Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018




Monday, December 25, 2017

Obit of Jeanette M. (Hubly) Hallam

Jeanette M. Hallam, 85, of Normal, passed away at 7:02 a.m. Sunday, December 24, 2017 at the Bickford House, Bloomington. Cremation rites have been accorded and a memorial service will be held at a later date. Carmody-Flynn Funeral Home, Bloomington, is assisting the family with arrangements. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. She was born January 19, 1932 in Chatsworth, a daughter of Charles and Arvilla Murphy Hubly. She married James A. Hallam on April 11, 1953 in Chatsworth. He preceded her in death on November 4, 2015. She is survived by five children, Jeannie (Dennis) Williams of Richmond, VA, Tim (Nancy) Hallam of Chicago, Jim (Jolene) Hallam of Kansas City, MO, Dennis (Julie Russo) Hallam of Normal and Carrie (John) Young of Bloomington; ten grandchildren, Brian (Danielle) Williams, Jason (Dawn) Williams and Matt (Marcie) Williams; Emily Hallam; Jensen Hallam; Rory and Michael Hallam; and Ryan, Kyle and Erin Heissler; two bonus grandchildren, Jacob and Julie Russo; six great grandchildren, Owen, Sawyer, Kendall, Ivy, Ethan and Preston; and a sister, Elaine (Roy) McDermott of Florida. She was preceded in death by a son, Danny Hallam; and four siblings. Prior to raising her family, Jeanette was a lab tech at Cook County Hospital and also worked in a doctor’s office in Piper City. Her true calling in life was that of a wife, mother and grandmother. Jeanette found immense pleasure in spending time with her grandchildren and would often travel great distances to attend their numerous events. She enjoyed golf and playing cards. The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the staff of the Bickford House for the care and compassion they showed to Jeanette and the Hallam family.

Jeanette M. Hallam

Obit of Clarence Edward Culkin

Clarence Edward Culkin, 94, of Wilmington, N.C., formerly of Forrest and Bloomington, passed away 1:21 a.m. Friday (Dec. 22, 2017) at the Commons at Brightmore, Wilmington, N.C. A funeral Mass will be 11 a.m. Friday at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Chatsworth, with Father Richard Brunskill officiating. Burial will follow at Forrest Township Cemetery with full military rites accorded. Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home, Forrest; the rosary will be recited at 3:30 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Apostolic Christian Timber Ridge, 2125 Veterans Road, Morton, IL 61550. Clarence was born July 28, 1923, on the family farm in Charlotte Township, the son of Arthur T. and Blanche L. (Trunk) Culkin. He attended a country school, Bugan Grade School, and Chatsworth Township High School. Clarence graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago in 1942. He served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945. Clarence married Elizabeth A. Aberle on June 26, 1948, at St. Mark’s Church, Peoria. She passed away in 2013 after 65 years of marriage. In 1948, Clarence was employed with a funeral home in Peoria and Bloomington. In 1951, he purchased Brown Funeral Services, Forrest. In October 1952, Clarence built a funeral home in Forrest and, in August 1964, built the funeral home in Chatsworth. He owned and operated those two locations until his retirement in 1983.
Clarence proudly served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army in the medical administrative corps during World War II. He graduated from officers’ candidate school and served in the Army Reserves until 1954. He was the former Forrest treasurer, a member and past president of Forrest Lions Club, president of Forrest Community Council and president of Forrest PTA. In 1959, he was voted “Forrest Man of the Year” and received the TP+W “Tee Pee Willie” award. He was a charter member of SELCAS ambulance service in Fairbury and an Illinois Funeral Directors Association member. He served as Livingston County Board member from District 4 for five years. He was also a board member of Peoria Heights Bank. Clarence belonged to J.A. Folwell American Legion in Forrest for 60 years, where he served on the firing squad for military rites for many years. He was a member of St. John’s Catholic Church, Fairbury, and St. Patrick Catholic Church of Merna, Bloomington, where he was a 4th-degree member of the Knights of Columbus.
Clarence is survived by his daughters, Diane (John) Hoke, Carbondale, and Teresa (Steve) Flury, Wilmington, N.C.; 12 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and one daughter-in-law, Mary Lou (Tom) Culkin, Fairbury.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth; two sons, Thomas and Michael Culkin; his parents; one sister, Marie (Culkin) Casson; and three brothers, Charles Culkin, Virgil Culkin and Francis Culkin. Clarence was a loving husband, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa, uncle and friend who will be dearly missed. This obituary may be viewed and condolences sent to the family at
Clarence Edward Culkin

