Janice Vandekerkhove-Coello, IL

Janice Lea Vandekerkhove, 81, of Coello, passed away on Tuesday October 25, 2022 at Herrin Hospital.

She was born on March 3, 1941 in Crab Orchard, IL to Frank and Olive (Tanner) Davis. She married Gustave “Gus” “Butch” Vandekerkhove on July 4, 1958 and he preceded her in death on July 20, 2019.

Survivors include her children Michael (Tracey) Vandekerkhove of Mulkeytown, Tom Vandekerkhove of Hurst, Sonya Eldridge of Ewing and Robert (Chanda) Vandekerkhove of Coello; grandchildren Elizabeth (Todd) Paulson, Ty (Abby) Vandekerkhove, Treg (Faith) Vandekerkhove, Brittany Basler, Austin Vandekerkhove, Remy (Caleb) Miner, Alexandria Fedderke and Adrianna Fedderke; great grandchildren Chloe, Drake, Landon, Axel, Sloane, Kourtlin, Khalil, Hollis, Rosalyn, Emmitt, Wesleigh and Emilia.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.

Funeral services will be held on Friday October 28, 2022 at 12:00 PM at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher with Pastor Bill Wiggs Jr. officiating. Visitation will be on Friday from 10:00 AM until the time of the service at 12:00 PM. Burial will be at Mulkeytown Cemetery.

For more information go to our website www.gilbertfuneralhomes.com

Lawrence L. Zicker – Benton, IL

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Lawrence L. Zicker (91) Benton, Illinois.

Lawrence, a military veteran, was born in Benton and graduated from Benton High School. He spent his career in trucking and served on the Executive Board of Teamsters Local 347. His first job was with Newhouse Lumber in Benton. He was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. He was the most senior member of the Bone Yard Bocce Club. Lawrence will be remembered for his loyalty to family and friends and his integrity throughout his life. He and his wife were avid polka fans and loved to dance.
Lawrence is preceded in death by his wife Ethel (Hammonds) Zicker. They were married 55 years at her passing. He is also preceded by his father, Charles Zicker and his mother, Sophia Zicker.

Lawrence is survived by Barbara (Hammonds) Blackston, sister-in-law from Granite City, Illinois, Paul Hammonds, brother-in-law, Alpharetta, Georgia, and his close friend and companion, Jeannie Summers of Benton, Illinois He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Services for Mr. Zicker will include a visitation from 5:30-7:30 pm on Thursday October 27, at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton. His funeral will be officiated by Father Urban Osuji at 10:00 am on Friday, October 28, also at Morton Johnston Funeral Home. Burial with Military Rites conducted by Benton American Legion Post #280 & VFW Post #2671 will be in the Masonic & Odd Fellows Cemetery in Benton.
For more information or to send online condolences please visit www.mortonjohnstonfuneralhome.com

Phyllis Marie Knapper – Benton, IL

Phyllis Marie Knapper, 87, entered heaven on October 20, 2022.

Phyllis was born on July 12, 1935, in Akin, Illinois the daughter of Joe and Freda Launius. Phyllis had one beloved sister, Carolyn Launius, who was her best friend until her sudden passing in 1978.

Phyllis married James Edward Knapper on October 2, 1956 in Benton, Illinois. They shared 34 years of marriage together until James’ passing on August 12, 1991.

Phyllis was a homemaker. She was a member of Thompsonville Church of God. Phyllis enjoyed reading her Bible and spending time with her family.

Surviving are her 3 children, Kimberly (Claude) Otterson of Benton, IL, James Joel (Dawn) Knapper of Bourbonnais, IL and Philip (Tammie) Knapper of Cape Coral, FL; 4 grandchildren, Rebecca Otterson (Donald Winters, Jr.) of Enfield, IL, Molly (Eddie) Kennedy of Aroma Park, IL, Hannah (Kurt) Portwood of Jacksonville, IL and Jarrod Knapper of Springfield, IL; 1 great granddaughter, Lillian Otterson; 1 great grandson, Kaden Portwood and 1 great grandbaby, Baby Kennedy, due to arrive in May of 2023.

In addition to her husband, Phyllis is preceded in death by her parents, sister, first granddaughter, Carolyn Marie Otterson and Aunt Velma and Uncle Raymond Davis.

