Saturday, December 29, 2012

Obit of Edward Henry Post - July

Visitation for Edward Henry Post, 100, of Crescent City, will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, at the Knapp Funeral Home, Watseka, and from 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Crescent City, until the 11 a.m. funeral services. The Rev. Joel Brown will officiate.
Burial will be in St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery, Crescent City. Memorials may be made to St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Crescent City or to Prairieview Lutheran Home in Danforth. He passed away Monday (July 16, 2012) at Prairieview Lutheran Home.
Edward was born Feb. 8, 1912, in Charlotte, the son of Henry and Gretchen Gerdes Post. He was baptized at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Charlotte, and his sponsors were George and Trintje Rosenboom. He attended Chatsworth  Country School for two years, then moved with his parents to Crescent City, where he attended Crescent City Grade School for six years.
At the age of 14, he was confirmed on Palm Sunday, March 28, 1926, at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Crescent City by Pastor Christian Helmreich. His confirmation text was John 15:5: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing."
Edward worked on his father's farm until 1938, when he was united in marriage on Sept. 25, 1938, in rural Crescent City, to Mona Rabe, the only daughter of Henry and Rosa Rabe. Mona passed away July 26, 2010. The young couple began to farm in the spring south of Crescent City and farmed until he retired in 1972. Edward and Mona moved to their retirement home in Crescent City in 1987.
He was a lifelong member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Crescent City, having served as an usher and a deacon, and on the cemetery board for 25 years. He served as a Crescent Township Assessor in Iroquois County and was a member of Crescent City Senior Citizens, AARP and Men in Mission at St. Peter's Lutheran Church.
Edward is survived by one brother, John Post, of Crescent City; 12 godchildren; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Edo and George; and two sisters, Marie and Angeline.
Please sign his guestbook at

Monday, December 24, 2012

Obit of Mary (Zorn) Petersen

Mary Frieda Petersen, 93, of Ashkum, passed away Friday (Dec. 21, 2012) at Merkle-Knipprath Catholic Home in Clifton.

Mary was born Oct. 16, 1919, in Chatsworth, the daughter of Adolph and Ruth Entwistle Zorn. She married Arnold Rigsby in 1941 in Fairbury, and he preceded her in death in November 2005. She later married Delmer Petersen in April 1976 in Fairbury, and he survives.

Other survivors include three daughters, Carol Haas and Linda (Ervin) VanWinkle, both of Seymour, Tenn., and Ruth (Jim) Winterland, of Fairbury; one son, Dale (Cathy) Rigsby, of Fairbury; one stepdaughter, Ruth (Darryl) Kleinert, of Chebanse; one stepson, Roy (Vicky) Petersen, of Ashkum; nine grandchildren; 18 stepgrandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; 28 stepgreat-grandchildren; and one stepgreat-great-grandchild.

She was preceded in death by her parents; one brother, Paul Zorn; and one grandson, Douglas VanWinkle.

Mrs. Petersen owned and operated the Grand Ballroom in Chatsworth and was a seamstress for the Fairbury Garment Co. She loved sewing, antiques, crafting and fishing.

Visitation will be from 11 a.m. Monday until the 1 p.m. funeral service at Knapp Funeral Home in Clifton. The Rev. Dan Shipton will officiate. Burial will be in the Chatsworth City Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Merkle-Knipprath Catholic Home.

Please sign her online guestbook at

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Obit of Ruth (Thompson) Shafer

Ruth A. Shafer, 95 of Chatsworth, IL passed away at 11:45 am on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at Fairview Haven Retirement Community in Fairbury.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 am on Monday, December 17, 2012 at Chatsworth United Methodist Church. Rev. Ivy Silas will officiate. Visitation will be held from 9-10:30 am on Monday at the church prior to the service. Burial will follow services at Germanville Cemetery in rural Chatsworth. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association.
Ruth was born July 27, 1917 in Bowen, Illinois a daughter of Charles and Lois (Martin) Thompson. She married Ronald C. Shafer on November 8, 1936 in Chicago. He preceded her in death on January 26, 2009.
She is survived by four sons: Kurt, Greg, Scott (Statta) Shafer all of Chatsworth, IL, and Tod (Donna) Shafer of Channnahon, IL; two daughters: Karen Kamin of Schaumburg and Jill (Frank) Hughes of Ann Arbor, MI; fourteen grandchildren; sixteen great grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one infant grandchild, two brothers, and one sister.
Ruth was a homemaker her entire life and enjoyed spending time with her family.
She was very involved with her church, the Chatsworth Evangelical Church, now known as the Chatsworth United Methodist Church. Ruth was a member there for 65 years, treasurer for 30 years, president of the United Methodist Women’s Club for two terms, a Sunday School teacher, and a member of the church choir.
Ruth was also a member of the Chatsworth Community Choir, the Junior Women’s Club, and served on the Fairbury Hospital Board for many years. She enjoyed traveling and playing board and card games with family members and friends.
Ruth was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and aunt who will be greatly missed.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Obit of James J. Hubly

James "Jim" J. Hubly, 85, of Kankakee, died Saturday (Dec. 1, 2012) at his home. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Clancy-Gernon-Hertz Funeral Home, west Kankakee, where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Rev. Patty Heath will officiate. Interment will follow at Kankakee Memorial Gardens, Aroma Township.

Mr. Hubly was born June 5, 1927, in Charlotte Township, the son of W. Lester and Mary Viola (Monahan) Hubly. He worked for 39 years at Roger's Cartage and was a member of Teamsters Local 179 Retirees Club. He enjoyed playing cards, especially euchre. Jim was always active in his church, serving on the council at Trinity Lutheran Church in Kankakee and as a current member of Our Savior Lutheran Church.

He married the former Ruah K. Lasse on Jan. 27, 1947, at Kewanna, Ind.; she preceded him in death June 27, 2012, after 65 years of marriage. Jim was a lifelong Teamster and appreciated the many kindnesses shown to him over the years as he drove our country's highways. In 1980 a truck driver from California was seriously injured in an accident on Interstate 57. Jim took his bible and visited the trucker in the hospital. Jim and his wife, Ruah, opened their home to the trucker and his wife until they could travel back to California, forging an enduring friendship. Jim firmly believed in passing kindnesses forward.