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Obit of Lisa M. (Knittles) Wade

Lisa M. Wade, 58, of Piper City, IL formerly of Chatsworth, passed away at 10:58 am on Friday, December 8, 2017 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL. A gathering time will be from 10:00 to 11:00 am at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Chatsworth on Thursday, December 14, 2017. Private family burial will follow services at Chatsworth Cemetery. She was born April 12, 1959 in Gibson City, IL a daughter of John William and Etta Louise (Steinman) Knittles. Lisa is survived by her sister Julie Burkhalter of Chatsworth, IL. She was preceded in death by her parents. She graduated from Chatsworth High School in 1977. Lisa went on and graduated with her Laboratory Technology Associate’s Degree in Elkhart, IN. She worked as a lab tech in Hoopeston, IL. Lisa loved Christmas, presents, Monicals, and Dairy Queen. She enjoyed being spunky with her sister, always giving her a hard time.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Obit of Michael Fox

Michael Fox, 71, of Ramona, Calif., passed peacefully at Lakeview Hospice Home, La Mesa, Calif., on Nov. 10, 2017, with his loving daughter Michelle by his side. This cowboy will be greatly missed. He spent his high school years in Chatsworth and served in the U.S. Army, stationed in Nuremburg, Germany. Back in the states, he spent most years as a OTR truck driver and later lived out his dream as a cowboy, working on a ranch and training horses. After retirement, he worked in maintenance for the mobile home park where he lived. In his last year, he returned to OTR truck driving. He is survived by his daughter, Michelle Fox-Brand, and her mother, Susan Howell Fox, both of Illinois; his wife of 46 years, Janice Fox, and adopted son, Joe Fox, both of California; stepdaughter, Katrina Peabody, Colorado; sister, Margaret Marlon, Arizona; brother, Kent Fox, Hawaii; eight grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Mabel Fox, and brother, James Fox.  A celebration of life will be held at parish hall of Hope Catholic Church, Chatsworth, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with a Mass to follow in his honor at 5:15 p.m.

Michael Fox

Monday, December 4, 2017

Obit of Jerome R. Haberkorn, Sr.

CHATSWORTH - Jerome R. Haberkorn Sr., 81, formerly of Chatsworth, passed away suddenly on Wednesday, November 22, 2017, in Albuquerque, NM. He was born to William and Helen Koehler Haberkorn, on March 11, 1936, in Chicago, IL. He married Virginia L. Gouge in Fairbury, IL, in 1955. Jerome is survived by three siblings, Alan (Denise) Haberkorn of Missouri, Wayne (Karen) Haberkorn of Illinois and Dolores Wagner of Florida. He is also survived by his ex-wife, Virginia; and three children, Cheryl Pashby of California, Jerry (Patty) of Texas and Steven (Liz) of Texas. There are also seven grandchildren, Mark (Natalie) Pashby, Corrie Pashby (Cristian) Ramirez and Todd Haberkorn of California and Kelsey (Karson) Lofink, Trevor Haberkorn, Brendan Haberkorn and Branson Haberkorn of Texas. There are also three great-grandchildren, Kyan of Texas and Nathan and Amelia of California. Preceding him in death were his parents and two brothers, William and James. Rest in Peace Jerome (JR, Jerry, Dad) A graveside memorial will be December 9, 2017, at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery in Chatsworth, IL, with burial following. Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Chatsworth, IL, will be coordinating the graveside memorial and burial of Jerome's cremated remains. This obituary may be viewed at Published in Peoria Journal Star from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4, 2017
Jerome R. Haberkorn Sr.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Obit of Dr. Stephen Francis Hallam

