Bette King – Benton, Illinois

Bette King was born in Melford, MA on January 3, 1934, and peacefully passed away on January 27, 2024. This obituary deviates from the conventional. It doesn’t detail Bette’s life achievements, her loved ones, and family members who preceded her in death.

Truth be told, not much is known about Bette other than she was a wife, mom, grandmother and an LPN. Bette was full of personality. She was stubborn and funny. She loved to tease people and she beamed when they would banter with her. She enjoyed coloring, chatting with friends, playing cards, crafts and sitting outside on pretty days. Bette adored her mother. She loved her son, daughter, and granddaughter. Her longing for their presence was so profound that she often envisioned warm visits from them, sometimes imagining invitations to be with them. Given the limited knowledge of her family background and circumstances, no assumptions or judgments are made on either side.

A memorial service to honor Bette will take place on Friday, May 24th, at 1 pm at the Brady Cemetery in Akin, IL. The service will be a simple graveside ceremony conducted by Greg Poole from Can’s Can Ministries. The public is welcome to attend.

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

A heartfelt expression of gratitude extends to all those who contributed funds toward Bette’s cremation, funeral arrangements, and burial plot. Your kindness and generosity is profoundly appreciated. Bette now rests in eternal peace, embraced in the loving arms of our Savior. Your presence was cherished, Bette, and you are dearly missed.

To leave online condolences or to share memories of Bette, visit

Michelle R. “Shelly” Clayton – Whittington, IL

Michelle R. “Shelly” Clayton, 56, of Whittington passed away at 5:58 P.M. on Friday May 17, 2024 at SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon.

She was born in Sparta, IL on October 5, 1967 the daughter of Gail & Sherry Cockrum.

Shelly married David Sidney Clayton on August 13, 2001 and he preceded her in death on August 25, 2021.

Shelly loved kids, and worked at a Day Care and as a Teachers Aide. She enjoyed cross stitching, working puzzles, especially word puzzles of all kind and reading her Bible. She was a proud mom who supported and attended all of her daughter’s activities.

Shelly is survived by her:
Daughter: Sydney Renee Clayton of Whittington & boyfriend Aaron Rorie
Sister: Tonya Steele of Sesser
Brother: Wendell Cockrum & wife Shelly of West Frankfort
Jerry Clayton of Montana
Marvin Clayton of Georgia
Jason Clayton & wife Barb of Benton
Several Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews & Cousins
Best Friend: Pam Dorris of Benton
Mrs. Clayton was preceded in death by her Parents, Husband and a Nephew-Trent Cockrum.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, May 25th at the Whittington Church with Rev. Mark Minor officiating. Visitation will be after 9:00 A.M. on Saturday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made in Shelly’s memory to the family to assist with expenses, or to her daughter Sydney for school and living expenses.
For more information or to send online condolences please visit

Anna Mae Riggs-Christopher, IL

Anna Mae Riggs, 92, of Christopher, passed away on May 14, 2024 at her home.

She was born on February 3, 1932 in Murphysboro, IL to Eugene and Margaret (Ward) Qualls. She married Leonard Riggs Sr. on November 23, 1957 and he preceded her in death on May 7, 2016.

She is survived by her children Leonard Riggs Jr. of Christopher, Loretta (Tom) Mitchell of Sikeston, MO, Kimberly (Charles) Diuguid of Royalton and Lucinda (Rodney) Hill of Christopher; two sisters Marge Mosbacher of Waterloo and Faye (Homer) Campbell Hill, IL and one brother James Qualls of Dupo, IL; grandchildren Erik (Melinda) Redding, Randy (Terry Dawn) Redding, Natalie Elam, John (Anki) Mitchell, Jason Mitchell, Daniel (Elizabeth Reeder) Tolley, Donald (Chelsea) Basenberg, Joshua (Alyssa) Basenberg, Melissa (Andy) Leedle and Jared Diuguid and several great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one daughter Consuela Redding Ward, one great granddaughter Ashley Dawn Redding, two sisters Lucille Holecek and Barbara Jo Qualls and one brother and sister-in-law Ed and Jean Ann Qualls.

Graveside services will be on Monday May 20, 2024 at 11:00 AM at the Mulkeytown Cemetery. Friends and family are asked to meet at the cemetery.