He is survived by one son and three daughters-in-law, James T. and Paula Hubly, of Limestone Township, Patricia Hubly, of Bourbonnais, and Debra Hubly, of Kankakee; one daughter and son-in-law, Carrie and Dan Petry, of Limestone Township; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Ann and Hal Barnhart and Joan and Bill Penicook, all of Champaign; three sisters-in-law, Dorothy Hubly, of Chatsworth, Ronnie Hubly, of Bloomington, and Patricia Hubly Cutting, of Rockford; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by two sons, Raymond and Matthew; his sister Mary Ruth Donovan and an infant sister; and four brothers, William, Robert, Donald and John Hubly.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of Kankakee Valley. Please sign his guestbook at

Obit of Mathew Baker

CHATSWORTH — Mathew Baker, 21, Chatsworth, died at 12:40 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 4, 2012) at his residence.
Private family services will be at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Chatsworth with the Rev. Tom Krieger officiating. There will be no visitation and cremation rites have been accorded. Calvert & Martin Funeral Home of Chatsworth is handling the arrangements.
Memorials in Mathew’s name may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice for the needy.
Mathew was born on May 2, 1991, in Chicago, a son of Raymond and Carmen Vega Baker.
He is survived by his parents, Chatsworth; four sisters, Tina Baker, Stacy Baker and Jennifer Baker, all of Chatsworth; and Lisa (Justin) Heald, Chatsworth; and his maternal grandparents, Hector and Estelle Vega, Orlando, Fla. Also surviving are three nephews, Aidan, Cameron and Paul. Mathew was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents.
Mathew was educated in Prairie Central schools and was employed at the Sears store in Pontiac. He was a devoted son, brother and a beautiful boy who was part of a beloved extended family that he cared for deeply.
This obituary may be viewed and guestbook signed at www.calvert

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Obit of Valerie (Stafford) Babich

Valerie G. Babich

Valerie G. Babich, 96, of Chatsworth, died at 10:30 pm Wednesday November 14, 2012 at her residence.
Her funeral service will be held on Monday, November 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm at the Chatsworth United Methodist Church, with Rev. Ivy Silas officiating. Burial will be in Chatsworth Cemetery. Visitation will be from 11:00 am until the hour of service at the church. Memorials in Valerie’s name may be left to OSF Hospice. Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Chatsworth is handling the arrangements.
Valerie was born on August 17, 1916 in Chicago, Illinois a daughter of Robert and Bulah May (Goudie)Stafford. She is survived by two daughters: Myrna Kubiak and Linda Leahy both of Chatsworth; ten grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, nineteen great-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews and loving friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Daughter Merle Jean Lunsford and her sister June.
Valerie was employed by Ford Motor Company, as a machinist on aircraft engines prior to World War II, and later retired from Goldblatts Furniture Warehouse. She was a member of the Chatsworth United Methodist Church and had lived in Chatsworth for over 30 years.
Valerie enjoyed reading, listening to music and traveling. She loved spending time with family and friends.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Obit of Lucas A. Stork

Lucas A. Stork, 24, Chatsworth, was pronounced dead at 1:00 Sunday, November 11, 2012, at the scene of an ATV accident in rural Arrowsmith.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am Thursday, November 15, 2012 at the Apostolic Christian Church, Forrest with ministers of the church officiating. Burial will be in the North Apostolic Christian Cemetery, rural Forrest.
Lucus was born January 28, 1888 in Pontiac, Il the son of Paul A. and Dawn R. Rinkenberger Stork. They survive in rural Chatsworth. Also surviving are three brothers, Elijah Stork, Fairbury, Jared (Jenna ) Stork, Forrest, Isaiah (Brooke) Stork, Fairbury, one sister Tamra Stork, Chatsworth, maternal grandparents, Don and Florence Rinkenberger, Fairbury and paternal grandparents, Elmer and Darlene Stork, Chatsworth, one nephew, Cooper Stork and one niece, Taylor Stork. He is preceded in death by a brother, Benjamin Lee Stork and a maternal grandmother, Rita Rinkenberger.
Lucas was a 2007 graduate of Prairie Central High School. He worked with his parents at Stork Enterprises, rural Chatsworth and had attended the Apostolic Christian Church, Forrest.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Obit of Mildred (Sharp) Enoch

Mildred F. Enoch, 93, of Goshen, In. (Formerly of Syracuse) passed away on May 12, 2012 at Greencroft Healthcare. She was born on August 1, 1918 in Chatsworth, Il. to Ernest Ray and Sylvia (Harms) Sharp. She was a lifelong Syracuse area resident prior to moving to Greencroft. On October 28, 1960 she married Ralph Enoch who preceded her in 1992. She owned Wawasee Interiors for many years. She is survived by her son Jerold Peterson of Salt Lake City, Utah. Her grandson, Ron (Jeanette Peterson of Drapr, Utah, 2 greatgrandchildren. Friends may call from 11-noon on Friday, May 18, 2012. Services will be private. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences may be sent to
Enoch, Mildred

Obit of Vendell Lee Sanders

Chatsworth- Vendell Lee Sanders, 82, of Chatsworth, IL passed away at 7:55 pm on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at Chatsworth United Methodist Church. Rev. Ivy Silas will officiate. Visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00 pm on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at Chatsworth United Methodist Church and one hour prior to services at the church on Wednesday. Burial will follow services at Pleasant Ridge Cemetery in Rural Wing, IL where military rites will be accorded. The family has entrusted Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Chatsworth with arrangements.
Memorial contributions in Vendell’s name may be made to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association or the Chatsworth United Methodist Church.
Vendell was born August 31, 1930 in Saunemin, IL a son of William and Wavie (Barbre) Sanders. He married Marlene Hirth on June 9, 1957 in Peoria, IL.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Marlene Sanders of Chatsworth, IL; his children: Glenn (Teresa) Sanders of Griffith, IN, Cynthia (Jeff) Ifft of Fairbury, IL, Keith (Kristin) Sanders of Rock Island, IL, and Bruce Sanders of Chatsworth, IL; seven grandchildren: Brooke and Eric Sanders, Aaron (Courtney) Ifft, Craig and Ryan Ifft, Paul and Meredith Sanders; three great granddaughters: Janessa and Jaida Wheatly and Rozalyn Ifft; three brothers: Wayne (Mary Ellen) Sanders of Fairbury, James Sanders of Chatsworth, and Albert Sanders of Thawville; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, and one brother: Verne Sanders.
Vendell graduated in 1948 from the Chatsworth High School. He then served his country in the United Sates Marine Corps for two years. After returning home, he worked for Nichols Homeshield in Chatsworth as the foreman in the shipping department. He also worked for Interlake Steel in Pontiac for 25 years as a foreman in the shipping department before his retirement in 1993.
He and his wife, Marlene were members of Chatsworth United Methodist Church for over 50 years and belonged to the United Methodist Dartball League. He also was a member of the Chatsworth American Legion Post #613.
Vendell was a cubs fan; he liked golf and the weather, and loved watching his grandchildren play anything. One of the big highlights of his life was skydiving at age 70.
He was a loving husband, dad, grandpa, great grandpa, brother, uncle, and friend who will be greatly missed.