Dr. Stephen Francis Hallam passed away in Fairlawn, Ohio on March 13, 2017, after an inspiring and hard fought battle with lung cancer. He was a loving and devoted husband and father of four, a bright and inspiring teacher to generations of students, and a cherished and good-humored friend to many. He is survived by his wife, Teresa Alberte Hallam; their daughters, Patricia Hallam (Brian) Joseph and Margaret Hallam; and his two older sons, Rodney (Beth) Hallam and Kenneth Hallam. He loved being a grandparent to his six grandchildren: Ken Jr., Ali, Kyle, Patrick, Hannah, and Penelope. He was born on November 11, 1944, the youngest of five, and grew up on a small farm in Forrest, Illinois. Steve was a tireless worker who received his PhD in Business Administration from the University of Iowa in 1973. He went on to be a prolific researcher and writer, contributing to the discipline with numerous articles and books about strategic management, leadership, computing systems, ethics, and principles of management. He was passionate about his work and committed to providing quality education to students. Steve was the Dean of the College of Business at The University of Akron from 1995 to 2003 and a beloved professor in the Department of Management there until the time of his death. Prior to joining the University of Akron, he was Dean of the School of Management at University of Michigan-Flint (1992-1995) and Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies in Business at Northern Illinois University (1989-1992). Steve was an avid cyclist and was known to routinely clock more than 30 miles a day on the hills around the Cuyahoga Valley with his "extremely menacing" biker gang, The Romeos. After receiving his diagnosis, Steve used his cycling to raise funds to fight the disease, and inspired others to do the same. When he wasn't cycling, he worked out and chatted with friends at the Akron Health and Wellness Center in Bath. He had fun with his monthly poker group, and read and discussed a wide variety of books at the monthly meeting of his book club. Steve also loved to garden at the Bath Community Garden, and would spend many hours getting his hands dirty, and watching the beautifulscenery. He was past president of the Summit Choral Society, and was a member of Rotary Club. His family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to the nurses, doctors, and staff at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center Cleveland, as well as to researchers working on targeted genetic treatments, who all gave him such happy, active, and productive three years. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the scholarship fund established in his name at The University of Akron, Department of Development, Akron, OH 44325-2603 ( The family also encourages individuals to pledge to ride in Dr. Hallam's name or donate to VeloSano Bike to Cure. 2017, 9500 Euclid Avenue, DVB Cleveland, OH 44195 ( Friends may call on SUNDAY, March 19, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road, Akron, OH 44333. Services will be held MONDAY at 5 p.m. at the funeral home, with Reverend Sandra Selby officiating. To share a Memory, Send a Condolence or Light a Candle visit the Tribute Wall (Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel) Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Mar. 16, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Veteran's Headstones


I thought this was important to share! It's from the ISGS newsletter:

Free headstones for U.S. veterans The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs provides free headstones for any deceased U.S. veteran "in any cemetery across the globe." If a veteran already has a special veteran headstone and it is now badly deteriorated, illegible, stolen or vandalized, a new one can be placed. If a veteran's body was never recovered, ashes scattered or buried at sea, a special headstone "in memory of" can be placed in a recognized cemetery. Read more details at http// Information can also be found on the government website at (which includes a link to the form needed to request a headstone or marker.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Chatsworth Touts Five Museums

From Community Connection
A free publication of greater Livingston County Businesses & Organizations
2018 Edition published in November 2017

Sitting along US Route 24 in central Illinois lays a small town that truly punches above its weight. While Chatsworth may not have the population of other towns in the area, it truly has just as much to offer. The Town of Chatsworth has five museums to present to locals and outsiders looking to learn about the history of Chatsworth and central Illinois in its entirety. For an organized tour of these museums, please call Mayor Richard Runyon at 815-674-5497.
The Midwestern states have a rich history of the traditional one-room schoolhouse, and this is no different in Chatsworth. The "Little One Room School House" was in use from 1858 to 1942, at which point the students moved into two separate building separated by age. Amazingly, much of the school has been kept intact, and it looks remarkably like it is still in use today. The school house is now a museum and is one of the few old schools now serving as museums in the state of Illinois. The museum is located in the CAPS Park on First Street, but as of the printing of this paper, it is in the process of being moved to downtown Chatsworth. For those interested in the history of the one room school house and just experiencing what it was really like, this is certainly a must visit. Call Connie Dohman at 815-674-3694 to organize a group tour of the schoolhouse museum.

