton; three grandchildren Jason Richardson and wife Katie, of Thompsonville, IL, Brittany Richardson, of Memphis, TN and Ethan Roberts, of Peoria; one great-grandson, Brody Neal Richardson, of Christopher, IL, one brother, Donald Crisp, of Benton, two sisters, Martha Carlton, of Benton and June Gaskey, of Hammond, IN.

She was preceded in death by her parents and by eight brothers and sisters, Clarence, Ray, John Robert, Wanda, Katherine, Roger, Keith and Joan.

Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 22, 2015 at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton with the Rev. Gary West officiating. Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 21, 2015 at the funeral home. Burial will be at Shiloh Cemetery, in Whittington.

Morton & Johnston Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Obituary – Mary Lou Arondelli – Christopher, IL

Mary Lou Arondelli, 83, of Christopher, IL passed away August 17, 2015 at Lavender Ridge, in Mt. Vernon, IL.

Mary Lou was born September 25, 1931 in Christopher, the daughter of John Walker Proctor and Jennie (Short) Proctor.

She was a registered nurse and was a member of First Christian Church, in Christopher.

She married Robert “Bob” Arondelli on October 26, 1952 and he preceded her in death on January 8, 2010.

Mary Lou is survived by her children, Susan and Tob Raben, Christopher, Sandy Jones, Christopher and Bob and Christie Arondelli, of Mulkeytown, IL; grandchildren Ricky and Kim Rowland, Tara Sales, Erin and Erik Moss, Bobby and Jamie Arondelli, Amanda Arondelli, McKenzie Arondelli, Heather Vercellino, Brooke Vercellino, Tiff and Jake Morhet, Todd Jones and Eric and Lisa Jones. She is also survived by 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at Gilbert Funeral Home, in Christopher with the Rev. Dan Ison officiating. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until the time of the service at 11 a.m. Burial will be at Maple Hill Cemetery, in Sesser, IL.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to SSM Good Samaritan Hospice or to the First Christian Church in Christopher and will be accepted at the funeral home

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