For more information go to our website

Alma Louise (Mandrell) Hefner-Sesser, IL

Alma Louise (Mandrell) Hefner, 66, of Sesser, passed away on Tuesday May 14, 2024 at her home.

She was born on August 8, 1957 in Sterling, IL to James and Lida L. (Shaw) Mandrell. She married William Hefner and he preceded her in death.

She is survived by her mother Lida Mandrell of Sesser; one sister Angel Todd of Sesser; two brothers James Mandrell of Mt Vernon and Steven Mandrell of Mt Vernon and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her father, husband and one sister Jo Ellen Mandrell.

Alma’s wishes were to be cremated.

For more information go to our website

Kent Gross – West Frankfort, Illinois

Kent Bertrand Gross, age 62, of West Frankfort, Illinois; passed away at 4:40 a.m. Sunday, February 4, 2024, at his home.

Kent was born March 15, 1961, in Belleville, IL. He was the third boy born, with a full head of beautiful blonde curly locks, to the proud parents of Patricia Marie and Amander Valentine Gross.

Kent passed away peacefully at home after fighting his battle with cancer. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister-in-law Denise Gross, and his nephew Paul Michael Gross.
He was a proud member of Local 702 and an employee for twenty-one years with Nelson Tree Service, West Frankfort, IL. He loved his job and his co-workers and was proud of the brotherhood.
Kent enjoyed the outdoors, including fishing, hunting, camping, and especially canoeing on the Current River.
He enjoyed spending time with his friends and family and fine cuisine. He was always the life of the party, telling jokes and making people laugh. He will be dearly missed. His saying in life was “Life is short so enjoy every minute and don’t sweat the small stuff”.

Kent loved the holidays. He held a special place in his heart for Thanksgiving at Uncle Charlie and Aunt Lisa Bertrand’s, and especially Christmas with his family.
He is survived by his loving wife Dana Durham; his two brothers Keith Allen Gross and his two sons Brett and Scott Gross, his brother Gregory Kevin Gross and wife Mary along with their son Alex Gross; and several nieces and nephews and cousins.

Kent’s Celebration of Life will be held at 4:00 p.m. Friday, May 17, 2024, at the Honker Hill Winery, 4861 Spillway Road, Carbondale, Illinois 62902.
The family looks forward to seeing anyone that would love to Celebrate Kent’s life.
“It’s never good-bye my love, it’s till we meet again” Love always Dana “wife”
To leave online condolences to the family or to share memories of Kent, visit www.lpfuneral
Arrangements are with the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton.

Billy Joe Flatt-Coello, IL

Billy Joe Flatt, 88, of Coello, passed away on May 11, 2024 at his home.

He was born on August 26, 1935 in Mulkeytown to William Crawford and Dorothy Vera (Koenig) Flatt.

He graduated from Christopher Community High School in 1952. He said that he worked on a farm that summer picking peaches and in the fall moved to Peoria, IL with a friend to get a job at the Caterpillar Company. He said he was a runner but got himself fired after 3 months. At that time he went to work at W.T. Grant Department Store. Starting at the bottom as a janitor, then a stock boy and eventually he moved into management. He worked and traveled for this company for 12 years.

I was at W.T. Grant Department Store in Peoria, IL that he met his future wife Elizabeth Mary Stanfel. He said that they were at a Christmas party and his coworkers were teasing him about dating her, which at the time he was not, so he thought he should ask her out and as they say the rest is history.

The summer of 1953 he wrote his mom a letter telling her that he had met and asked the most beautiful girl to marry him and they were coming home for the Fourth of July holiday and wanted to get married while they were down. The married on July 6, 1953.

They started their family in 1954 when Toni Elizabeth was born. Soon their family size grew when Joseph Michael was born in 1955. Next they had Deborah Jeanne in 1959. Lastly Patricia Ann was born 1962.

In 1965 he was able to move his family closer to his southern Illinois home and lived in Tamaroa, IL for a year and in 1966 moved to the farm in Mulkeytown that became his forever home, less than a mile from his parent’s farm. It was during this time that along with farming his small farm and share cropping a couple of other farms that he found his passion as an insurance salesman and did quite well at that profession. He and Elizabeth were able to travel to several Caribbean Islands and also enjoyed the Hawaiian Islands.