Obit of Dorothy (Herr) Dunsheath

Dorothy J. Dunsheath, 90, of Los Alamitos, CA, formerly of Glenview, IL passed away Sept. 13, 2012. Loving daughter of the late Edward and Aurelia Herr; beloved wife of the late Thomas J. Dunsheath; cherished mother of Barbara (James Finn) Dunsheath, Mark (Leslie) Dunsheath; devoted grandmother of Thomas, Richard and Christianna Finn and Stephanie Dunsheath. Funeral Mass Friday, Sept. 21, 8:30 a.m. St. Irenaeus Parish Cypress, CA. Viewing Thursday, Sept. 20, 4 to 7 p.m. Luyben Funeral Home, Long Beach, CA. Interment Monday, Oct. 29. All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, IL. Reception to follow at Hackney's on Lake, Glenview 12 p.m.
Published in Chicago Tribune on September 18, 2012.
Note: Dorothy was born June 10, 1922 and attended Chatsworth High School.Per email from Bob.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Obit of Leo J. Sneyd

Leo J. Sneyd,90, of Sarasota, Fla., the brother of a Peoria woman, died Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012 at his residence in Sarasota. He was born Dec. 1, 1921, in Pontiac, Ill., and was a graduate of Chatsworth High School. Leo enlisted in the Army in 1941 and volunteered for glider pilot school when the U.S. declared war on Germany. He was commissioned flight officer in 1943 and made four landings in Normandy, southern France, Arnhem and Bastogne. He was medically retired in 1946. In his younger years, he was an avid fisherman, especially for tarpon. In later years he enjoyed the challenges of golf.
Leo moved to Sarasota in 1954 and worked as a paint and wallpaper contractor, establishing Rainbow Painting & Decorating. He sold the company and retired in 1983. He was a member of St. Martha's Catholic Church from 1955 to 2010 and St. Jude Catholic Church since 2010. He was a member of the National World War II Glider Pilots Association and the Military Officers Association of Sarasota; a born member of the Gulf Cost Builder's Exchange; and a founding member of the private Gator Creek Golf Club.
He is survived by his sister, Dorothy Totten of Peoria, Ill.; daughter and son-in-law, Jo Ann and Harmon Heed of Sarasota; stepson, Gene Cusella and wife, Myra; son, Nicholas and daughter, Blair, of Land O' Lakes, Fla.; and best friends, Ron and Mary Helen of Sarasota, Fla. Services will be private, with inurnment in Florida Nation Cemetery along side his wife. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to your favorite charity. To sign the guest book visit

Friday, October 19, 2012

Father Raney Turns 100

Home > Archives > Top Story Archives > Issue 610
yesterday,  10/18/2012 at 12:46pm

Father Richard Raney & SistersLegends of the Beach:
Father Richard Raney
Father Richard Raney, the beloved and respected chaplain for the sisters cloistered at the San Damiano Monastery on the grounds of the Church of the Ascension, has come a long way from his modest beginnings in Peoria, Illinois.
One day, a first-grader on his way to school, Raney heard the newsboys on every street corner hollering, 'Extra! Extra! The Kaiser has surrendered!' "We didn't have a radio in those days, so we didn't know about it until the paper came out.” When he got to school, he walked in and announced to the teacher and his classmates that the Kaiser had surrendered. His teacher took him around to all the classes and had him make the same announcement. "I got a big hand every time!” Raney recalls with amusement.
It was while Richard was attending Brothers of Mary high school that he got the first inkling about his ultimate vocation, and spoke with one of the Brothers about it. But his father made his wishes known.
"He said, 'No, wait until you've finished high school before you make that decision. Then, you can do what you want.' My father was a smart man.”
Ascension parishioner Jim Stevens, who has enjoyed a great friendship with Father Raney over the years, tells a story about the priest's high school years. "He was on the football team at Brothers of Mary, and one day his coach brought some of the boys to a game at Notre Dame, where they were introduced to the famous Knute Rockne. Well,” Jim says with a chuckle, "Knute shook Richard's hand, and he hasn't washed that hand since.” That Father Raney met Rockne is most definitely true; the rest is Stevens' humor.
After completing his post-graduate degree at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, Raney was ordained in 1938. His first assignment, as an assistant priest, took him to Bloomington, Illinois. "The church was huge, and we had no microphones, so Mass had to be said loud enough to reach the back pews.” This, he says, is where he developed his resonant voice. The parish high school needed an athletic director, and the job went to him. When World War II broke out, all the young men were being drafted, and the school lost all of its coaches. Father Raney stepped into that role as well. "It wasn't my real calling, but it needed to be done.”
Father Raney was in Bloomington until 1946, when he was assigned his own parish for the first time. "It was in Ottawa, Illinois. They were turning their high school into a coed, so they came to me to start their athletic program.” Five years later, doing something he had never done before, Father Raney asked for a specific parish. "My father had died, and I took my mother in to live with me. So I asked for a small parish and they gave me Chatsworth, Illinois.”
Father Raney says this was a good assignment for him, in this small town of 1,000 souls. "They had a small parish school. I was there twenty years. I knew everybody there. Then the bishop died, and the new one who took his place asked me one day, 'Do you want to stay in Chatsworth or do you want to go to work?'” This Raney relates with a wry chuckle. "The right answer was 'go to work'. We built Saints Peter and Paul Church and school, convent, and rectory. The Lord kept me humble. Every roof leaked!” Father Raney spent twenty years building the parish. But then, the largest parish in the diocese was open, and the bishop couldn't get anyone to take it. "So I took it. We didn't have to build anything, but we still had to raise funds.” After five years there, Father Raney says he was tired. "I was nearly 70 years old, and I wanted to retire.”
Former Illinois parishioner Jim Baldwin – a big baseball fan who was first drawn to our area so that he could go to the spring training games - and his wife Chris bought a place on Fort Myers Beach and in 1960, invited Father Raney to come for a visit.
On my first trip down, we stopped in a St. Xavier Church on McGregor Boulevard. There was no Catholic church on the beach at the time, and I wanted to offer Mass. The priest who answered the door at St. Xavier's was an old professor of mine! Of all the people in the world who could have come to the door...”.
One of Father Raney's earliest memories of those initial days on the beach is a ride in Jim Baldwin's boat. "Their house was quite close to the bridge, on the bay side. Jim gassed up the boat and instead of going back to his house; he went all the way around the island to get home. It was a beautiful trip, but I got sunburned.”
After twenty years of regular visits, Father Raney was invited to come live with the Baldwin's permanently, which he did. "Leonard Santini practically owned the island then,” Father Raney says, "and when he started subdividing his land, he donated the property where the Church of the Ascension is now. Mr. Santini built a home for retired priests, but that didn't work out.” By then, Bishop Nevins saw there was an empty building on the property. "He always said he wanted a house of prayer in his diocese, so he went to the east coast and invited the Poor Clare Sisters to come live here.”
In 1988, the first sisters came to take up residence at the San Damiano Monastery – in the building originally built to house retired priests. Sister Emmanuelle (who actually established the monastery and who passed away last year), Sister Mary Frances, Sister Mary Paschal and Sister Mary Seraphim were the first to arrive. Four more Sisters have come to live at the monastery since then – Sisters Marra, Anunciacion, Pilar and Esperanza.
"God sent Father Raney to us,” Sister Mary Frances says with quiet confidence. "When we first arrived, we had a priest on the east coast who was set to be our chaplain,” but he first had to make a trip to Ireland. "One day, Father Raney came to the monastery and asked if there was anything he could do for us, so we asked him if he would say Mass for us until our chaplain arrived, which he was happy to do.” But the priest slated for the job never contacted the Sisters again, and Father Raney became their chaplain, at the tender age of 75, the year he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood. That was 25 years ago.
When the Baldwin's passed away, they left their beach home on the north end of the island to Father Raney. "Every day I would drive up Estero Boulevard to come see the nuns.” But in May of last year, Father Raney moved into the monastery. "This is my home, here with the nuns.”
Sister Mary Frances says he still serves Mass for them every day, but he has needed some assistance from time to time. She says at 99 years old, soon to be 100, Father Raney has outlasted so many of his friends here. Says Father Raney, "Getting old is not for sissies.” Father now has a personal caregiver, Debbie Hashek, who comes to help him with meals and errands. "I just do what needs to be done,” she says with a smile.
Today, friends and family will gather to show Father Raney their love and support in celebration of this very special man as he begins his 100th year of life on earth. Bishop Frank Dewane will say Mass, and then those who have come together on this special day will treat their beloved priest and friend to an old-fashioned birthday party.
Happy Birthday Father Raney!
Jo List

