Bettie Mary Lee Stephenson-Almo, KY

Bettie Mary Lee Stephenson, age 82, of Almo, Kentucky, died on Monday, March 23, 2020, at her home, due to natural causes.

Mrs. Stephenson was born in Christopher, Illinois on July 7, 1937. Mrs. Stephenson before retiring was employed at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, more recently she worked at Jakel in Murray. She was of the Lutheran Faith.

Mrs. Stephenson was preceded in death by her father, Oscar Walker; her mother, Frances (Smith) Walker Bateman; her husband, James H. Stephenson, who died in 1971; and by one brother, Ray Walker. Mrs. Stephenson is survived by one son, Harold Stephenson and wife Vicky of Almo, Kentucky; one sister, Carol King and husband Kenny of Zeigler, Illinois; one brother, Gene Walker and wife Dina of Chillicothe, Illinois; two grandchildren, Harry Stephenson and Nicole Parker and husband Justin all of Murray; as well as one great – grandchild, Lola Parker of Murray; as well as a sister-in-law, Connie Walker of Murray; also several nieces and nephews.

Due to the current events surrounding the viral pandemic of the coronavirus, the Stephenson family will have a private visitation and graveside service to respect the government guidelines.

Rend Lake College mourns loss of original board member, Dr. Allen Y. Baker

INA, Ill. — His name is adorned on the Administration Building at Rend Lake College, but his legacy lives throughout institutions across Illinois as “the man who has done more for community colleges of the state than any other.”

Those were the words of Shawnee Community College President Dr. Loren Klaus in 1979 in a letter recognizing the efforts of RLC board member Dr. Allen Y. Baker. At that ceremony in 1979, Dr. Baker was the first person in RLC history to have a building named after him. His contributions to Rend Lake College and community colleges across the state were immeasurable in the 1960s and 70s. Baker passed away March 13 in Florida. He was 98 years old.

Baker is a part of RLC’s story from the very beginning. He was elected to the first ever RLC Board in 1966. In March 1969, Baker and six fellow board members stood in a cornfield and broke ground on what would become RLC’s Ina campus. He would serve on the Board of Trustees until he decided not to run for re-election in 1979 and he was Board Chairman from 1970-1974.

“Dr. Baker created a great legacy at Rend Lake College that is evident on our campus today and will be well into the future. We respect and appreciate the impact Dr. Baker had on Rend Lake College and the Illinois community college system,” said RLC President Terry Wilkerson.

Baker’s fingerprints are all over the formation and development of Rend Lake College. He served on the Steering and Executive Committees for Perry County and played a significant role in making Pinckneyville part of the RLC district. He was involved in site selection and hiring of RLC’s first President. He helped select an architect and passed a bond issuance for $1.3 million to construct the original campus. And he helped develop RLC’s Master Plan, guiding RLC to be the first community college in the state to complete a Master Plan.

But his contributions to community college infrastructure did not end in Southern Illinois. In 1965, Illinois passed the Public Community College Act and leaders around the state stepped up to guide and enact this new comprehensive plan. Allen served as RLC’s representative to the Illinois Community College Trustees Association since its founding and served two terms as the ICCTA Chairman. It was with the ICCTA where Baker fought successfully to establish equalization funding, which allows areas with lower assessed values to receive fair funding and keep community college costs low for students around the state. While Baker was president of the ICCTA, all 39 community colleges in Illinois joined the organization. The ICCTA named Baker a lifetime Honorary Member.

Baker also served on the Illinois Community College Advisory Committee on Community College Finance, the Governor’s Advisory Committee to State Community College in East St. Louis, the Illinois State Scholarship Commission and as the ICCTA’s liaison to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

It was at RLC’s May 2008 graduation ceremony where Baker made one more great contribution to the college. On the commencement stage, he announced he and his wife Stella were going to establish the Dr. Allen Y. Baker and Stella Baker Scholarship Fund. The Bakers donated a $100,000 endowment to start the scholarship, which was one of the largest in the history of the college. The scholarship was set up to help Pinckneyville High School students looking to attend RLC. Baker practiced as an optometrist in Pinckneyville for nearly half a century.

“The people of Pinckneyville were so good to me over the 48 years I practiced there. I wanted to repay those who trusted me with their vision care and enabled us to enjoy the wonderful life we have today,” he said in 2008.