The Hangar Museum in Chatsworth is a must see if you are interested in farm equipment past and present. The name Hangar Museum comes from the fact that the museum is located in an old airplane hangar, which is a piece of history in itself. There are dozens of tractors with the earliest dating back to the 1930's, as well as featured Cast Iron Seats which date back to pre-1900. You can tour this building by appointment or on scheduled days during the summer. Call 815-848-3286 for more details on how to set up a tour.

If you are into old tractors and farm equipment, chances are that you are into old cars as well. Visit the McGathering! This collection of restored cars, known as "muscle cars", date back to the 1960's, and there is a very interesting "mechanic" constantly at "work". The museum goes beyond cars as well for those who may not have much of an interest in cars. There is also a wide assortment of Chatsworth history including old newspapers, bed sheets from the old Chatsworth Hospital and Chatsworth Train Wreck memorabilia as well. This one stop could certainly give you an idea bout what Chatsworth is all about, but to get the picture, you should visit all the excellent museums Chatsworth has to offer. The museum is on Sixth Street in Chatsworth. Call Jim McGreal at his home phone number to set up an appointment to tour the building at 217-202-6219.

Chatsworth has a caboose which sits on the side of the railroad tracks in Chatsworth. This caboose is meant to symbolize Chatsworth's history when it was a busy, bustling railroad town. Chatsworth has also had its share of terror on the railroads as well. In 1887, the event which would become known as the Chatsworth Train Wreck of 1887 occurred. On August 10, 1887 a train in route from Peoria to Niagara Falls crashe just east of Chatsworth. 81 to 85 people were killed with up to 372 people injured. This was one of the deadliest wrecks in railroad history. Today, a historical marker stands erected near the place of the accident along Route 24 east of Chatsworth. This is a great place to visit for those looking to a site where true devastation occurred, or those just interested in railroad history.

Bluebird Hall is the new community center in Chatsworth for meetings. It is also the home to a stunning display of history regarding Chatsworth, its old high school, and the Chatsworth train wreck of 1887. The building was founded as a community center because the city had a need for a center where organizations could meet. The building is named Bluebird Hall after the Chatsworth High School mascot, and after the Bluebird Project in Chatsworth which has gained a lot of attention. Locals in Chatsworth have been purchasing houses for the bluebirds in an attempt to be named the Bluebird capital of Illinois. On May 3, 2017, the governor declared Chatsworth the Home of the Bluebird and May 4 as the official "Bluebird Project Day". Other surrounding communities have jumped on board with the Bluebird Project. The buildings official opening was in June 2017. The building is a very interesting building to tour for a variety of reasons, including the unique history of the building itself. The building once served as a Sears catalog store, funeral home, post office, barber shop and Community Center. The building dates back to the early 1900's. Contact town hall at 815-635-3095 to tour this historic building. The building is at 200 Locust Street in Chatsworth, Illinois.

The museums may be what will bring you to Chatsworth. However, the town is much more than museums. It also offers a historic downtown district with building that facade which will truly give you a glimpse at what Central Illinois, and specifically Chatsworth is/was all about. Visit the retail shops- Corner Hardware, Kerbside Floral and Kurt's Fabrications and Wood Creations. Baltz Library dedicated in 2015 (2014 correct date) is one of the newest libraries in the area and features a modern design. CAPS Park includes a playground, pavilions, and the second largest pool in the state of Illinois. Throughout the summer and early fall, the Junk in the Trunk event and Kid's Fun Time occurs with its main purpose serving as a great place to bring the family and enjoy a garage sale out of the back of car trunks. The scheduled days are the fourth Saturday of the month. Don't miss vising Chatsworth for a fun time!

Obit of Edna Pearl (Crews) Shelton

Fairbury – Edna Pearl Shelton, 100, of Fairbury, passed away at 8:30am, November 19, 2017, at McLean County Nursing Home, Normal. Her funeral will be held at 11:00am, Friday, November 24, 2017, at Duffy-Pils Memorial Home, Fairbury. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery, Fairbury. Visitation will be held from 10:00am-11:00am, also on Friday at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the donor’s choice of charity. Edna was born November 25, 1916, in Chatsworth the daughter of Jesse Howard and Sally Jane Garmon Crews. She married Charles Shelley on January 14, 1933, in Glasgow, KY. She then married in her later years George Shelton on October 20, 1993. They both preceded her in death. Surviving are her daughter, Virginia (Delbert) Morgan and son, Steven (Elizabeth) Shelley both of Bloomington; four grandchildren, Karen Salinas, Kimberly Hoffman, Michelle (John) Roosa, and Stephanie Shelley and 13 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by son, Danny Shelley, one grandchild, two brothers and two sisters. Edna was a nursing assistant in the Fairbury and Gilman areas for many years.