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Obit of John S. Dick

John Dick
9/2/1918 - 9/29/2012
John  Dick
John S. Dick age 94 of Lyons formerly of Stickney. Beloved husband of the late Helen C. nee Placki; loving father of John K. Westin; dear grandfather of Wyatt J. Westin. Resting at Kopicki's Tower Home For Funerals, 4007 Joliet Avenue, Lyons, Illinois 60534. Visitation Thursday, October 4, 2012, 4 to 8 p.m. Friends and relatives will meet 11:45 am at Chatsworth - Charlotte Cemetery for 12:00 noon graveside services. 708-447-7900

New Rendition of our National Anthem


Here's a "must hear rendition" of our national anthem.
These guys really put their heart into it.
Still gave me the chills!!

Madison Rising

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Obit of Elizabeth (Sterrenberg) Ringler

Elizabeth “Betty” Ringler

Forrest- Elizabeth Dena Marie “Betty” Ringler, 92, of Forrest, passed away on the eve of her 93rd birthday at 11:35 pm on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at Fairview Haven Nursing Home in Fairbury, where she was a resident.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am on Monday, October 8, 2012 at Forrest United Methodist Church. Rev. Wesley Osborne will officiate. Visitation will be held from 2:00-5:00 pm on Sunday, October 7, 2012 at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Forrest. Burial will follow services at Strawn Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Betty was born October 4, 1919 in Charlotte, IL a daughter of William and Auguste (Reinhard) Sterrenberg. She married Richard Ringler on July 28, 1945 in Charlotte, IL. He preceded her in death on September 30, 1995.
She is survived by four sons: Robert Ringler of Helena, MT, George (Nancy Courvoisier) Ringler of Champaign, Don Ringler of Strawn, and Carl (Barbara Page) Ringler of Seattle, WA; one daughter Mary (Chris) Bohne of Bloomington; one daughter-in-law: Linda Winschell of Amarillo, TX seven grandchildren: Sarah (Erik) Alexanian, Jessica Ringler, Jennifer (Kyle) Earing, Matthew (Myla) Ringler, Fletcher Bohne, Flannery Bohne, and Ben Parks; two sisters: Lois Swanson of Washburn, and Eleanor Greuling of Carmel, IN; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; one son: Tom Ringler; one grandson: Peter Bohne; and three brothers.
Betty was a graduate of Chatsworth High School and graduated in 1938 from Illinois State University. She taught in Charlotte, Strawn, and Fairbury schools.
She was a member of the Strawn United Methodist Church where she played the organ for over three decades, the Retired Teachers of Livingston County, the Illinois Retired Teachers Association, and the American Legion Auxiliary.
Betty was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend who will be greatly missed.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Obit of Charles Leo Baysinger

CHATSWORTH — Charles “Chucky” Leo Baysinger, 45, Chatsworth, formerly of Forrest, passed away at 8:05 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 22, 2012) in Chatsworth Township from injuries sustained in an accident.
Services: 2 p.m. Monday, graveside service at Forrest Cemetery, Forrest.
Visitation: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Forrest United Methodist Church, Forrest, with a short celebration of life following.
Cremation rites have been accorded.
Memorials: to the family
Survivors: his mother, Margaret; and brothers, James (Sherry) Baysinger, Barlow Ky., and Gregory (Andrea) Baysinger, Centralia.
Hager Memorial Home, Dwight, is in charge of arrangements.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Obit of Frances E. (Shaughnessy) Schurr

Frances E. Schnurr
(July 8, 1920 - September 21, 2012)