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

A graveside service will be held at 11:45am, Saturday, October 29, 2022 at Masonic & Oddfellows Cemetery in Benton, IL.

Memorials may be made to Thompsonville Church of God.


Amy Ranee Queen – Christopher, IL

Amy Ranee Queen, 47, of Christopher, passed away on October 20, 2022 at the Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis, Missouri surrounded by family.

She was born on October 29, 1974 in Pinckneyville, IL to Danny Queen and Tany (Cochran) Steckenrider. She attended Christopher High School and graduated in 1992. She went on to get her associates in nursing from Rend Lake College. She started her nursing career at the Rea Clinic in Christopher, then continued her career at SIH. She touched the lives of many in her career as a nurse. She enjoyed being outdoors, working in her flower gardens and being with her family.

She is survived by her father Danny Queen (Kelly Phillips) of DuQuoin, mother Tany Steckenrider (Gary Goss) of Christopher, sister Chrissy Dirnbeck (Eric Dirnbeck) of West Frankfort, brother Jim Steckenrider(Sandy Hill-Kixmiller) of West City, brother Jacob Steckenrider(Krista Ticer) of West Frankfort, daughter Aleesha Twitty(Todd Twitty) of Mulkeytown and grandson due in March, daughter Jena Holden of Christopher and son Dylan Holden of Christopher. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be Wednesday October 26, 2022 at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher from 4 pm to 8 pm. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 27 at the Gilbert Funeral home at 11 am followed by a brief burial service at the Mulkeytown Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Amy Ranee Queen Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will be awarded to a Christopher High School student planning to pursue a nursing degree.

For more information go to our website www.gilbertfuneralhomes.com

Bob Bridewell – Springfield, IL (formerly of Thompsonville, IL)

Bob Bridewell, 87, of Springfield, formerly of Thompsonville, Illinois passed away on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, at Springfield Memorial Hospital with his loving family by his side. Bob was born July 10, 1935, in Saline County, the son of Rural G. and Dottie Bridewell. Bob graduated from Thompsonville High School in 1954. He married Geraldine “Gerry” Eubanks on May 3, 1957, in Benton, Illinois with Rev. Harv Kimmel presiding.

Bob loved cars and had over 53 years of experience in the automotive business. He began working at Glen Weeks Auto in West Frankfort, Illinois. He then worked at Caruthers Cadillac and Pontiac Dealership until he opened his own business, Bridewell’s Body Shop and Auto Sales, in 1969 and retired in 2007. He was a past member of the Benton Elks Lodge, where he was a past Exalted Ruler, past member of Benton Bocce Club, and past member of the Akin Masonic Lodge.He was of protestant faith. Bob loved auto racing, attending local races when he was younger every weekend, and was a NASCAR Fan, never missing a race on the television in later years. He also loved to trade and sell farm machinery. After moving to Springfield to be closer to his family, he loved spending time with his great- grandchildren and hearing all about their sports and activities.

Bob is survived by his loving wife of 65 years Gerry Bridewell, one child, Jaye Bridewell Miller, granddaughter Shannon (Nick) Bellini, and great-grandchildren Seiger Dunston and Gianna Jaye Bellini. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews along with many cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents Rural and Dottie Bridewell, and his wife’s parents Deck and Ruth Eubanks.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, October 22, 2022, at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton, with Brother Larry Miller officiating; burial will follow in the Masonic & Odd Fellows Cemetery of Benton. Visitation will be from noon to 2:00 p.m. Saturday at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Illinois Elks Children’s Care; and will be accepted at the funeral home.
To leave online condolences to the family, or to share memories of Bob, visit www.lpfuneralhome.com

Kirby Browning – Benton, IL

Kirby Browning, age 90, September 10, 1932 – October 10, 2022. Loving husband, father, brother, and friend peacefully passed away at 1:30 PM in Deaconess Midtown Hospital of Evansville, Indiana. He was born to Barney C. and Maude L. (Kearney) Browning in West City, IL. He married Carmen (Smith) Browning on June 18, 1960, and they shared 62 wonderful years of marriage.

Kirby was the third of eight children born to his parents.They lived in “Bug Tussle”, an area between Benton and Christopher, and he attended school in a one-room schoolhouse. The family moved to a farm south of Benton by 1940 and the Browning children attended McKinley School, another one-room schoolhouse. His mother told Barney that she didn’t care where they lived as long as the kids could walk to school. As a graduate of Benton High School in 1928, she knew the value of education and wanted her children to have every opportunity in life. Kirby always praised his parents for his wonderful childhood, educational opportunities, and introducing God into his life. He thought the world of them and they thought the world of him.

