Ruth Ann Davis – Benton, IL

Ruth Ann Davis passed away peacefully on October 24, 2020 at the age of 71.

Ruth Ann was born on October 27, 1948 to Russell and Mabel (Sargent) Hails in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

She attended Mt. Vernon High School and enjoyed keeping up with her classmates including the “Chicks of ‘66”. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Southern Illinois University in 1970.

Ruth Ann taught for Benton School District 47 for over 20 years most of which was in special education. She was a fierce advocate for her students and kept in touch with many long after they left her classroom. She mentored numerous young teachers during her career and counted several as life-long friends.

She spent her retirement doting over her two granddaughters and spending time with best friends Joyce Thompson, Paula Borgra, Jeanette Dale, and Barb Forsythe. She was an avid reader and loved studying family history.

Ruth Ann is survived by two sons and their families, Jeff and Niki Davis and their daughter Phoebe of Carbondale, and Matt and Robin Davis and their daughter Alexis of Benton; husband Tom Davis; brother and sister-in-law Wayne and Joyce Hails; niece Lori McKinney and her husband Neil McKinney; nephews and their wives Kirk and Kamla Hails and Casey and Teresa Hails all of Bluford; and 9 great-nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents.

In accordance with Ruth Ann’s wishes, cremation will take place on October 28, 2020 and a private scattering of the ashes service will be held for the family. To celebrate Ruth Ann’s life, memorial donations can be made in her name to the Benton Public Library or Franklin County Animal Control.

To leave online condolences to the family, or to share memories of Ruth Ann; visit

Arrangements are through the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton.

Beatrice B. Wilson – West Frankfort, IL

Beatrice B. Wilson, 78, of West Frankfort, passed away at 9:15 a.m., Monday, October 26, 2020, at Integrity Healthcare in Marion.

She was born on October 8, 1942, to Walter and Julia Mitchell in Jefferson City, MO. On May 14, 1972, Beatrice married Charles Wilson and he survives.

Beatrice was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. She enjoyed going shopping and traveling.

Beatrice is survived by her loving spouse of 42 years, Charles, one daughter, Jerri (Eric) Shepard; two sons, Charles Wilson and Wesley Wilson; three grandchildren, Danielle Shepard, Madison Shepard and Landon Shepard; one brother, Jessie Mitchell and one sister, Alice Lumonion.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Walter and Julia Mitchell and two brothers, Raymond Mitchell and Lindell Mitchell.

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

Visitation will be held on Friday, October 30, 2020, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Pate Funeral Home in Benton.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and will be accepted at the funeral home.

Online condolences can be given at

Betty Jean Short-Christopher, IL

Betty Jean Short, 63, of Christopher, passed away on October 26, 2020 at her home.

She was born on March 29, 1957 in Christopher to James Coy and Mary (Grabarick) Newberry. She married Raymond Short on November 21, 1974 and he preceded her in death on April 19, 2013.

She is survived by her children Marsha (Bruce) Roberts of Sesser, Donny (Amber) Short of Sesser, Darren Short of Christopher and Jonathon Short of Christopher; grandchildren John Matthew Baxter, Tyler Baxter, Lacey Mae Roberts, Braydon James Short, Kyan Michael Short and Ethan Ray Short; one great grandson Matthew Alexander Baxter and one sister Linda Robinson of Colp, IL.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, two sisters Barbara Pickerill and Shirley Newberry-Robinson and three brothers John Newberry, James Newberry Jr. and Bobby Newberry.

Betty’s wishes were to be cremated. The family will have a Celebration of Life at a later date due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For more information go to our website

Curtis L. Mandrell — Benton, IL

Curtis L. Mandrell, 88, of Benton passed peacefully on Oct. 18, 2020 after a short illness.

He was born in Benton, IL on June 5, 1932, the son of Leslie Rufus & Bonnie Mae (Eldridge) Mandrell. He was a member of the Church of Christ. Curt was a loving husband, dad, grandpa & great-grandpa.

A native and lifelong resident of Benton, he would never imagine living anywhere else. It was here that he learned carpentry skills from his father and grandfather. Curt honed these skills to not only make a living, but also generously help many others with his talent. More importantly, his strong faith in God and service to others helped him construct a living legacy as a father, loving husband, church member, and community servant. Curt embodied the apostle Paul’s admonition of Philippians 2:3-4: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Beverly Mandrell, children, Debby (Gary) Kraft, of Benton, Carla Davidson, of Mt. Sterling, KY, Darrell (Jenny) Mandrell, of Mt. Sterling, KY and Bonnie Garza, of San Antonio, TX. He is also surived by six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Curt was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers.
Curt was a carpenter for 40 years, 25 of which were spent at SIU.

Graveside Services will be held at 1:00 P.M. Saturday, Oct. 31st at the Shiloh Cemetery in Whittington, with Steve Reeves officiating.

For more information or to send online condolences please visit

Dorothy J. Wilinkin – Zeigler, IL

Dorothy J. Wilinkin of Zeigler, Illinois passed into the next life on October 21, 2020, after a short illness.

