Mary Ellen Dare – Valier, IL

Mary Ellen Dare, 94, of Valier passed away on March 18, 2018 at Lavender Ridge Memory Care in Mt Vernon, IL.

She was born on April 22, 1923 in DeKoven, KY to Marion Lacy and Josephine Zinella (Lane) Thompson.  She married Paul Dare on September 28, 1946 in Detroit, MI and he preceded her in death on September 9, 1999.

She is survived by two sons Dennis (Donna) Dare of Swansea, IL and Richard “Red” (Jill) Dare of Benton; four grandchildren Matthew Martin, Michael Martin, Jamie Veach, Niki Wisniewski and many friends and extended family.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one infant son Henry Dare, two sisters Betty Jo Malinee and Dixie Smith and one brother Bill Thompson.

She was a member of the Valier Baptist Church.

Funeral services will be on Wensday (Mary Ellen’s way of spelling Wednesday) March 21, 2018 at 11:00 AM at the Valier First Baptist Church with Rev. Harl Ray Lewis and Pastor Kevin Bradley officiating.  Visitation will be from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM at the church.  Burial will be at Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser, IL.

Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher is handling arrangements.

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Gloria I. Holland – Sesser, IL

Gloria I. Holland, 74, of Sesser, Il. passed away at 3:50 p.m., on Friday, March 16, 2018.

Gloria was married to James Holland in 1982. She was originally from Ohio and has lived in Illinois since 1983. She was employed by Dana Communications/ WQRL for over 25 years.

Mrs. Holland was the daughter of Rose and David Norris.

She was preceded in dead by her father, David Norris, mother, Rose Sadlowski, stepfather, Edward Sadlowski, brother, Gerald Norris, and stepbrother Dick Sadlowski.

She is survived by loving husband, James Holland, sons; Mark (Paricia) Lenevich of Benton, Il. and David Lenevich of Wheeling, W. Va., stepsons; Steve (Lisa) of Benton, Rob (Christa) of Gerogia, stepdaughter; Vickie Holland of Steubenville, Ohio, grandsons; Craig Lenevich, Vince Lenevich, of Pennsylvania and Daniel Lenevich of Benton, Andrew (Brooke) Holland and Aaron (Megan) Holland of Benton, Shane (Annie) Holland of Ohio, granddaughters; Addison Holland of Georgia, Darlene Francis of Ohio and Faith Marie Lenevich of Pennsylvania; great-granddaughters, Quinn Holland and Sammi J. Holland of Benton, and Alacia Ponder of Ohio; great-grandsons, Ayden Holland of Ohio and Liam Holland of Benton and siblings, Howard Norris, Alan (Vita) Norris, Marsha (John) Lenevich, Linda (Joe) Spano, and Robert Sadlowski of Ohio.

Funeral Arrangements entrusted to Pate Funeral Home, 301 S. Main St., Benton, IL.

Funeral Arrangements will be privately held.

Condolences may be expressed online at

Martha Frances Purcell – Benton, IL

Martha Frances Purcell, age 99, of Benton; passed away at 4:40 p.m. Thursday, March 8, 2018 at Helia Healthcare Center of Benton.

Mrs. Purcell’s wishes were to be cremated.

Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Taylorville, with Pastor Steve Smith officiating.

Leffler Funeral Home of Benton, is in charge of the arrangements.

Martha was born on June 7, 1918 in Logan, Illinois, the daughter of Cordis Cairel and Girtie (Fox) Cairel.  She married Eulas “Junior” Purcell, and he preceded her in death on May 25, 2006.

Mrs. Purcell was a member of the Midland Methodist Church in Kincaid, IL.

She was a housewife and enjoyed fishing, playing cards (pinochle) with friends.  She and her late husband Junior traveled when they were younger and were active with the Shriners and Eastern Star. After retirement they spent their winters in Texas.

Patricia is survived by, a nephew Jack Cairel and wife Janice of Stark, FL; four nieces: Janice Williams and husband Sam of Johnston City, IL, Elaine Harris and husband Guy of Tupelo, MS, Romain Short of Harrisburg, IL, and Barbara Cairel of Bento.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; three brothers: Raleigh Cairel, Frank Cairel, and Jack Cairel; one sister: Bonnie Neal; and a nephew Cordell Cairel.

