Kenneth H. Hutchens – Benton, Illinois

Mr. Kenneth H. Hutchens, age 82, of Benton; passed away Saturday, March 25, 2023, at 3:30 a.m. in Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale Illinois.

Visitation is from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, 2023, with funeral services to follow at 3:00 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church, 516 North Main Street, Benton, Illinois 62812, with Pastor Eddie Paul Davis officiating. Interment to follow at Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery of Benton. The Leffler Funeral Home of Benton is in charge of the services.

Kenneth Henry Hutchens was born November 12, 1940, in Benton, Illinois to Herman Hutchens and Alice (Moss) Hutchens.

He married the love of his life, Betty Pinson, on June 15, 1961, and they were married for almost 62 years.

He owned and operated Hutchens Bit Service in Benton, Illinois for over 50 years. He started welding and building bits while in high school. Once he graduated high school and got married in 1961, he went to work as an underground boss at Old Ben Coal Co. #24. While working as a miner he still built bits and ran a business out of his garage. He started his business full time, with the new location in 1978.

Mr. Hutchens attended Immanuel Baptist Church.

Surviving is his loving wife Betty Hutchens of Benton; Children: Lisa (Richard) Irvin of Belle Rive, IL; Drs. Douglas (Betsy) Hutchens of Florida; Susan (Doug) Nolen of Benton, IL; Grandchildren: Will (Tereon) Beaty of Texas, Wyatt Beaty, Celia Beaty of Benton, IL; Dr. Megan (Lumbardh) Bejtullahu of New Jersey, Samuel Hutchens of Scotland, Grant (Julie) Nolen of California, Gavin (Madaline) Nolen of Benton, IL, and Emily (Nick) Culbreth of Macedonia, IL; Great-Grandchildren: Beni George Bejtullahu, Osceola Nolen, Hazel Anne Nolen and Jack Nolen, Calvin Culbreth and Archer Culbreth; sister-in-law Ola (Don) Dalby of Benton; Special friends: His secretary of 50 years who was like a daughter to him, Tina Hopkins of West Frankfort, IL, and his best and lifelong friend Kenneth Hungate of Benton, IL. He had many nieces and nephews, employees, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his Siblings, all of Benton, Illinois: Raymond (Jaunita) L. Hutchins, H. Eugene (Dora Lee) Hutchins, Robert “Bob” (Mary) Hutchens, and a sister Ethel (Jack) Gunter;
Brother-in-laws: James (Emmie) Pinson, Robert (Dorothy) Pinson, and John Pinson

He was a generous, kind, and loving husband and member of the community. He was well known for treating people fairly and helping many along the way. He had a strong work ethic from an early age that lasted until he was totally disabled. This started with multiple paper routes in grade school to building his own oil and water well drilling bit business while still working in the coal mines.
He sponsored all form of little league and helped multiple high school students with their first job at Hutchens Bit Service where they were exposed to many aspects of the business including welding, lathe work, and general shop work.

Kenny loved all sports but especially St. Louis Cardinals baseball and Benton Rangers Football and basketball. He enjoyed playing and watching sports throughout his life. He was a good athlete and played multiple sports from a young age through high school and later enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren including fishing, throwing the ball, and challenging them to a race. He loved dancing and was quite proud to be the best dancer in the family.

His favorite thing in life besides his family was breeding, raising, and racing thoroughbred race- horses. His favorite time of the year was foaling season. This was a passion he shared with his son, Doug, throughout his life. As a thoroughbred horse owner and breeder, his Hutchens Stables achieved much success winning hundreds of races, multiple stake races and was awarded the State of Illinois Breeder and Owner of the Year.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Immanuel Baptist Church, and will be accepted on Saturday at the services, or may be mailed to the Leffler Funeral Home, 401 East Main Street, Benton, Illinois 62812.

To leave online condolences to the family, or to share memories of Mr. Kenneth Hutchens, visit

Imogene “Nean” Groves-Mulkeytown, IL

Imogene “Nean” Groves, 97, of Mulkeytown, passed away on Sunday March 26, 2023 at Heartland Regional Medical Center in Marion, IL.