The Bakers retired to Clearwater, Fla. after spending more than 40 years in Pinckneyville. Dr. Baker and Stella met in Fort Lewis, Wash. and were married in 1948 in Pinckneyville. Stella passed away May 13, 2012. The Bakers donated considerable property and artwork to the Rend Lake College Foundation. To establish other scholarships, they donated an antique automobile and real estate.

Currently, there are no services scheduled for Baker. The family has chosen Rend Lake College as one of the organizations to receive donations in memory of Dr. Allen Baker. Gifts can be made online at

Virginia Browning Genisio Stoffel – Benton, IL

Virginia Browning Genisio Stoffel, 93, of Benton passed away on March 22, 2020 in Benton.

She was born in Valier, IL on September 20, 1926, the daughter of H. L. & Hazel M. (Mackey) Browning.

She married Barnie Genisio on April 29, 1945 and he preceded her in death on January 5, 1994. She then married James “Calvin” Stoffel on October 22, 1994 and he survives.

Virginia was a member of the Order of Eastern Star LeRoy A. Chapter #350 in Marion, IL. Virgina was also a member of the Immanuel Baptist Church in Benton.

Virginia is survived by her husband, James “Calvin” Stoffel; son Stephen Genisio, and wife Karla, of Benton; daughter-in-law Judy West, and husband Richard, of Benton; step-daughter Nancy Schultz Vitangeli, and husband Scott, of Portland, OR; grandchildren Amie Monteggia, and husband Joe of Coello, Chad Genisio, and wife Heather, of Benton, Stephanie Stayton, and fiancé Matt Stubblefield, of Elkville, Nathan Genisio, and wife Jenna, of Benton, Danielle Schultz, of Oregon, Alexander Schultz, and wife Zoe, of New York; 11 great-grandchildren, Shae Moore & husband Matt of Tennessee, Korben Monteggia, of Coello, Kylie, Braden and Brody Genisio, of Benton, Gavin, Jaxon and Kayson Genisio, of Benton, Ashlyn Stayton, of Elkville and Gunner and Kynsleigh Stubblefield, of Elkville; two great-grandsons, Leo and Levi Moore, of Tennessee, several nieces and nephews, lifelong friends Larry and Alda McIntyre.

Virginia was preceded in death by her parents, her first husband, a son, Paul Genisio, grandson, Eric Paul Genisio, brother and sister-in-law-Lee & Jane Browning and step-son-Dennis Stoffel.

Private Family services will be held.

For more information or to send online condolences please visit

Raymond Oral Furlow – Benton, IL

Raymond Oral Furlow, 84, of Benton, passed away at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday, March 22, 2020, at the Mt. Vernon Health Care Center.

He was born on August 26, 1935, to Melvon and Nora May (Flatt) Furlow in Christopher, IL. Mr. Furlow was a United States Army Veteran. Raymond was the owner and operator of Furlow Excavating for 35 years. On June 27, 1958, he married Betty Adams and she survives.

Mr. Furlow was a member of the First Methodist Church in Benton. Raymond was a loving husband and father. He loved traveling in their motor home.

Raymond is survived by his loving spouse, Betty, one son, Adam Furlow; one sister, Thelma Creamer; sister-in-law, Beverly Arnold; and four nieces & nephews, Debbie Hanson, Bonnie Arnold, Pat Arnold and Mike Arnold.

He was preceded in death by parents, Melvon and Nora May Furlow, one son, Michael R. Furlow, and two brother-in-laws, Michael Creamer and Jack Arnold.

Services have been entrusted to Pate Funeral Home, 301 S. Main St., Benton, IL.

Burial will take place at Harrison Cemetery, Buckner, IL. Services are private.

Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association and mailed to the funeral home.

Online condolences can be given at

Agnes Whiting Leffler — Benton, IL

Agnes Whiting Leffler, age 82, of Benton, passed away at 12:55 a.m. Friday, March 20, 2020 at her residence.

Her wishes were to be cremated. A Memorial Graveside Service will be held at a future date.