Frances E. Schnurr
Frances E. Schnurr, 92, of Piper City, IL., died on Friday, September 21, 2012 at 11:10 A.M. at McLean County Nursing Home in Normal, IL.. Her funeral mass will be on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 11:00 A.M. at St. Peter Catholic Church in Piper City. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Piper City. Visitation will be from 4:00 to 7:00 P.M., Monday, September 24, 2012 at the Reilly-Redenius Funeral Home in Piper City. Recitation of the Rosary will be at 7:00 P.M. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society or National Shrine of St. Jude.
Frances was born in Piper City on July 8, 1920 to John F. and Catherine (Molloy) Shaughnessy. Her childhood was spent in Piper City. She graduated from Piper City High School and attended Illinois State Normal University in Normal. She was a teacher and taught for 30 years. Frances was one of the last one-room school house teachers and continued teaching at Piper City Elementary School. Frances married Donald Lee Schnurr on June 15, 1943, in Piper City. He died on April 15, 2005. Surviving children are - Patricia (Donald) Kratz of Bloomington, IL. and Michael (Janice) Schnurr. Four grandchildren - Natalie (Brian) Sundquist, Chris (Marianne) Kratz, Tom (Rebecca) Schnurr and Jim (Michelle) Schnurr. Ten Great Grandchildren - Joe, Jeff, Caroline, Katherine, Kelsey, Trevor, Peyton, Noah, Gannon and Morgan. Frances was precede in death by her parents, husband, sister - Geneva Reilly and brother - Russell Shaughnessy.
Frances was a member of St. Peter Catholic Church in Piper City, IL. She was a member of the Retired Teacher Association of Ford and Iroquois County, Home Extension of Ford County, Junior Woman's Club and the Piper City Historical Society. She enjoyed traveling and reading. Arrangements by the Reilly-Redenius Funeral Home in Piper City, IL. Please sign the guest book at

Note: Frances is the granddaughter of Mary and Thomas Shaughnessy, who owned The Chatsworth Bottling Company.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Obit of McKinley Renee Retter

Chatsworth- McKinley Renee Retter of Chatsworth went to heaven at 3:14 am on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.
A visitation will be held from 4:00-8:00 pm on Friday, September 14, 2012 at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Chatsworth. Cremation rites will be accorded following services.
McKinley was born September 6, 2012 a daughter of Dan and Kim (Franklin) Retter.
She leaves behind her parents of Chatsworth; three sisters: Samantha, Morgan, and Debra Retter all at home; paternal grandma: Joyce Ashcraft of Pontiac; paternal grandparents: Ray and Lanni Retter of Goshen, IN; one maternal great grandmother: Eunice Franklin of Dublin, GA; one aunt: Charisse (Will) Price of Chatsworth; one uncle: Jordan (Briana) Brown of Pontiac; and several cousins.
She joins in heaven her maternal grandparents: Gerald and Debra Franklin; and her paternal grandfather: Bill Ashcraft.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Obit of Elmer "Joe" Koestner

Founding director of Dayton Museum of Natural History passes away

By Steven Matthews

Staff Writer
DAYTON —September 8, 2012
Elmer “Joe” Koestner — the founding and longest-tenured director of the Dayton Museum of Natural History — died on Saturday in Daytona Beach, Fla., at the age of 96.
Koestner served as director of the museum from 1954 to 1986, and upon retiring, was named Director Emeritus.
A private graveside service for family and friends is scheduled for Thursday in Florida, according to Kristy Creel, senior manager of marketing and public relations for the Dayton Society of Natural History. Lohman Funeral Home is handling the burial service.
“The impact of his legacy — as well as his memorable personality — on our community is obvious by the number of people who still ask about him,” said Mark Meister, President and CEO of the DSNH, in a statement. “The fact is that everything we do today to advance the work of the society is a continuation of what he started nearly 60 years ago.”
Formerly known as The Dayton Museum of Natural History, the museum changed to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in 1999 in recognition of Oscar Boonshoft.
Koestner joined the museum in 1949, when it was still part of the Dayton Public Library, and worked part-time as education director until 1954. He then left his job as a school teacher to become the museum’s director.
Koestner opened the Dayton Museum of Natural History on Ridge Avenue in 1958. He continued to teach museum classes, while overseeing the operations and development of the museum. Koestner also wrote a weekly column for the Dayton Daily News from 1954-60.
Jim MacMahon — the Dean of the College of Science at Utah State University — worked at the museum for nearly a decade starting in the mid-1950s while growing up in Dayton.
“He was very knowledgeable of plants and animals, and it rubbed off on me,” MacMahon said. “It set up my life. As a kid, I was interested in that stuff before I met him, but he helped me formalize it into a career that’s lasted this long.”
In 1970, Koestner received the Elsie D.B. Naumburg Award for outstanding museum professionals, and in 1986, he was presented with an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Dayton.
Born in Chatsworth, Ill., Koestner earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Illinois. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he came to Dayton in 1949 and taught science at Brookville High School.
“Joe was a wonderful human being, who inspired both kids and adults with his love of the natural sciences,” said William Patterson, a 50-plus year volunteer with the DSNH, in a release. “The museum was his whole life for many years, and I am not certain it would exist today if not for him.”
Memorial contributions can be made to the Nature Conservancy at
Note: Elmer's father, Elmer J. Kostner was born in Piper City and died in Fairbury in 1959. His father was a major league baseball pitcher for 4 years and played for the Cubs, Red and Naps. Read about him here. Elmer "Joe" however was born in Chatsworth.

Obit of James A. Wilson

James A. Wilson, 97, of Chatsworth, IL passed away at 7:19 am on Monday, September 10, 2012 at Walnut Grove Assisted Living in Merrill, WI.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, September 15, 2012 at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Chatsworth, IL. Rev. of the Calvary Baptist Church will officiate. Visitation will be held one hour prior to services at the funeral home. Burial will follow services at Chatsworth Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Calvary Baptist Church.
James was born June 24, 1915 in Danforth, Illinois, a son of Albany and Louise (Schuenke) Wilson. He married Gladys Wilson on March 12, 1938 at the Lutheran Parsonage in Gilman, IL. She passed away on February 27, 2011.
He is survived by one son: Ron Wilson of Merrill, WI; four grandchildren: Jennifer (Dan) McClelland of Danville, KY; Kim (Dave) Quinn of Bloomington; Kerin (Jerry) Jones of Bloomington and Sarah (Mike) Dilley of Lee’s Summit, MO; eight great-grandchildren, Five great-great-grandchildren; one daughter-in-law: Sandy Wilson of Decatur; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; one son: James A. Wilson, Jr.; one great grandson; three sisters; and three brothers.
James had farmed, and been a carpenter before working for Livingstons of Chatsworth, in maintenance until retiring in 1982.
He enjoyed collecting, especially clocks that he would also repair. He enjoyed spending quality time in his workshop. He and his wife were avid garage salers.
James was a member of the Calvary Baptist Church in Chatsworth.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Obit of Archie T. Perkins