He is survived by four children Toni Hassler, Mike (Cindy) Flatt, Debbie Cavinder and Pat (Dean) Hammonds; twelve grandchildren Stephanie Schwettman (Jason Rund), Heath (Jillian) Ramsey, Laci Smith, Destini Hassler (Elijah Caraway), Travis (Libby) Flatt, Leslie (Travis) Noto, Jessy Flatt, Kristopher (Andrea) Mariano, Nikki (Dale) Myers, Austin (Megan) Hammonds, Aaron (Lindsey) Hammonds and Michelle Hammonds; great grandchildren Braden Schwettman, Paisley Ramsey, Brooklynn Ramsey, Meredith Caraway, Halle Flatt, Leah Flatt, Cole Freeman, Chase Freeman, Payton Flatt, Kamryn Flatt, Ian Mariano, Kassandra Mariano, Michael Mariano, Valentine Myers, Danielle Myers, Annabelle Hooker and Anakin Hammonds and two sisters Brenda Flatt and Laneda Perry.

He was preceded in death by his parents Bill & Dorothy Flatt, his wife Elizabeth, one brother Donald Lee Flatt, sister and brother-in-law Janice & Richard Valier and one brother-in-law Charlie Perry.

Graveside services will be on Wednesday May 15, 2024 at 11:00 AM at the Mulkeytown Cemetery with Dean Hammonds officiating. Burial will be at Mulkeytown Cemetery.

For more information go to our website

Evelyn Joyce Swisher-Coello, IL

Evelyn Joyce Swisher, 81, of Coello, passed away on May 8, 2024 at her home.

She was born on September 2, 1942 in West Frankfort, IL to Elbert Logan and Helen Mae (Bacon) Pinkham. She married Robert Eugene Swisher on June 19, 1965 and he preceded her in death on May 24, 2015.

She is survived by daughter Carrie (Dennis) Estes of Christopher; daughter-in-law Karen Swisher of Queensbury, NY; grandchildren Adam (Amber) Estes, Joshua Estes, Edward Swisher, Kendra Swisher, Jason Estes and Brandi Estes; great grandchildren Kayden Estes, Justin Wilson, Kyah Swisher, Paige Adams and Brooke Adams; two sisters Wilma (Larry) Hammel of DuQuoin and Jane (Lou) Pivarski of Christopher; one brother Marion (Karen) Pinkham of Galesburg, IL and one sister-in-law Heather Pinkham of Mulkeytown.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one son LeRoy Swisher and two brothers Allen Pinkham and Carl Pinkham and one sister-in-law Delores Pinkham.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday May 11, 2024 at 1:00 PM at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher with Pastor Wayne Purdy officiating. Visitation will be on Saturday from 11:00 AM until the time of the service at 1:00 PM. Burial will be at Harrison Cemetery in Buckner, IL.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the West Franklin Historical District and will be accepted at the funeral home.

Blanche A. Jolly – Benton, IL

Blanche A. Jolly, 70, of Benton, passed away at 11:26 a.m., on Monday, May 6, 2024, at Helia Healthcare of Benton, surrounded by her family.

She was born on July 30, 1953, to Clifford and Hildred (Sanders) Obrecht in West City, IL.

Blanche was a Benton Consolidated High School graduate. She had a passion for art and graduated with an art degree from Rend Lake College. She loved listening to music, playing card games, making crafts whenever she could, playing bingo in the dining hall and Fall scenic drives. Above all, she loved spending time with her family.

Blanche is survived by her children, Faith (Paul) Archie of Benton, IL, Brad Jolly, Jr. of Henderson, KY and Kylee (David) Summitt of Benton, IL; her brother, Robert “Bob” Obrecht; 15 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Clifford and Hildred Obrecht, two sisters, Deloris L. Beyreis and Nancy Kay Rhine and two brothers, Frank “Scottie” Obrecht and James “Jim” Issac.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Pate Funeral Home, 301 South Main Street, Benton, IL

Per Blanche’s wishes, cremation will take place.

The family would like to send a very special thank you to Blanche’s second family at Helia Healthcare of Benton, who loved and cared for Blanche like one of their own.

Memorials may be made to Pate Funeral Home, 301 South Main Street, Benton, IL 62812, to assist the family with funeral expenses.
Online condolences can be given at

Mark Arlin Eubanks – Sesser, IL

Mark Arlin Eubanks, beloved son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend, passed away at age 57 at SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon, IL on April 26, 2024 with his family by his side.