She was born on July 11, 1925 to Tom and Hazel (Cook) Bacon. She married Clarence Groves Jr. and he preceded her in death.

She is survived by her daughters Carol Anderson of Mulkeytown and Tina (Bill) Dyer of Corryton TN; grandchildren Regina (Douglas) Bates, Kristie (Brian) Riggs, Amanda (Dennis) Chapman and Chad Cash; great grandchildren Rebekah (Josh) Cannon, Victoria Munaretto, Suzanne Munaretto, Madison (River) Edwards, Maggie Bates, Pacey Riggs, Alex Riggs, Levi and Emmali; two sisters Mary Hughes of Mulkeytown and Norma Downen of Kirkland.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, three sisters Helen Pinkham, Ruth Edmonds and Pauline Bacon, one brother Joe Bacon, one son-in-law Larry Anderson and one grandson Lieutenant Colonel Joseph A. Munaretto MD.

She loved Nascar and was a very dedicated fan of Richard Petty and Tony Stewart. She was raised on the Tom Bacon Farm and had a love for horses, especially Queen.

Graveside services will be on Tuesday March 28, 2023 at 11:00 AM at the Zeigler Cemetery with Greg Darling officiating. Friends and family are asked to meet at the cemetery.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital and will be accepted at the funeral home.

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Richard Ray “Dick” Hood – Ewing, IL

Richard Ray “Dick” Hood, 90, of Ewing, passed away Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at the SIH Memorial Hospital in Carbondale.
He was born in Herrin, IL on April 10, 1932, the son of Rev. James Albert & Nancy (Campbell) Hood.

He was married to Nancy (Lewis) Hood, and she passed away in 2002.

Mr. Hood had a long and distinguished career in the construction industry. He began his career as an Iron Worker, working on the Railroad Bridge over the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois. After several years he was drafted into the Army and because of his experience was assigned to the US Army Corp of Engineers Construction Battalion at Nancy France for eighteen months.

On returning home from the Army, he and his wife Nancy moved to Yorktown, Indiana where he was employed as a union Painter for several years.
He returned to Iron Working with Creviston Steel and enjoyed a long career with that firm.

Mr. Hood became an expert at installing, repairing and demolition of glass furnaces. He worked for the largest Glass Companies in the country including Ball Brothers Glass and Anchor Glass among others. Over the years he worked on Glass furnaces in forty eight different states. To support his glass furnace business, he and his associates established HAG Steel and KDR Enterprises to provide steel fabrication for his projects.

Dick retired after fifty years as a member of the Iron Workers Union. He was honored with a banquet and special pin for his safety record as a foreman without a fatal accident. A remarkable record for the Iron Worker business.

During his retirement he was a Partner with his son Jim Hood which is known as Hood Farms in Whittington, Illinois. He was an avid Pinocle player, he enjoyed his weekly Pinocle games with two different clubs. He never missed a game and cherished his many Pinocle friends. Dick was an avid outdoorsman, hunting, fishing, gardening and farming.

Mr. Hood was a 32nd Degree Mason and he was a Christian.

Mr. Hood is survived by his:
Daughter: Jennifer Jean Hood of Virginia
Son: Jim Hood of Whittington
Sister Gayle Herman of Wisconsin
Niece: Robin & Drago Kragulj of University Park, IL
Girlfriend: Katie Rowland of Christopher
Caregiver: Shelley Cockrum of West Frankfort
Brother-in-law: Judge Loren Lewis & wife Ruth of Benton
Sister-in-law: Jean Firebaugh of Bloomington, Indiana
Sister-in-law: Marilyn Dickey of Dayton, Ohio

Mr. Hood was preceded in death by his Parents, Wife, Granddaughter: Lacy Kay Hood, Siblings: Helen Wiemken, Ester Morris, Eugene Hood, Grace Nerlak, Elijah Hood, Vera Jean (Tommie) Hubber and Naomi Valli.

Funeral services and Masonic Rites will be held at 1:00 P.M. Tuesday, March 28th at the Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton. Burial with Military Rites conducted by the Benton American Legion & VFW Posts, and the Army National Guard Honor Squad will be in the Masonic & Odd Fellows Cemetery in Benton. Visitation will be from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. on Tuesday at the funeral home.