He and his older brothers, Ken and Don, learned early in life that the family had to work as a team to have what they needed. The three boys worked on the farm together with their parents, feeding the chickens and pigs, milking the cows in the early morning hours, planting and hoeing the garden, and canning the vegetables to store for the winter. Kirby admired his older brothers, and he often talked about their younger years and fun days on the farm.

Kirby met the love of his life on the Benton square in 1959 while cruising with his best friend, Don Upchurch. He said that Carmen was the most beautiful women in the world. Their first date was watching the Browning pond being dug on the family farm. Kirby and Carmen were married the next year at the First Christian Church in Benton, IL and they shared 62 wonderful years of marriage together.
Kirby was an educator. He was a 1950 graduate of Benton High School and he achieved all three of his college degrees from SIU, earning his PhD in 1972. Kirby coordinated and attended all the graduation ceremonies at SIU. He taught English at Benton High School, became the Principal at Thompsonville, and began working in the registrar’s office at SIU in 1965. One of his proudest moments at SIU was when he presented diplomas to his sisters, Sue and Becky, when they graduated from the university. And as Rend Lake College Board President, it was his great privilege to present a diploma to his sister Carolyn when she graduated. During his time at the university, he employed many students in his office as student workers from local families. Whenever someone wanted their child to attend SIU, they would call Kirby. He was proud to be able to assist local families and friends to go to SIU. He ended his professional career as Director of Admissions and Records at SIU in 1991, when the university’s enrollment was its highest level.

Kirby was a longtime member and Sunday school teacher at the First Christian Church in Benton, IL. He loved his church and his church family. He was involved in every aspect of the church activities. He was a church board member, board chairman, Elder, Sunday school teacher, choir member, youth leader, camp counselor, men’s fellowship member, and helper at apple butter makings and the annual Fall Festival. Ice cream socials and fish fries were some of his favorite church events where he would share stories and visit with his friends. Kirby enjoyed the beauty of our area and wanted to share it with his church family. He would take groups from the church on “Kirby’s Adventures” to locations throughout southern Illinois to experience God’s creations together and find the best places to eat.
After his retirement, Kirby was ordained and served as the First Christian Church Minister in Vienna, IL. He loved his time working for God in the church and serving the church family.

He was a founding member of the group that started the annual food basket program in Benton. Securing food and gifts for families in the area was very important to him. Kirby was a volunteer for the Meals on Wheels program and he delivered food to the elderly. He had the biggest, giving heart and he always wanted everyone to feel cared for and loved. His friend, Boots, recently said that if you needed help with anything, you could call Kirby and he would be there. He was someone you could always depend on and know that when you needed him, he would be there to show you what to do and share his wisdom with you. Kirby was wise beyond his years and if you had a question about anything, Kirby had the answer.

Kirby was a member of the Board of Trustees at Rend Lake College and Board President, the Dean’s Council at SIU, the Illinois Association and Council for Registrar Offices, and the Franklin County Historical Society Board. He served in the United States Army from 1954-1956 during the Korean War.

He had faith in all people and he believed and encouraged all who he met to do their best and to be happy. Some of his favorite quotes were, “If you are not happy where you are, you won’t be happy where you are going” and “You can attract more flies with a teaspoon of honey than with a gallon of vinegar”. He was a role model for how to do these things and how to treat others. When Kirby came into the room, a positive energy followed. He definitely would “kid” around and share a joke or two to make life fun. He was always understanding and loving no matter what the situation. He was a teacher in his profession and a teacher to all that were in his life. In his eyes, nothing was ever wrong, it was just another chance to learn.