He was born on December 12, 1966 in Benton IL to Garry and Barbara (Mendenall) Eubanks and lived almost the entirety of his life in the home he loved in rural

Scheller. Mark’s last three months were spent at StoneBridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Benton, IL where he received the most amazing amount of love and care.

Mark’s early educational years were spent at Denning Elementary in West Frankfort after which he attended and graduated from both Sesser-Valier Community School and Christopher High School. Mark’s life was influenced greatly by those he encountered during his school years and some of his fondest memories were those created with his teachers, bus drivers and classmates.

Throughout Mark’s life, he enjoyed music, family history, cook books, coloring books, animated stuffed animals, traveling and watching his many “shows” with a particular love for “The Waltons” and “Little House on the Prairie.” His love for music was evident at an early age, singing, strumming a guitar and listening to his favorite albums for hours at a time. The sounds of John Denver, Grand Ole Opry stars and gospel hymns reverberated in his home and heart his entire life. A testament to his love of music and television, Mark had accumulated over the years an impressive collection of VHS, DVD, CD and vinyl albums, which brought him immeasurable
entertainment and happiness. He was incredibly witty and had an amazing mind, able to capture and retain even the smallest of details about the things that interested him most. His greatest love, however, was that of family. Mark was happiest surrounded by family, celebrating each other, always with large amounts of food and fun. His closest loved ones could count on an early morning call on their birthday every year with him singing the happy birthday song loud and clear. And recognizing the gift God gave us in Mark, we never missed an opportunity to celebrate him. Mark had the most remarkable ability to not just find joy in life but to create joy in the life of every person he met. He never met a stranger who didn’t become a friend and he hugged and loved big. Simply but profoundly, to know Mark was to love Mark.

He is survived by his father, Garry Eubanks of Scheller, and four siblings, Lesley Shovan of Christopher, Kelly Eubanks of Waltonville, Lori (Mark) Laur of Scheller, and Julie (Jim) Boles of Sesser. He especially adored children and Mark’s role of uncle was one of his greatest joys.

Mark leaves behind nieces and nephews Kendra (Chad) Woodland, Tony (Danea) Shovan, Jared (Erin) Laur, Bethany Laur, Alyssa (Jordan) Laur, Bryan (Amber) Eubanks, Jenna (Brock) Harris, Savannah Boles and Seth Boles. Mark also had 14 great nieces and nephews: Clayton and Gavin Woodland, Logan and Laurelai Shovan, Cooper and Julia Laur, Lucas Laramore, Greyson and Paisley Edwards, Addie, Allie and Zachary Eubanks, and Grayson and Emmy Hopkins.

Mark was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, Johnny Shovan, and his devoted mother, Barbara Eubanks. The reunion in heaven between mother and son was long anticipated by Mark and the certainty of that reunion is an immense comfort for those of us still here on earth.

Leaving behind a legacy of pure love, he was such a bright light in this world and we will forever treasure his memory the rest of our days. Services to honor Mark’s life will be held on Saturday May 4, 2024 at the First Baptist Church of Sesser. Visitation will be from 10am until the time of the service at 12 noon with Brother Chris Hottensen officiating. Burial will be in Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that you please consider a donation to Special Olympics Illinois.

Pamela I. Friend – Valier, IL

Pamela I. Friend, 75, of Valier, IL, passed away on Monday, April 22, 2024, at her home in Valier.

She was born on April 15, 1949, to John and Florence (Linthicun) Friend in Aberdeen, MD.

She was a member of the Valier Second Baptist Church in Valier. She was a loving mother, grandmother and sister. She really enjoyed spending time with her family.

Pamela is survived by her children, Chris L. Gore, Anita Gore and Berman (Marcell) Gore, II; her brothers, John Friend and Jerry Friend; her sisters, Vicki Helms, Linda Keefe and Deb Layton; eight grandchildren, Allison (Mark) M. Jett, Aleah C. Gore, Christopher “Vali” Gore, Berman Gore, III, Danny Gore, Jasimen Gore and James Pursell and several great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Charles Friend.

Services have been entrusted to Pate Funeral Home, 301 South Main Street, Benton, IL.

Visitation will be held on Monday, April 29, 2024, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., at Pate Funeral Home in Benton, IL.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, April 29, 2024, at 2:00 p.m., at Pate Funeral Home, with Pastor Bill, of the Valier Second Baptist Church, officiating.

Online condolences can be given at

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News