She was inducted into the National Honor Society in 1948 and enjoyed academic success at the University of Maryland University College, earning a Bachelors Degree magna cum laude. She retired from the federal civil service more than twenty-five years ago. She was an avid piano player and enjoyed playing piano at the church she attended in Zeigler until joining First Christian Church of Royalton.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her late husband, Edward M. Wilinkin, and her first husband, Robert K. Shrake. She was also preceded in death by both of her parents, Virgil and Inos Phifer (nee Hall) and both of her siblings, Margaret Parsons (nee Phifer) and Kenneth Phifer.

She is survived by her four children, Robert Shrake, Brian Shrake, Judy Donegan (nee Shrake), and James Shrake, as well as eleven grandchildren.

Funeral Arrangements have been entrusted to Pate Funeral Home, Benton, IL.

Donations to First Christian Church of Royalton in lieu of flowers are encouraged.

Online condolences may be expressed online at

Bertha Erma Lee Conner – Benton, IL

Bertha Erma Lee Conner, 95 went to be with the Lord on October 21, 2020. She passed away at Franklin Hospital with her daughter Katie and husband Jerrel by her side.

Erma Lee was born on April 14, 1925 in Sesser, IL. to Lemuel and Bertha (Rick) Cockrum. She married Wesley V. Conner on July 19, 1942. He passed away on March 23, 2011. They have one surviving daughter, Katie (Jerrel) Dungy of Benton, Il.
Erma Lee was saved at 12 years old and was baptized in the pond behind their house in rural Sesser Illinois. Until her passing she was the oldest member of Rescue Freewill Baptist Church. She was Sunday school clerk for many years and part of those years she and her sister in law, Venita Kern were church custodians. She also was the church pianist for several years. She was best known for her chicken and dumplings.

Erma Lee is survived by her daughter Katie (Jerrel) Dungy, 7 grandchildren, Karen Miller, Rhea Eva (Joey) Hutchcraft, Matt (Andrea) Dungy, Eric (Kelly) Kirk, Tom (Kim) Kirk, Erin (Jason) Bennett, and Molly (Jeff) Minor. 12 great grandchildren, Brandon Hess, Samuel Miller, Shelby (Matt) Anrovandi, Ben (Katlynn) Hutchcraft, Ike Hutchcraft, Liam (Kara) Kirk, Laney, Briley and Eli Kirk, Taylor Noel (Aaron Ballew), Madison Noel, Addie Dungy and 5 great great granchildren, Wesley and Noah Androvani, Oliver Ballew, Knox Minor and Bennett Kirk. One sister Mazie Hamilton and fiance Larry Overturf, and one son in law Kern Kirk. She also leaves behind several nieces and nephews. She was proceeded in death by her husband, parents, 2 infant sisters Nancy May and Margaret Fay, 2 daughters Ruth Kirk and Paula Tate, and great grandson Zach Dungy, 4 half brothers Edgar, Loren, and Virgil Griffin. Brothers Frank and Coy I. Cockrum, 4 sisters, Rada Reynolds, Dorothy Conner, Afton Lampley and Nellie Rosemary Smith.

Visitation will be held on Friday October 23, 2020 at Rescue Freewill Baptist Church in Whittington, Il. from 6:00-8:00 pm with funeral services on Saturday October 24, 2020 at the church at 11:00 with visitation at 10:00 until time of service. Burial will be in the Franklin Cemetery in Whittington.

We ask that you be considerate of others and practice social distancing. Masks are recommended, and will be made available upon request.

For more information or to send online condolences please visit

Blake Sullivan — Bonnie, IL

Blake Sullivan, age 53, of Bonnie, passed away at 9:55 a.m. Friday, October 16, 2020 at his mother’s home.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Monday, October 19, 2020 at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton, with Pastor Brandon Houseworth officiating. Burial will be in the Brady Cemetery East of Akin. Visitation will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday at the Leffler Funeral Home.

Due to Health Concerns related to COVID-19: Visitation and Funeral services are limited to 50 people at one time; facial coverings are required; and social distancing should be observed. If you are sick, please stay at home.

Blake was born on March 7, 1967 in Benton; the son of Melvin Sullivan and Pam (Morgan) Sullivan.

He was a graduate of BCHS Class of 1985. He served his country in the U.S. Army, and he was a construction worker.

Blake was an avid sports fan, enjoyed music, playing strat-o-matic baseball; but most of all enjoyed spending time with his daughters and granddaughter.

Surviving is his loving mother Pam Tippitt and husband John of Bonnie; his father Melvin Sullivan and wife Linda of West City; three daughters Chelsea Sullivan and fiancée Matt Johnson of Wheaton, IL, Paige Sullivan of Royalton, Peighton Sullivan of Benton; a great-granddaughter Hadley Blake Sullivan; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents Floyd Morgan and Patsy Connor; and his paternal grandparents Howard and Bertha Sullivan.