Kirby had a giving heart and he was always willing to share everything that he had without asking for anything in return. When he bought his red and white 1956 Pontiac, three of his younger siblings were learning to drive. Kirby shared his car with his brother and sisters. When Joe scratched up the bumper on the first day the car was bought, Kirby let his sister Sue drive the car. When his sister Sue wrecked the car, he let his sister Carolyn drive the car. The damages to the car were minor fender benders, but Kirby’s only concern was that nobody was hurt. He never thought material things were that important, but family to Kirby, was the most important of all. He always offered pie and cake to anyone who visited, even if he didn’t have any. But if someone wanted to eat, he made sure to feed them. He was most happy churning homemade ice cream and making sure the pool was ready for anyone who wanted to swim. Kirby would cut a rose, from his rose bushes, for his guests to take home. He loved growing roses and flowers to share with the people he loved. Often times, he would put his flowers in the church sanctuary before the service, and he would always give his mother a rose when she would come to visit.
Kirby loved his siblings, and he was so proud of the people they had become and what they had chosen to do in their lives. His baby sister Becky was 17 years younger than him, and he left for college right after she was born. When Kirby was at college and even when Kirby went to the Army, he still made it a priority to come home to see her whenever he could. Becky became a Math teacher and taught throughout southern Illinois. She ended her career as teaching faculty at SIU, which made Kirby proud and honored that she worked where he worked.
He shared a special bond with his sister Mary Lou, who was born on his third birthday. Kirby always said that the best birthday present he ever got was on his third birthday, his baby sister Mary Lou. Throughout the years, Kirby and Mary Lou would celebrate their birthdays together. Last month they celebrated their birthday together, with Kirby turning 90 and Mary Lou turning 87. It was the best of days, filled with food, music, family, and friends.

Kirby was an amazing dad. He was loving and kind, and he knew the importance of hard work and responsibility. Every Saturday morning, he would put lists of chores on the kitchen table for himself and his children, Bryan and Lisa. And sometimes, he would even put a list of chores on the table for his wife, Carmen (that didn’t always go over so well). Kirby made the rule that nobody, including himself, could play and have fun until all the chores were done (which usually took the morning to complete). To this day, Bryan and Lisa credit their dad for instilling these values into their lives. They also remember that when the family took a vote to make a decision that Kirby’s vote was worth “5”, Carmen’s vote was worth “3”, and Bryan and Lisa’s votes were worth “1” apiece. This way Kirby would always win the vote no matter what, and if there was a tie, Kirby would make the final decision. All was for fun and games, and Kirby guided his family through life with wisdom, laughter, and love.

He was best friends to many and he held a special love for all. He had a soul bond with his grandchildren, and he enjoyed every opportunity to tell stories, play, laugh, and spoil them. He will be greatly missed by all of them.
Kirby is survived by his loving wife Carmen; his son Bryan Browning; daughter Lisa (Browning) Brown; six grandchildren: Kelsea (Cory) Peacock, Jonathan (Ashley) Brown, Brandtlee Brown, Matthew Browning, Elissa Brown, Will Browning; one great granddaughter: Lily Pigg; four sisters: Mary Lou Shelton, Carolyn Upchurch, Sue (Jim) Wells, Becky Mandrell; two brothers: Donald Browning, Joe (Evelyn) Browning; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Barney C. and Maude L. (Kearney) Browning; one brother Kenneth Browning; three brothers-in-laws: Jack Shelton, Gordon Smith, Brad Mandrell; three sisters-in-laws: Joyce Smith, Nancy Browning, Jean Browning.
He will be truly missed by all his family and friends who cherished and enjoyed his good humor, storytelling, love, and support. His faith in God was strong and he always knew that he would be welcomed into the arms of Jesus.
Visitation will be held from 5:00-8:00pm, Monday October 17th and 1:00-2:00pm on Tuesday, October 18th with funeral services following at 2:00pm at First Christian Church, 302 S. Main Street, Benton, IL.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Christian Church, Benton, IL.
The family encourages you to leave stories about Mr. Browning on the website please visit www.mortonjohnstonfuneralhome.com to leave your story or condolences.

Wendy Piercy – Marion, IL

Wendy Piercy, 51, of Marion, passed away on Sunday, October 2, 2022, in Marion, IL.

She was born on September 29, 1971, to Roy and Sharon (Caraker) Piercy in Benton, IL

Wendy is survived by her love of her life, Mike Boner; three sons, Brandon Boner, Dustin Boner and Jordan Boner and three sisters, Robin (David) Reid, Amy (Richard Burtin) Rollins and Elizabeth Piercy.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Sharon Piercy; grandmother, Jean Caraker; and an infant child, Jacob Boner.

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

Wendy’s wishes were to be cremated.