Edna Pearl Shelton

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Chatsworth Little School Museum move.

From the Pantagraph:
Nov.12, 2017 

CHATSWORTH — A piece of history is ready to roll down the streets of Chatsworth. Am 1858, one-room schoolhouse has been lifted from its foundation in Chatsworth Area Planning Society Park and will soon be set down on a new lot on Locust Street, about four blocks away. “At its current location, it wasn’t being well-maintained and was starting to deteriorate,” said Chatsworth Mayor Richard Runyon. “In order to properly care for it, we thought it’d be best to bring it to the center of town where it will get more attention.” The schoolhouse is recognized as The Little School Museum and is often visited by local students and history buffs. According to the Chatsworth Illinois Memories website, the schoolhouse was the first education facility built in the Livingston County town, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The white building has a classic schoolhouse look, with a bell steeple, slim front porch and tall windows. There is an assortment of historic collectibles inside, rows of antique school desks, an original pump organ and wood stove.
A larger school was built in 1870, but the smaller building was still used to teach children of the workers at a nearby beet factory. It was dubbed the “Beet School.” The one-room schoolhouse was used until 1942. Additions were made to the larger school building, including a high school wing. Eventually, those buildings were razed, but the small schoolhouse remained. The building was moved twice in the past before being restored and dedicated as a museum in 1976. The moving of the school is a community project, mostly organized by the Chatsworth Historical Society. Runyon said the move is being delayed "until the weather cooperates" and wind gusts die down.
Once moved to the spot on Locust Street, the building will sit on a new foundation and heating and air conditioning will be added. Runyon said the schoolhouse will be one of four museums within walking distance on Chatsworth’s main street. Others include The Hangar Museum for agriculture equipment, The Caboose railroad museum and Bluebird Hall. “It will sit across from Bluebird Hall which was a total wreck when it was given to us, but we refurbished it and added a kitchen and bathrooms. The walls are covered
with memorabilia,” said Runyon. The exterior of The Little School Museum probably will be upgraded with a fence and landscaping, added the mayor. “Having this many historic places and museums in town shows that we’re growing,” he said. “After we lost our high school the population declined, but things are getting better. Houses are starting to sell and we’re organizing a local police force which we haven’t had since the ‘90s." "We’re back to doing things right. Chatsworth is growing again.” 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Obit of Joyce Lee (Wills) Kraft

Joyce Lee Wills Kraft, 81, of rural Downs, died at 11:20 a.m. Monday (Aug. 21, 2017) at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal, after complications of a long illness. A memorial service will be from noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 17 at her former home at 19983 Wesley, Downs. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. Condolences may be sent to Kurt Kraft, her son, at 2704 Keystone Road, Bloomington, IL 61704. Joyce was born Dec. 8, 1935, in rural Chatsworth, the fourth of seven children of Orville and Elizabeth Cassity Wills. She was a graduate of Reddick High School, and obtained her teacher certification at Illinois State University. She later earned her bachelor’s degree at National College of Education (National Louis University), Chicago. She married Jimmy “Jim” Collins Kraft on Sept. 7, 1957, in Bloomington. Surviving are four children, Jeff (Frances) Kraft, Chicago; Jennifer (Joseph) Kolar, Libertyville; Kurt (Karen) Kraft, Bloomington; and Kile Kraft, Arrowsmith; nine grandchildren, Jarred Kolar, Chicago; Taylor (George) Gopinath, Bloomington; Kelsey (John) Venerable, Normal; Jacob Kolar, Chicago; Grace Kraft, Burbank, Calif.; Nora Kraft, Chicago; Collin Kraft, Denver, Colo.; Elle Kraft, Mason City; and Olivia Kraft, Bloomington; three sisters, Bette Richards, Salem, Ore.; Joan Pierce, Casper, Wyo.; and Marilyn (Jack) Rabens, Elmhurst; and two brothers, Jim Wills, Bloomington, and Patrick Wills, Largo, Fla.
She was preceded in death by her husband, parents and one brother. After teaching second-grade children for more than 30 years in Chebanse, she retired to the Bloomington area with her husband. She enjoyed water aerobics with dear friends at the YWCA and Four Seasons I in Bloomington.