The Leffler Funeral Home of Benton is in charge of the arrangements.
Agnes was born on September 18, 1937 in Valier, Illinois, the daughter of Jacob Raubach and Ruth (Craddock) Raubach. She first would marry Bobby Whiting in 1956, and he passed away in December of 1967. Years later she would marry Glen Maxwell Leffler and he preceded her in death in April of 1997.

She worked at the West Frankfort Post Office from 1978 to 1992, before being a pharmacy tech in Denver, Co.

Agnes enjoyed playing Bingo, going to horse races, reading, working crossword puzzles, playing cards, jig-saw puzzles, and gambling.

Surviving are two children: Larry Whiting of Benton, and Jane Whiting and husband Donald Olson of Palatine; grandchildren: Megan Whiting, Josh Whiting, Lauren Kemp, J.D. Whiting, Deanna Whiting, Logan Olson, Alexandra Olson, and Lance White; great-grandchildren: Lily Whiting, Savannah Whiting, Emily Kemp, Jackson Whiting, Anthony Jack Kemp, and Chris Zigler; three sisters: Charlotte Cienki of Hazelton, PA, Shirley Finney of Herrin, Marguerite McFarland of ElPaso, TX, and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; two husbands; a son: Doug Whiting; great-grandchild C.J. Kemp; a sister: Barbara Batts; four brothers: Fred Raubach, Junior Raubach, Kenny Keller, and Karl Keller.
Memorial contributions may be made to the National COPD Action Plan; or to the Wounded Warrior Project.

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

Clifford Wayne Loucks-Benton, IL (formerly of Sesser, IL)

Clifford Wayne Loucks, 78, of Benton formerly of Sesser, passed away on March 20, 2020 at his home.

He was born on December 29, 1941 in Jefferson County, IL to Emro and Clara Helen (Mowbray) Loucks. He married Nancy Lee (Hass) Loucks on January 5, 1963 and she survives of Benton.

He is also survived by his children Marie (Todd) Martin of Wayne City, IL, Michael (Julie) Loucks of Scheller, IL, Marc (Lisa) Loucks of Sesser and Martin (Hassi) Loucks of Pittsburg, IL; nine grandchildren Ashley White, Dylan Loucks, Joey Hattendorf, Ellie Hattendorf, Austin Loucks, Aszure Loucks, Brent Ullman, Leo Loucks and Marci Loucks; twelve great grandchildren and one brother Harold Dean (Barb) Loucks of Sesser.

He was preceded in death by his parents and nine brothers and sisters.
A private family services will be held at the Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser. Burial will be at Mitchell Cemetery in Sesser.
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Wanda Sue Darr – West City, IL

Wanda Sue Darr, 71, of West City, Illinois, passed away peacefully on March 18, 2020, at the home of her daughter in rural Carbondale, Illinois, surrounded by her loving family.

Sue was born on December 1, 1948 in Christopher, Illinois to Stanley and Lillie Lee (Wilson) Teffertiller. Sue married James Douglas (JD) Darr on September 10, 1983.

Sue is survived by her devoted husband, JD, of West City; her mother Lillie Sapino of West City; daughters: Christina (Steven) White of Elgin, Jan (Lynn) Bush of Carbondale and Tara (Darren) Myers of Savoy; son: Ryan (Stephanie) Darr of Carlyle; grandchildren: Shelby Bush of Normal, Leyton (Jessica) Bush of Carbondale, Marc White and Lauren White of Elgin, Caleb Darr and Riley Darr of Carlyle, Andrew Myers, Jacob Myers and Jackson Myers of Savoy; great-granddaughter: Charlotte Bush of Carbondale; brother: Wayne (Patsy) Teffertiller of Tamaroa and several nieces and nephews.

Sue was preceded in death by her father: Stanley Teffertiller, step-father: Joseph Sapino and sister: Joy Rohde.

Sue was a nurturing and caring soul, and worked as a registered nurse for more than 30 years. She retired in 2010 after working at Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon, IL for many years. Sue also worked as a coal miner at the Freeman United Coal Mining Company, at both Orient No. 3 and Orient No. 6 mines in Waltonville, IL.

Sue loved spending time with her grandchildren and great-granddaughter, Charlie. She and JD also cherished the bonds of friendship made through their affiliation with the Stormriders MC for 40 years.