Memorial contributions in memory of Blake, may be made to the ALS Association, and will be accepted at the funeral home, or if donor’s wish to give electronically at

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

William Harold Howe – Macedonia, IL

William Harold Howe, age 91, of Macedonia, passed away at 10:20 a.m. Monday, October 12, 2020 at the VA Medical Center in Marion.

Mr. Howe’s wishes were to be cremated with no public services.
Cremation arrangements are through the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton.

Mr. Howe was born on September 9, 1929 in Watseka, IL; the son of Wayne Harold Howe and Bernice (Conner) Howe. He married the former Louella Hamlin on April 19, 1974, and together they shared 46 years of marriage.

He proudly served his country first in the U.S. Coast Guard, later he transferred to the United States Army Air Corps, and later the U.S. Air Force.

He was the self-employed owner and operator of Howe Body Shop, where he enjoyed working and tinkering on cars.

After suffering a stroke that forced his retirement, he and his wife enjoyed their daily trips to McDonald’s to visit with friends.

Surviving is his loving wife Louella Howe of Macedonia; his biological children: Michael Howe of Benton and his children Gene, Veronica, Natalie, Jessica, and Jennifer; William Howe of Herrin and his children Holly, Garrett, and Craig; Claudia Moore of West Frankfort and her children Amy, Stacy, Michael and Joshua; Louella’s three children: David Franklin of Benton, Paul Franklin of Pureyear, TN, and Tracy Howe of Akin; two grandchildren: William C. Burcham and Wayne H. Howe; several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother Robert Howe.

Memorial contributions in memory of Mr. Howe, may be made to the organization of the donor’s choice.

To leave online condolences to the family, or to share memories of Mr. William H. Howe; visit

James Isom-Christopher, IL

James Norman Isom 64 passed away Monday October 12, 2020 at his home in Christopher Illinois with his wife , son, daughter in law and special friends by his side.

James was born July 18, 1956 to Betty Ann (Spencer) Isom. James spent most of his life working as a brick mason, he was an avid outdoorsman and loved to ride his Harley Davidson motorcycles.

James ( Jim) leaves behind his wife Carol A (Hayes) Isom , son Charlie James Isom and wife Andi Jo of Christopher IL, son Daniel Furlong and wife Shannan of Chesapeake VA, grandchildren Brandon Isom, Stephanie Isom, Gavin Price and Cannon Furlong as well as other family and friends. James is preceded in death by his mother Betty Ann Isom , sister Julie D Isom and granparents Norman and Georgia Spencer.

It was James’s wishes to be cremated with no funeral service. James’s wife Carol plans to hold a celebration of life gathering for family and friends at a later date. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Gilbert’s funeral home to assist in final expenses.
For more information go to our website

Maria Sophia Adamson – Valier, IL

Maria Sophia “Sophie” Adamson, 93, of Valier passed away on Sunday October 11, 2020 at StoneBridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Benton, Illinois.

Sophie was born in Dresden, Germany on October 6, 1927. Born to Maria Launhardt and Heinrich Stock. She grew up in Germany where she was a proof reader at a publishing company. On April 9, 1952 she married Henry M. Adamson of Greenup, Illinois, who preceded her in death September 27, 2000. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. As a naturalized citizen of the United States and the wife of a career military soldier, she assumed the roles of mother and father during Henry’s deployments overseas. Sophie moved with her family to Valier and had resided there since December 1964. After moving to Valier, she was employed as a seamstress in Country Set sewing factory in Du Quoin, Illinois and later began her home sewing business. As a professional seamstress, she made everything from everyday clothing to creating gowns for proms, homecomings, and weddings. She also made cheerleading uniforms for many of the local schools. She enjoyed raising many farm animals, gardening, and canning. Later in life, she enjoyed reading, flower gardening, sewing, knitting doilies, and embroidery. Throughout life, Sophie engaged in travel adventures in the United States and the world, including Germany, Australia, Turkey, and Thailand to name a few.
Sophie’s brother, Gunther preceded her in death and his wife Desley resides in Brisbane, Australia

Sophie had two daughters and two sons:
Dorothee “Dee” Merkle, who preceded her in death, husband Phillip Merkle, Boone, Iowa
Emily and husband, Steve Mickelwait, Haymarket, Virginia
Michael Adamson, Valier, Illinois
Thomas “Tom Tom” Adamson, who preceded her in death.
Grandchildren include:
Michael Kelly and wife, Sarah and their children; Kilian and Keira
Katherine Mackenzie and husband, Patrick and children; Hayden, Andrew, and Will
Julie Greonig and husband, Jake and children; Erin and Louis
William Merkle
Kyle Mickelwait and wife Rae and children; Hayley, Owen, and Adam
Leigh Anne Mullins and husband Matt and children; Madison, Max, Millie, Morgan, and Maverick
Nikolette Burgett and husband David and children; Aurora, Bridget and husband Dalton and their children: Channing, Delilah, and Isabella
Mitchell Adamson and wife Rasheal and daughter Samantha
Megan Adamson and wife Ashley

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