Joyce Kraft

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Obit of Janet (Elbert) Weakman

Janet Weakman, 84, of Forrest, passed away 9:20 p.m. Monday (Nov. 6, 2017) at Accolade Health Care, Pontiac. Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home, Forrest. Her funeral will be 11 a.m. Friday at the funeral home with the Rev. Corinne Blissard officiating. Burial will follow at Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, rural Wing. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. 
Janet was born Nov. 7, 1932, in rural Chatsworth, the daughter of Lester and Myrtle Shockey Elbert. She married Earl Weakman on Nov. 25, 1978. He passed away May 17, 2007. She is survived by her children, Teresa “Terry” (Mark) Henry, The Villages, Fla.; Steve (Kathy) Barnes, Wing; Kris (Dave) Wenger, Bloomington; and Marci (Dino) Monterastelli, Pontiac; her grandchildren, Eric (Kimberly) Henry; Amber (Martin) Brady; Lea (Shane) Voyles; Michael Mann; Johnny, Laura and Al; Jennifer (Craig) Braaten; Bryant (Dolores) Fisher; Andrew Fisher; Faithe Wenger; and McKay Wenger; four stepchildren through Earl, Pat, Johnny, Karen and Sheila; 16 greatgrandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; one brother-in-law, John Nance, Forrest; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and two sisters, Rosemary Maurer and Lois Nance.
Janet was born, raised and educated in the Forrest area. She worked at Trainor Grain for many years. She enjoyed gardening, embroidering and her cats. Janet had a great sense of humor and liked to have fun. Most of all, she loved her family and spending time with them. She was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Forrest. This obituary may be viewed and condolences sent to the family at

Janet Weakman

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Little School Museum Moving

From the Pontiac Daily Leader:
By Luke Smucker
Posted Nov 4, 2017 at 3:35 PM

The first schoolhouse built in Chatsworth, recognized today as The Little School Museum on North First Street in Chatsworth Area Planning Society Park is moving, for the third time in the building’s history, to a new location on Locust Street. According to Chatsworth Mayor Richard Runyon, the schoolhouse’s final move is necessary for the preservation of the building and to make the museum more visible. The Little School Museum sat on wheels at the end of October with tentative plans to move it during the first week of November from its current location, between the ball diamond and the swimming pool in CAPS Park, to an empty lot on Locust Street, Chatsworth’s main thoroughfare. The building will rest on a new foundation with access to electricity for heating and air conditioning. “We want to protect the building from the weather, so we are going add electricity in order to heat and cool it,” Mayor Runyon said. “We also want to make the building more visible to the community. The new resting place will be on Main (Locust) Street, directly across from the recently-renovated Bluebird Hall.“ The move will bring more historical content to the center of town. The recently-renovated Bluebird Hall features information on Chatsworth High School, historic memorabilia from Chatsworth, information on The 1887 Chatsworth train wreck and also serves as the village’s community center. The town’s old T.P. & W Caboose, which has also been turned into a small museum, also sits nearby. “By moving the schoolhouse, we’ll add more variety to what we can offer to people interested in the history of Chatsworth,” Runyon said. “People will be able to see three museums without having to get back in the car.“ According to the museum’s website, the one-room schoolhouse was built in 1858 on two lots that were donated by William Osborn, specifically for the purpose of building a school. The location was on the town’s north side, between what is now 
Fourth and Fifth Streets. After a new school was built in 1870, the little school was moved one mile east of town and became known as the “Beet School,” because it was attended mostly by the children of the workers at the beet factory, but it was also attended by others who lived in the area. The “Beet School” was moved to CAPS Park by Harvey Peters of Farmer City on April 14, 1971. It was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Glen Dehm, as it was on their property. George Augsburger and Jim Kessinger shingled it. Kyle Bleich is spearheading the latest move of the schoolhouse with help from Ameren, Mediacom and Frontier. The School will travel south down First Street to Locust Street, then turn east and travel two blocks. It will then travel to an empty lot still heading East and about a half a block later will find its new location. “The biggest issue is these companies have to move their utility lines so that the building can travel under it,” Runyon said. “We had to take the bell tower off in order to move it under the power lines. Once it’s moved into position, we’re going to have footings poured. They have to build the foundation up to the building. Once we get it settled, we’re going to do a little work on the floor and stuff to preserve it for the future.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017