For more information or to send online condolences please visit

Jean Wiseman – Benton, Illinois

Jean Evelyn Wiseman, age 78, of Benton, a former resident of Carrier Mills, passed away at 6:57 a.m. Friday, December 23, 2022, at the Benton Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.

Jean was born on July 13, 1944, in Benton, Illinois; the daughter of Harvey Noel Phillips and Blanche Mary (Tate) Phillips. She married Robert Dennis Wiseman on November 6, 1965, and he preceded her in death on August 22, 2022.

Mrs. Wiseman was a retired beautician and accountant. She was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church of Benton.
Jean enjoyed sewing, shopping, her dogs; and in her younger years she enjoyed hiking and traveling.

Surviving are numerous nieces, nephews and cousins and their families.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and thirteen siblings: Harvey Noel Phillips, Jr., Neva Lavern Phillips, Mary Idalene Rone, Elsie Lou Cockrum, Robert Carter Phillips, Julia Faye Hathcoat, Linda Sue Phillips, Nora Fern Huffine, Harvey Noel “Jay” Phillips, William James Phillips, Lola Mae Burchell, Harvey Carl Phillips, and Charles Lynn Phillips.

Mrs. Wiseman’s wishes were to be cremated.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, March 25, 2023, at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton with Father Urban Osuji officiating. Family and friends may arrive any time after 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning at the Leffler Funeral Home.

Jean will be placed with her late husband Bob, at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO.
Cremation arrangements were through the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Franklin County Animal Shelter; and will be accepted at the funeral home.
To leave online condolences to the family, or to share memories of Jean, visit

Brenda Bruce – Benton, Illinois

Brenda Sue Bruce, age 78, of Benton, passed away at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at the Stonebridge Nursing and Rehab Center of Benton.

Celebration of Life Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, March 27, 2023, at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton, with Rev. Mark Minor officiating. Burial will follow in the Masonic & Odd Fellows Cemetery of Benton. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Monday at the Leffler Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Whittington Church and will be accepted at the funeral home.

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

Frances Louise Furlow-Christopher, IL

Frances Louise Furlow, 101, of Christopher, passed away on Saturday March 18, 2023 at Herrin Hospital.

She was born on November 22, 1921 in Valier, IL to Charley and Lillie (Pharris) Bennett. She married Earl Monroe Furlow on November 2, 1951 and he preceded her in death.

She is survived by her granddaughter Chrissy (Dale) DeWeerdt; grandson Shane Brown; Great grandchildren Corey (Shyanne) DeWeerdt, Connor DeWeerdt and Caitlyn DeWeerdt; Great Great Granddaughter Kye DeWeerdt; stepchildren Earline Galloway, Bob Furlow, Pauline Scott and Wilma Maceri; three nephews Ray (Deborah) Bennett, Dean (Kathleen) Bennett and Lee Bennett and one niece Diane (Dave) Bennett Simpson .

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, daughter Marilyn Kondoudis and three brothers Ed Bennett, Charles Bennett and John Bennett.

She was a lifelong member of the Southside Baptist Church in Christopher and played the piano for years there, she was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and the White Shrine for over fifty years. She loved to quilt, do word search puzzles, volunteering, baking and gardening.

Her wishes were to be cremated. A private family burial will take place at a later date.

For more information go to our website

Michael Williams – Herrin, Illinois

Michael Scott Williams, age 30, of Herrin, Illinois, was pronounced deceased at 11:32 a.m. Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in Buckner, Illinois.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, April 1, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton. A luncheon will follow at Twin Oaks of Benton.

Michael was born on September 11, 1992, in Carbondale, Illinois; the son of David Williams and Tammy (Graham) Williams.
He worked as a press operator with Aisin Manufacturing of Marion, Illinois.