Archie Theodore Perkins, 100, of Cullom, IL passed away at 3:30 pm on September 3, 2012 at Fairview Haven Nursing Home in Fairbury.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, September 7, 2012 at First Baptist Church in Fairbury. Pastor Steve Anderson will officiate. Visitation will be held from 4:00-8:00 pm on Thursday, September 6, 2012 at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Forrest and from 9:00-9:45 am on Friday, prior to services at the church. Burial will follow services at Chatsworth Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Archie’s name may be made to First Baptist Church in Fairbury or Fairview Haven Nursing Home in Fairbury.
Archie was born June 26, 1912 in rural Chatsworth, IL a son of Elisha and Ida (Deck) Perkins. He married Myrtle Bailey on February 11, 1934 in Swinton, MO. She passed away on December 26, 2003.
Surviving is his son: Jim (Joanne) Perkins of Kempton; three grandchildren: Ellen (Jim) Hoffman of Cullom, IL, Elaine Clapp of Herscher, IL, and Steve (Stacy) Perkins of Herscher; seven great grandchildren: Amanda (Shane) McWhorter, Emily Clapp, Hannah (Darius) Wallace, Nathan Hoffman, Becky Perkins, Megan Perkins, and Jamie Perkins; one brother: Elery Perkins of Chatsworth, IL; two nephews: Raymond (Donna) Adams and Ron Perkins both of Bloomington; and special friend: Lois Shelby.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, and one sister: Verna Hoxworth.
Archie had four F’s in his life: Farming, Flying, Fishing, and Florida. He farmed in the Cullom, Chatsworth, and Forrest area all his life. Archie enjoyed flying and belonged to the Flying Farmers in the 1950’s and 60’s and would fly his ERcoupe to the Plowing Matches. Archie and Myrtle went to Florida every year for thirty years.
He was a faithful Christian and member of the First Baptist Church in Fairbury; he was always ready to lend a helping hand. He was also a member of the Livingston County Farm Bureau.
Archie was a loving dad, grandpa, great grandpa, brother, and uncle who will be greatly missed.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Raymond & Joyce Brewer 25th

September 02, 2012 

CHATSWORTH — Raymond and Joyce Brewer of Chatsworth will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.
Raymond and Joyce Gerdes were married Sept. 5, 1987, at United Methodist Church, Chatsworth. Their attendants were Jean Armstrong and Joseph Brewer.
Their children are Larry (Kathy) Gerdes, Chatsworth; Terry (Beth) Gerdes, Chenoa; Raymond Gerdes and Jean Armstrong, both deceased; and Robin Brewer, Pontiac. They have 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
See photo here.

Obit of Ralph Quint

Ralph Joseph Quint, 85, of Peotone, formerly of Leesburg, Ind., died Thursday (Aug. 30, 2012) at his home. Cremation rites have been accorded. All services are private. Fedde-Helfrich-Cross Funeral Home, Peotone, is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Quint was a millwright and owner of Quint's Drive-In in Chatsworth. He was born July 2, 1927, in Chicago, the son of Joseph and Catherine (Schmidt) Quint. His wife, the former Lola Jean Davis, whom he married June 1, 1944, in Chicago, preceded him in death. He loved to fish.

Surviving are his children, Francis (Sandra) Quint, of Dover, Tenn., Richard (Joy) Quint, of Manteno, Joann (Robert) Church, of Elkhart, Ind., Barbara (Craig) Panozzo, of Peotone, and Kathleen (Matt) Oleshko, of Manteno; daughter-in-law, Patricia Quint, of Markham; 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren; and one sister, Mary Ann Turner, of Indiana.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Gerald Quint; and two sisters, Silverine and Jane.

Please sign his guestbook at

Friday, August 24, 2012

Obit of Kathryn Bork Lehmann

 Kathryn Irene Bork Lehmann, 93, of Bexley. Originally of Chatsworth, Illinois, the daughter of Carl W. Bork and Kathryn Bork Rosenboom. Preceded in death by son William P. Lehmann, and husband W. Richard Lehmann. Survived by daughters, Carolyn Lehmann of Bexley and Sally L. (Tom) Hall of Camp Hill, PA; grandson, T. Gustaf Hall of Camp Hill; granddaughter, Kathryn L. Hall of Falls Church, VA; brother, Richard (Carol) Rosenboom of Gainesville, FL; devoted nephew and nieces, David (Mary) Woodyard and Kathy Woodyard, all of Columbus; many additional nephews, nieces, grandnephews, and grandnieces. Kathryn was valedictorian at Chatsworth High School, 1937, a 1941 graduate of Capital University, a former school teacher in Glenford, OH, and Chatsworth, IL, and former employee of Lazarus Federated Department Stores. She served Capital University and Christ Lutheran Church through organizations such as CUAC, Capital Parents' Club, Women's Circles, Board of Trustees, Altar Guild, and ALCW. Kathryn will be remembered for her kind, generous heart and her "winkie" eyes. A private graveside service arranged by WOODYARD EAST CHAPEL will be held Monday. A memorial service will take place Saturday, September 8, at 1 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Capital University, Christ Lutheran Church, or Zusman Hospice of Wexner Heritage Village.
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on August 25, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Obit of Joyce Matich

Joyce Matich, 68, of Chatsworth, IL, passed away at 10:00 pm on Sunday, August 19, 2012 at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington.
Visitation will be held Thursday, August 23, 2012 from 5:00-7:00 pm at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Chatsworth and one hour prior to services at Kolbus-John V. May Funeral Home in Chicago on Saturday. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, August 25, 2012 at Kolbus- John V. May Funeral Home in Chicago, IL. Dr. Stephan Angel from the Eden United Church of Christ will officiate. Burial will follow services on Saturday at Saint Luke Cemetery in Chicago. Calvert & Martin Funeral Home is handling local arrangements for the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to SELCAS or the Livingston County Humane Society.
Joyce was born November 12, 1943 in Chicago, IL a daughter of Wallace and Rosemary (Krause) Olson. She married Christ Matich on February 22, 1965 in Chicago.
She leaves behind her husband of 46 ½ years, Christ Matich of Chatsworth, IL; one son, Christ (Amy) Matich of Chenoa, IL; and one niece, Anna Olson of Chicago, IL.
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents.
She was a member of Eden United Church of Christ from her time in Chicago. Joyce enjoyed animals, cooking, and crafting. She particularly enjoyed riding in B-17 Bombers after they were restored by the Collings Association.
Joyce was a homemaker and loved being with her family. She was a loving wife, mother and aunt who will be greatly missed.