A celebration of life will he held on Sunday, October 16, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the West Frankfort Masonic Lodge.

Tina M. Taylor – Benton, IL

Tina M. Taylor, 54, of Benton, passed away at 11:35 a.m., on Monday, October 10, 2022, at her home.

She was born on April 30, 1968, in Mount Vernon, IL.

Tina loved spending time with her “Stormriders” family. She loved taking rides, listening to music and taking long smoke breaks. Her passion was to decorate everything she could with skulls.

Tina is survived by her aunt, Carol Easley; six nieces and nephews, David Jennings, Andrew Jennings, Jon Snyder, Kasey Jennings, Jaxson Howell and Alaysha Abney and her cousin, Linda Good.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Laverne.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Pate Funeral Home, 301 S. Main St., Benton, IL.

Per Tina’s wishes, cremation will take place.

Memorials may be made to Pate Funeral Home to help the family with funeral expenses, and will be accepted at the funeral home.

Online condolences can be given at www.patefh.com.

Jim Overturf – Orange City, FL (formerly of Benton, IL)

James Marshall Overturf, age 58, of Orange City, FL and formerly of Benton, passed away at 4:18 p.m. Sunday, October 9, 2022, surrounded by his loving family, at the Hallifax Health Hospice of Orange City.

Jim was born on September 6, 1964, in Benton; the son of Larry Overturf and Roselyn Fay (Harris) Wingo. He married the former Stacey Irvin on November 24, 1990, and she survives.

He formerly owned and operated his own lawn care and maintenance business in Benton, and he was a member of the East Benton Baptist Church.
Jim enjoyed playing music with his son and daughter, Ethan and Josie. He enjoyed jamming with the many lifelong friends he made through music and always considered them brothers. He enjoyed hunting for arrowheads, eating banana splits, playing with his dog Dee, woodworking, studying about his ancestry, and watching boxing, Fox News and the History Channel on TV. Most of all he enjoyed spending time with his wife, kids, grandkids, and family. He loved to make everyone laugh and he told us all how much he loved us every day.

Surviving is his loving wife Stacey Overturf of Orange City, FL; two children: Josie Anderson and husband Nic of Debary, FL, Ethan Overturf and wife Megan of Deland, FL; five grandchildren: Hank, Samahzhay, Sy’airr, Niya, and Stefan; his father Larry Overturf of Benton; his mother Roselyn Fay Wingo of Thompsonville; siblings: Carl Dean Overturf and wife Paula of Benton, Janice Elaine Chevalier of Thompsonville, Cynthia Marie McClerren and husband Leon of Thompsonville, Peggy Lynn Erwin and husband Curt of Benton, Linda Roselyn Morris of Thompsonville; father-in-law and mother-in-law Danny and Connie Irvin of Oviedo, FL; mother-in-law: Stephenie Biggs of Benton; sisters-in-law Jera Irvin of Benton, Brandi Malkovich and husband Matt of Winter Park, FL; and several nieces, nephews and friends.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents: Elbert and Anella Harris, Clifford and Flossie Overturf; and his step-father Nolan Ray Wingo.

A Memorial Celebration of Life Service will be held at 7:00 p.m. Friday, October 14, 2022, at the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton, with Joe Arview officiating. Visitation will be from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Devereux of Deland Florida (a foster care licensing agency), or to the VRS division of Centerstone; and will be accepted at the funeral home.
Cremation arrangements are through the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton.
To leave online condolences to the family, or to share memories of Jim visit www.lpfuneralhome.com

Kenneth “Parky” S. Parkinson-Mulkeytown, IL

Kenneth “Parky” S. Parkinson, 81, of Mulkeytown, passed away on Wednesday October 5, 2022 at Friendship Manor in Nashville, IL.

He was born on February 24, 1941 in Sesser, IL to Carl Clifton and Lula (Hannah) Parkinson.

He is survived by two daughters Christel Martin of Marion and Melissa Plasters of Christopher; numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren; one sister Carolyn Richrath of Chicago and one brother Clifton “Mo” Parkinson of Coello.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister Jean Key.

Graveside services will be on Thursday October 13, 2022 at 11:00 AM at the Mitchell Cemetery in Sesser with Brother Larry Cook officiating. Friends and family are asked to meet at the cemetery.

For more information go to our website www.gilbertfuneralhomes.com

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News