Michael enjoyed woodworking, fishing, camping, hiking, and running. When he was younger, he enjoyed running and competing in cross country. Most of all he enjoyed life.
Surviving is his loving mother Tammy Williams of Herrin, Illinois; his father David Williams of Benton, Illinois; grandparents: Bill and Shirley Plunk of St. Augustine, Florida, Janice Williams of Johnston City, Illinois; two brothers: Anthony Darnell and wife Misty of Benton, Illinois, John Williams and wife Sarah of West Frankfort, Illinois; nephews: Aren, Jayce, Noah, Eli, and (Abel due to arrive in May); aunts and uncles: Vickie Nance and husband Roger of Edwardsville, Illinois, Tina Gray of Marion, Illinois, Bret Gray of Benton, Illinois, David Graham and wife Becky of Hobe Sound, Florida, Tina Lynn Greenwood of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Kathryn Lawrence and husband John of St. Augustine, Florida, Brian Plunk of Benton, Illinois, Thomas Plunk of Edwardsville, Illinois, Lori Williams of Thompsonville, Illinois, Michelle Williams of Johnston City, Illinois; numerous cousins and their families.

He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfathers Bill Feig and Norman Graham; paternal grandfather Ronnie Williams; and an uncle John Plunk.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Franklin County Emergency Management Agency (Search and Rescue), 401 East Park Street, Benton, Illinois 62812; or Community Action Place Inc. (Homeless Coalition), 1400 North Wood Road, Suite 7, Murphysboro, IL 62966; or Lincoln’s Challenge School, 212 West Borman Drive, Rantoul, Illinois 61866; or Hospice of Southern Illinois, 204 Halfway Road, Marion, Illinois 62959; or GIA Missing Persons Awareness Network NFP, P.O. Box 164, Grant Park, Illinois 60940; and will be accepted at the funeral home.

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

Robert (Bobby) Edmond Mace Jr – Sesser, IL

Robert (Bobby) Edmond Mace Jr, 74 of Sesser, Illinois passed away on Friday March 17th 2023 at his home with his loving wife by his side.

He was born in West Frankfort, Illinois on April 7, 1948 to Robert E. Mace Sr and Gertrude (Swain) Fabris. He married the love of his life Bonnie (Bower) Mace on December 12th 2012 in Benton, Il. They shared 30 years together, and were married for 10 years.

Robert was a 1966 graduate of Sesser-Valier High School where he was a talented athlete especially in track and football. After graduation Robert enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served as a postal work. He was in the Vietnam War, and after being honorably discharged from the military he worked in the coal mines.

He loved watching horse races, dog races and playing cards. He loved listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival and classic country music. He loved watching soap operas and spending time with his best friend his wife and their dog Gizmo. He was an avid golfer and he loved playing horse shoes. He was a wonderful Papa and loving husband. He accepted the Lord as his savior as a young man. He will be missed here on earth but we know he is in Heaven with his loved ones.

Robert is survived by his wife Bonnie Mace; children, Randy (Ann) Carlton, of Malden, MO, Robert Carlton, Valier, IL, Karen (Bob) Sprague, Sesser, IL, Sara Pedigo, Sesser, IL, John (Michele) Gunn, Benton,IL, Bonnie Clark, Christopher, IL, Allie Cosma, Alliance, OH; grandchildren,Serena Abbott, RyAnn Clark, Railan Clark, Vivian Carlton, Adalyn Heiman, Mason Cosma, Maggie Cosma, Stephanie (Shane) Smith, Rachel Shurtz, Sarah Urban, Steven (Holly) Shurtz, Miriam (Ethan) Newman, Nicholas McCarty, David Pedigo and Alice Pedigo.

Robert is also survived by brothers, Mario Fabris, Valier, Bobby Fabris, Christopher; sisters, Marine (Kirby) Williams, of Valier, Tina (Larry) Tucker Christopher, Christy (Brian) Mann Valier. Also surviving are great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers Johnnie Terry, Vallie Fabris, daughter Diana Gunn and great grandson Odin Hensley.

Funeral services will be on Friday, March 24, 2023 at 6 p.m. at Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser, with Brother Larry Cook officiating. Visitation will be on Friday from 4 p.m. until the time of service at 6 p.m.. Burial will be held at a later date.

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Com-Ed Four trial continues

Tapes show Madigan’s ‘assignments’ carried out by McClain in corruption case

(The Center Square) – The so-called ComEd Four trial continues Monday with more phone-recorded evidence expected to show the inner workings of what federal prosecutors call “Madigan Enterprise.”

Here’s a link to the story.

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News