Obit of Lawrence E. Ronna

Lawrence E. “Larry” Ronna, 86, of Paxton, died at 2:25 p.m. Sunday, Aug.19, 2012, at Provena Covenant Medical Center, Urbana.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 407 W. Pells St., Paxton, with Rev. Jose Kadukunnel officiating.
Burial will follow in Chatsworth St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery with military honors.
Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Baier Family Funeral Services, 406 E. Pells St., Paxton, with the Rosary being recited at 8 p.m.
Lawrence was born March 18, 1926, in Loda, a son of Frederick and Mata M. (Hilgendorf) Ronna. He married Monica Kurtenbach in January of 1962. She preceded him in death Oct. 8, 1987. He married Reva E. Gleason Swanstrom Aug. 7, 1997, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Paxton. She preceded him in death March 23, 2006.
Lawrence is survived by one brother, Delmar (Mary) Ronna, Paxton; two stepsons, Steve (Bonnie) Swanstrom, Morrison, and Stan (Carol) Swanstrom, Gilman; two stepdaughters, Sandy (C.J.) Grady and Shelly Swanstrom, all of Paxton; one stepgranddaughter; six stepgrandsons; four stepgreat-grandsons; seven stepgreat-granddaughters; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant daughter, six brothers and two sisters.
Lawrence attended Loda High School.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946 and during his service received the following decorations and citations: Asiatic Pacific Theatre Ribbon, two Bronze Battle Stars Philippine Liberation, one Bronze Star Victory Medal and Good Conduct Medal Army of Occupation Japan.
He worked as a supervisor for the Fairbury Tube Company and also farmed in the Chatsworth area. He moved from Chatsworth to Paxton in 1997.
He was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Paxton, and the Chatsworth VFW.
Lawrence was an avid Cubs, Bears and Illini fan. He enjoyed playing euchre and bingo and spending time with his family.
Memorials may be made to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Paxton, or an organization of the donor’s choice.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Obit of Gene H. Corban

Gene H. Corban, 79 of Chatsworth, died on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at OSF St. James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center, Pontiac.
Cremation rites have been accorded. Funeral services will be 11:00 AM on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at the Chatsworth United Methodist Church with Rev. Ivy Silas officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to services at the church. Burial will be held in Chatsworth Cemetery. Memorials in Gene’s name may be left to his family.
Gene was born on March 22, 1933 in rural Piper City, IL the son of Clarence and Nellie (Martin) Corban. He Married Phyllis Pearson on March 23, 1952 in Chatsworth.
He is survived by his wife: Phyllis Corban of Chatsworth, IL: two sons: Larry (Joy) of Pontiac, IL and James (Debra) Corban of Greeley, CO; four grandchildren, one great grandchild and his brother: Robert (Betty) Corban of Roberts, IL. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers: Merle and Wayne Corban.
Gene was a member of Chatsworth United Methodist Church and retired from Diamond Star Motors where he was a Quality Control Inspector. He enjoyed wood working, fishing, and spending time with his family.
See photo here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Retired teachers will visit Little School Museum

Retired teachers will visit Little School Museum

August 11, 2012
My Times-Streator
Officers of the Livingston County Retired Teachers Association are planing a Tuesday, Aug. 21, meeting in Chatsworth — for a step back in time.

Members are invited to visit the Little School Museum in CAPS Park on First Street. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with the program and meeting at 10 a.m. in the pavilion at the park.

The school is one of the few school museums in Illinois and is more than 100 years old.

The school originally was built as a one-room schoolhouse in Chatsworth. As the school population grew, it was moved to the country and still was used as a school. After it moved to the country, it was attended mostly by children of workers in a sugar beet factory near Chatsworth, earning the name "Beet School."

In 1958, PTA members started the idea of restoring the Beet School. On April 17, 1971, the building was moved to its present location, and many fundraisers were conducted. The restored schoolhouse represents a community effort in the restoration project and was spearheaded by Louise Stoutemeyer and her committee.

At one time, the building was painted red, but in 2009, it was sided white.

At 11 a.m., following the program and meeting, a box lunch will be served in keeping with the theme of the day. Catering will be done from Vanilla Bean Catering, owned by Sandy Schrof. The cost will be $10.

Reservations are due by Tuesday, Aug. 14. To register, call Erma Hesterberg at 815-844-3456 or Alberta Kinate at 815-657-8381.

Obit of Jean (Meister) Kurtenbach

Jean Elizabeth Kurtenbach of rural Chatsworth, IL, passed away on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM at her home with her family by her side after a six year battle with a brain tumor.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Chatsworth, with Father David Sabel officiating. A visitation will be held on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at the Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Chatsworth from 5:00 – 8:00 PM, with a rosary recited at 4:45 PM. Additional visitation will be held on Wednesday morning from 9:00 AM until the time of services at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Burial will be held at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Chatsworth. Memorials may be made in memory of Jean to Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute c/o Northwestern Memorial Foundation, 251 E. Huron St., Gaiter Pavilion 3-200, Chicago, IL 60611.
Jean was born on August 7, 1951 in Fairbury, IL a daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth (Fehr) Meister. She married Thomas Kurtenbach on August 4, 1973 in Chatsworth, IL.
She is survived by her husband: Thomas Kurtenbach of rural Chatsworth, IL; one son: Andrew Kurtenbach of Pontiac, IL; two daughters: Tammy (Matt) Miller of rural Campus, IL and Teresa (Luke Thoensen) Kurtenbach of Silvis, IL; three grandchildren: Hannah, Holden and Hayden Miller; four brothers: John (Nancy) Meister of Ashkum, IL, Martin (Margie) Meister of Fairbury, IL, Duane (Karen) Meister of Ashkum, IL and Leroy (Marsha) Meister of Fairbury, IL; seven sisters: Evelyn (Harold) Neukomm of Fairbury, IL, Helen Meister of Fairbury, IL, Mary (Dave) Gilman of Pontiac, IL, Bernice (Pete) Hinrich of Clifton, IL, Alice (Glenn) Saathoff of Ashkum, IL, Barb Meister of Homosassa, FL and Becky (Gary) Merkle of Ashkum, IL and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and one sister in infancy.
Mrs. Kurtenbach was a hog and grain farmer with her husband for over 30 years. She was a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Chatsworth, where she had been a member and former officer of the Alter and Rosary Society and had been in the choir. She was an avid volunteer. She was a loving and selfless daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother.
The family wishes to extend a thank you to OSF Hospice and her three caretakers: Ann Wegrzyn, Joan Marie Shepard and Sharon Huber for all they have done for Jean and our family throughout this journey.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Chatsworth Wreck Remembered-Pekin Times Report