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

Carolyn (Kramer) — Benton, IL

Carolyn (Kramer) Luster, 72, of Benton passed away peacefully Thursday morning, March 15, 2018 at Helia Health Care Center in Benton surrounded by her family.

Carolyn was born on December 25, 1945, the daughter of Albert Clarence & Louise (Cook) Kramer.

She married James Luster in Benton, IL on August 8, 1964 and he survives.

Mrs. Luster started her working career in the Coal Mines. She then worked as an EMT and then as a Nurse. She then taught at Rend Lake College. She retired as an Inspector for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Mrs. Luster is survived by her husband James Luster, of Benton; two sons, James Michael Luster and wife Joy of Benton and Scott Alan Luster and wife Tarah, of Cary, IL; three grandson, Noah Luster, Brendan Luster and Nathan Luster; one granddaughter, Natalie Luster; one brother, John Kramer and wife Lisa, of Mulkeytown, IL; one brother-in-law, William Luster and wife Carmen, of Plano, TX.

Mrs. Luster was preceded in death by her parents.

Graveside funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 17th at the Shiloh Cemetery in Whittington. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton.

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


Richard O. Hart – Benton

Richard O. Hart, age 90, passed away at 4:15 a.m. Monday, March 12, 2018 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 17, 2018 in the First Christian Church of Benton, with Pastor Kurt Sanders officiating. Burial will be in the Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery of Benton.  Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 16, 2018 at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton, and from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday at the church.

Surviving is his wife, of 66 years, Carolyn Hart of Benton; two sons: Murphy C. Hart and wife Jody of Benton, Paul R. Hart and wife Kim of Tampa, FL; three grandchildren: Ryan Hart of South Bend, IN, Caleb Hart of Benton, Ali Herndon and husband Dallas of Tampa, FL; a great-granddaughter Ruby Herndon; a niece Janice Legendre and husband Roger of Johnston City, IL; a nephew James Hart and wife Jayna of Benton; Mr. Hart’s longtime assistant Edie Jones and husband John of Benton.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter Jennifer Hart; and a brother James O. Hart.

In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations be made to either the First Christian Church Fellowship Center Fund, or to the Benton Ministerial Alliance Summer Lunch Program.

To leave online condolences to the family, share memories of Dick, and read the full obituary, visit

Charles “Mush” David Calloni-Christopher

Charles “Mush” David Calloni, 76, of Christopher passed away on Wednesday March 14, 2018 at Fairview Health and Rehabilitation in DuQuoin.

He was born on September 30, 1941 in DuQuoin, IL to Charlie Calloni and Dorothy (Kirkpatrick) Sneddon.  He married LaDonna (Overturf) Calloni on April 15, 1967.

Survivors include his wife LaDonna Calloni of Christopher, two sons Charles (Tricia) Calloni Jr. of Coello and Michael (Donna) Calloni of Mulkeytown; one daughter Melinda (Ron) Walker of Christopher; seven grandchildren Caleb, Joshua, Taylor, Sierra, Nicholas, Kaitlyn and Giovanna; two brothers Tom (Shirley) Calloni of Buckner and Ben Anthony (Cheryl) Calloni of Dallas, TX; two sisters Vickie (Dave) Iles of Lafayette, IN and Mary Ruth (Charlie) Carver of Kinmundy, IL.

Funeral services will be on Saturday March 17, 2018 at 1:00 PM at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher with Brother George Marshall officiating.  Visitation will be from 11:00 AM until the time of the service at 1:00 PM.  Burial will be at Smith Cemetery in Buckner. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association and will be accepted at the funeral home.

For a full obituary go to our website at

Esther L. Smith – Benton

ESTHER L. SMITH, 93, of Benton IL, passed away Monday morning, March 12, 2018 at Helia HealthCare in Benton.

She was born in Granville, IL on Sept. 19, 1924, the daughter of Charles Everett & Iva (Greathouse) Kennedy.

She married Sessel W. Smith on April 29, 1946, and he died on June 22, 1988.

Mrs. Smith is survived by her three children; William J. Smith of Benton, Mary Ann Bretzman of Christopher, and Phyllis Davis of Thompsonville; ten grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren; ten great-great-grandchildren, one sister Ethel DeMask of Florida; two brothers Charles Kennedy of Alaska, and  Stanley Stankus of Arkansas.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one granddaughter, three brothers, and one sister.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. on THURSDAY, March 15th at the Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton.  Burial will be in the Masonic and Oddfellows Cemetery in Benton.  Visitation will be AFTER 10 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

For more information, or to share a memory of Esther, please visit our website


Mark S. Kern – Ewing

The Rend Lake College community lost one of its most impactful leaders Thursday. Mark S. Kern, the longest-serving president in Rend Lake College’s history, passed away March 8, 2018.

Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, March 12, at Whittington Baptist Church. Service will be at 1 p.m. with burial immediately following at Oak Hill Cemetery. Cory Garmane, an RLC alum, will sing songs to open and close the service, and State Rep. Dave Severin, Franklin County Circuit Clerk Jim Muir, and RLC Foundation Board Member Sam Mateer are scheduled to speak. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rend Lake College Foundation Mark S. Kern Memorial Fund to assist Rend Lake College students.

Funeral arrangements are with the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton.

Mark Kern spent 40 years of his working life in the Illinois Community College System – longer than any employee in the history of the system, according to the Illinois Community College Trustees Association at the time.

Some of his honors include:

· Induction into the RLC Sports Hall of Fame class of 2008 for his support of Warrior athletics

· Franklin County 4-H “Outstanding Alumnus” and Franklin County Soil Conservation “Farmer of the Year”

· One of three Illinoisans selected for the Cooperative Extension Cow Tour in 1987

· 2001 Statewide Commercial Producers Award

· Past Vice President and Secretary of the Illinois Council of Community College Administrators

· Past member of the Benton Consolidated High School Board of Education

· Kern farmed in partnership with his father, Frank, for many years, and later owned and operated a 660-acre farm with 100 head of beef cows

Mark Kern is survived by his wife Pat; children Frank Kern (wife Patty), Eric Kern, Brian Kern (wife Summer), Jason Kern (wife Janie), and Megan Williams (husband Chris); and Pat’s daughter Melissa Richardson (husband Tim). Mark and Pat have eight grandchildren. They include, Caden, Charli, Ellsie, Cash, Landon Wesley, and Hunter Kern. Pat’s grandchildren include Gavin and Whitley Richardson. Mark’s first wife and the children’s mother Lana Barminski-Kern.

Mark was preceded in death by his parents: Frank Wesley and W. Juanita Kern; his daughter Heather Kern; and a grandson Kern Allan Williams.

To view the Rend Lake College press release, visit

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

Danny ‘Pops’ Joe DeLaval – New Caney, TX

Danny “Pops” Joe DeLaval, 63, of New Caney, Texas went to be with his Lord Sunday, March 4, 2018.

He was born Monday, August 2, 1954 to Joseph and Nona DeLaval. Danny is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Deronda Kay DeLaval.

He is survived by his wife, Jan DeLaval; children, Jesse Henley, Kim Garza and husband David, Joseph DeLaval, Candice Sutton and husband Clint, Jerry Hughes and wife Britney, Brandon DeLaval, Danielle Marksberry and husband James, Annie DeLaval; grandchildren; Angela, Ariella, Shayla, Payton, Landen, Cameron and Hunter; and many other family members and friends.

A Memorial Service will be 2 p.m. Thursday, March 8, 2018 at Rosewood Funeral Home in Porter, Texas. In lieu of flowers, ‘Pops’ family request donations to be made in his name to the American Liver Foundation.

Ann Brckovich – Buckner

Ann Brckovich, 97, of Buckner passed away on Monday March 5, 2018, at Helia Healthcare in Benton.

She was born on September 7, 1920 in Buckner to Alex and Anna (Rohrsetzer) Yankevich. 

She married Nick Brckovich on July 12, 1941 and he preceded her in death on July 27, 1981.

She is survived by one son Nick Brckovich of Buckner; one daughter Renee (Robert) Crews of Buckner; three grandchildren Krista (Michael) Kanady, Wendi (Charles) Bushong, and Robert “Bobby” Crews all of Buckner; three great grandchildren Cody, Mikayla and Emily; two great grand blessings Peyton & Krisi; one great great grandson TJ.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband and one granddaughter Krista Renee Crews.

She was a homemaker and was a member of the St Andrews Catholic Church.

Funeral services will be on Wednesday March 7, 2018 at 11:00 AM at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher with Father Urban Osuji officiating. 

Visitation will be on Wednesday March 7, 2018 from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM.  Burial will be at St Andrews Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the PMG Awareness and will be accepted at the funeral home.

For more information or to leave a memory, please visit our website,