A private family visitation service will be held with burial immediately following, with services entrusted to Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher, IL.
For more information go to our website

Larry J. Bonacorsi – Troy, IL

Larry J. Bonacorsi, age 72, of Troy, Illinois, passed away suddenly on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at Anderson Hospital in Maryville, IL.

He was born February 10, 1948, in Christopher, Illinois, the son of the late Alfred & Anna (Guidazzio) Bonacorsi. Larry married Karen M. Donini in West Frankfort, Illinois, in 1972, and she survives. He is also survived by his daughter, Gina Vickrey & husband Eric of Seattle, Washington; one brother, Jerry Bonacorsi & wife Kim of Edwardsville. He was preceded in death by one daughter, Mary Bonacorsi Bussiere in 2012.

He taught math at Henry-Senachwine Consolidated School District for 38 years. Larry was a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Edwardsville, Knights of Columbus in Henry, Illinois, Illinois Retired Teachers Association, past Henry City Council Member, and Henry Library Board Treasurer. He was a board member of the MARY B Foundation, an organization that provides nursing scholarships in memory of his daughter, Mary. He was a big fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and was also a devoted follower of Bradley Braves basketball. Larry enjoyed traveling after retirement including annual trips to Jupiter, Florida, for spring training, fishing trips to St. Germain, Wisconsin, and many other places with friends and family.

There will be a private burial at SS. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Cemetery in Lemont, Illinois. There will be a memorial mass at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Edwardsville and a celebration of life at a later date. The family requests memorial donations be made to the Mary T. Bonacorsi Bussiere Memorial Nursing Scholarship Endowment at Bradley University. Donations may be made online at or by mail to Bradley University Donor Relations, 1501 West Bradley Avenue, Peoria, IL 61625.

Weber & Rodney Funeral Home in Edwardsville is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be expressed online at

US Corps of Engineers Preventative COVID-19 Closures

Benton, IL – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) St. Louis District will close all visitor centers, museums, beaches and project offices to the public beginning tomorrow while day use areas and boat ramps will remain open and available.

USACE campgrounds that are currently open will honor active reservations through Thursday March 19th. Any individuals with reservations on or before Thursday, March 19th will be able to camp for the entirety of their reservation. First-come, first-serve campsites will not be available after Thursday, March 19th.

Further, reservations scheduled between 20 March and 3 April are cancelled. Refunds will be provided through Recreation One-Stop (1-877-444-6777 or Unopened USACE campgrounds will have an indefinite delay in their previously advertised seasonal openings. All other events, including USACE-sponsored events, interpretive programs, fishing tournaments, lock-and-dam tours and site visits scheduled from 17 March through 3 April are now cancelled.

The USACE regrets any inconvenience caused by these closures. The USACE must keep the safety and health of all visitors as well as its employees as our priority. These preventative moves allow the USACE to continue to best deliver its other critical services uninterrupted at this time.

Additional information on modifications, closures or other restrictions related to USACE Project Areas will be announced as soon as possible.

James Ray Bellamey-Christopher, IL

James Ray Bellamey, 88, of Christopher, passed away on March 13, 2020 at his home.

He was born on August 24, 1931 in Grayville, IL to James Edward and Lydia (Handley) Bellamey. He married Flora Allis (Simpson) Bellamey on December 18, 1971 and she survives of Christopher.

He is also survived by his children Angie (Thomas) Armstrong of Tucson, AZ, Terri (Dave) Green of Indianapolis, IN, Kevin Bellamey of Indianapolis, IN, Gordon (Carol) Bellamey of Georgetown, IN, Dan Bellamey of Christopher and Dallis Bellamey of Zeigler; 22 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, one son Johnnie Ray Phillips, one sister Ellen Strassman and two brothers Donald Bellamey and Robert Bellamey.
James was an Army Veteran serving during the Korean War and had worked for the Indianapolis Police Department for many years.

Funeral services will be on Tuesday March 17, 2020 at 7:00 PM at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher, IL. Visitation will be on Tuesday March 17, 2020 from 5:00 PM until the time of the service at 7:00 PM. Graveside services will be held on Wednesday March 18, 2020 at 11:00 AM at the Little Zion Cemetery in Enfield, IL.

The family requests no flowers and that memorials can be made to the Southern Illinois Honor Flight, 10400 Terminal Drive, Suite 200, Marion, IL 62959. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.

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