PEKIN, Ill. —

The Great Chatsworth Train Wreck of 1887 happened in Livingston County, not Tazewell County, so at first glance one might not think it was relevant to Tazewell County history. Nevertheless, the Pekin Public Library’s Local History Room has a file on the Great Chatsworth Train Wreck.
A look into that file will quickly reveal the local connection. The main item in the file is a photograph of the disaster that had been reprinted in 1927. The photo caption says, “Although it happened in 1887, all of 40 years ago, one need only say ‘Chatsworth wreck’ in this part of the country and everyone knows what is meant. This picture of the famous wreck belongs to Chris Ziebold, Sr., 1213 Henrietta street, Pekin.”
Notably, this photo was the basis for one of the engravings that illustrated the Harper’s Weekly account of the wreck in the issue dated Aug. 20, 1887.
However, besides the local connection of the photograph, the disaster itself, in which at least 80 people died and probably hundreds were injured, touched the lives of many people throughout central Illinois. The train’s passengers no doubt included residents of Tazewell County.
The wreck, which happened shortly before midnight on Aug. 10, 1887, has been ranked as either the second or third deadliest train disaster of the 19th century. The number of dead has been placed at between 81 and 85 (reports at the time estimated more than 100 dead) and the number of injured anywhere from 169 to 372.
On the evening of Aug. 10, a Toledo, Peoria & Western train pulled out of Peoria, heading east through Eureka and Chenoa on the way to Niagara Falls. The train included two steam engines, six fully loaded passenger cars, six sleeper cars and three cars for luggage (and perhaps more cars). Aboard the train were as many as 700 people who had been attracted by a special offer to visit the Falls.
At a point about three miles east of Chatsworth, the train began to accelerate down a slope and reached a speed of about 40 mph. At this point the train began to cross a wooden trestle bridge over a creek. The first engine made it over the bridge, which then collapsed behind it, causing the second engine to slam into the hill side. Most of the cars behind the engine telescoped into the second engine and each other.
One of the survivors, J.M. Tennery, was on the first sleeper, whose passengers escaped with only a fright or minor bruises. He said, “I got out in safety, and the scene presented to the eye and ear was one I wish I could forever efface from my memory.”

This photograph of the Great Chatsworth Train Wreck of 1887 was owned by the late Chris Ziebold of Pekin, and was used as the basis for an engraving that illustrated the Harper’s Weekly report on the wreck. 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Obit of Eileen (Gillette) Sliker

OTTAWA — Eileen M. Sliker, 75, of Ottawa, passed away Sunday afternoon, July 22, at OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 26, at Mueller Funeral Home in Ottawa with the Rev. Duane Kaufman officiating.

Eileen was born April 3, 1937, in Chatsworth, to William R. and Goldie (Lear) Gillette. She worked for the State of Illinois Department of Human Services for 17 years.

She is survived by her daughter, Renee Hermann, of Ottawa; seven grandchildren,Candace Sandberg, Jade Hermann, Baileigh Hermann, Blair Hermann, Jessa Hermann, Garrett Cupples and Shannon Sliker; two great-grandchildren, Ethan Stiles and Autumn Sandberg; and one brother, Donald (Betty) Gillette, of Ottawa.

She was preceded in death by her parents, a son, Richard William Sliker, and one brother, William Gillette.

Memorials may be directed to the family.

The online guestbook may be viewed and remembrances shared at

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Obit of Rosetta M. McQuillin

Rosetta M. McQuillin, formerly of Bradley, passed away Monday (July 16, 2012) in Chatsworth. She was born Sept. 16, 1922, in Kankakee, the daughter of Moses and Annie (Boudreau) Cote. Rosetta married Clayton T. McQuillin on Dec. 5, 1975, in Kankakee. He passed away Jan. 14, 2009.

She was employed at J.W. Mortell Company in Kankakee as a machine operator for 33 years and was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bradley.

Surviving are two daughters, Sandra Hale, of Shreveport, La., and Pamela Willis, of Chatsworth; seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Rosetta was preceded in death by her parents; eight brothers, Lawrence, Lloyd, Doris, Walter, Leroy, Vernon, Arnold and Donald Cote; three sisters, Mabel Gilbert, Yvonne Benoit and Vernell Brooks; one son, Wayne Eric; and three granddaughters, Tamela Weaver, Crystal Hale and Dawn Bonner.

A gathering time for family and friends will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Schreffler Life Story Funeral Homes, Kankakee Chapel, where a celebration service of Rosetta's life will be held at 10 a.m. Friday. Burial will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Kankakee. Memorials may be made to the family wishes.

Please visit Rosetta's personal memory page at, where you can learn more about her life, share a favorite memory or photo and sign the online guestbook. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Obit of Norma Jean (Lee) Higley

Per email from Bob Saathoff: 

On Sunday, July 8, 3012, Norma Jean (Lee) Higley was the center of great joy and sorrow in heaven and on earth. At 7:45 p.m. her spirit left her earthly temple and went to walk in heaven with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There was great joy in heaven because another one of God's children had finished her sojourn on earth and returned to her place in heaven, both joy and sorrow on earth as those who loved her gathered around to say goodbye, The joy was for her, the sorrow was for us, her family. We will no longer be able to speak to her face to face, or over the phone, sit quietly in her presence and enjoy the peace around there. And tho all of us wanted her to stay, we told her to go and be with the Lord that she loved to her very core for none of us wanted her to stay here in pain; that was unthinkable to us.
She is survived by her beloved husband Howard Herschel Higley; her loving brother Ronald Neal Lee and his wife June; her son Richard Leon Higley and wife Jackie; her daughter Jacqui Faye Thomas and her husband M. Tristan; her daughter Rebecca Marie Longster and her husband James; her daughter Cheryl Lynn Porter and husband Michael; her son Stephen Lane Higley and wife Tricia; 3 brother's-in-law: George, Dale and Mark Higley; and one sister-in-law: Frances Owen. Surviving as well are 37 grandchildren and more than 50 great-grandchildren, along with God-given children and grandchildren too numerous to mention, and a plethora of nieces and nephews and friends who will miss her greatly.
Open house and fellowship, with refreshments, Thursday, July 12, 1012, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Fowler Baptist Church, corner of 12th and East Streets. Memorial service immediately following at 6 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Fowler Food Pantry, which Norma established and nurtured for more than 25 years. Make checks payable to Fowler Food Pantry, c/o Fowler Baptist Church, P.O. Box 167, Fowler, In. 47944. The food pantry was the ministry Norma loved, and it will continue doing the Lord's work in her memory.