This is a project recently completed by the Prairie Central Geography Class
Great Job!!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Obit of Eileen M. (Gerdes) Martin

Eileen M. Martin, 92, of Piper City, IL., passed away 10:40 A.M., Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at the Piper City Rehab and Living Center in Piper City, IL. following a one week illness. Her funeral service will be at 11:00 A.M. Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at St Paul Lutheran Church Chatsworth, IL with Pastor Mauricio Vieira officiating. Burial will be in the Chatsworth Charlotte Township Cemetery Chatsworth, IL. Visitation will be 9:30 to 11:00 A.M. Tuesday October 31, 2017 at St. Paul Lutheran Church Chatsworth. Memorials may be made to St. Paul Lutheran Church Chatsworth. Eileen was born May 1, 1925 in Charlotte, IL., the daughter of George C. and Margaret H. Sterrenberg Gerdes. She attended Charlotte's one room elementary River School and graduated from Chatsworth High School. Eileen married Raymond T. Martin February 23, 1943 in St. Charles, Mo. He passed away July 19, 1993. Eileen is survived by six children. Jerry (Fran) Martin of Lake Iroquois Loda, IL, Virgil (Judy) Martin of Alva, FL., Darla (Gery Brown) Propes of Piper City, IL, Donna (Tom) Bargmann of LeRoy, IL, Barb (Bob) Hethke of Judsonia, ARK. and Jean (Jim) Helpap of Wautoma, WI. Fifteen grandchildren. and twenty-five greatgrandchildren. Eileen was preceded in death by her parents, husband, brother Donald Gerdes, son-in-law Rondal Propes, and special friend Jack Reynolds. Eileen was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Chatsworth. A homemaker, she was know in the community for her volunteer work. She loved seeing and hearing from her children and grand- children. Arrangements by the Redenius Funeral Home in Gilman and PiperCity, IL. Please sign the guest book at
Eileen M Martin

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Obit of Brian K. Grady

CHATSWORTH – Brian K. Grady, 43, of Chatsworth died at 12:45 a.m. Monday (Oct. 23, 2017) at his home in rural Chatsworth, surrounded by his loving family after a hardfought battle with pancreatic cancer. Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at St. Rose Catholic Church in Strawn, with Father Archer officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. A rosary will be recited at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lamb Funeral Home in Gibson City with visitation to follow until 8 p.m. Brian was born on Sept. 16, 1974, in Urbana, a son of Cecil J. and Sandra S. (Swanstrom) Grady. He married Denise Freehill on April 9, 2005, in Gibson City. She survives in Chatsworth. Also surviving are a son, Zach Grady of Melvin; his parents, Cecil "CJ" and Sandy Grady of Paxton; a sister, Kelly (Chris) Morton of Genoa; and many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents and an uncle, Shawn Swanstrom. Brian was a 1992 graduate of PBL. He was a welder at Eagle Wings for 12 years, a farmer and a Scout Master of Troop No. 29. He loved camping, working on cars, riding his Harleys and NHRA Drag Racing. Memorials may be made to Gibson City Boy Scout Troop No. 29 or Handle of Hope. The family requests casual dress for the visitation and funeral: "That's what Brian would want."

Monday, October 16, 2017

Chellis "Jim" & Mary Jane (McGreal) Kessinger 60th Anniversary

From the Pantagraph
BLOOMINGTON — Chellis "Jim" and Mary Jane Kessinger of Bloomington, formerly of Chatsworth, will observe their 60th wedding anniversary on Oct. 22 by attending the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church of Merna, Bloomington, followed by a dinner for family and friends at 12:30 p.m. in the parish hall. They also celebrated in August with their entire family at Disney World in Florida. Kessinger and Mary Jane McGreal were married Oct. 19, 1957, at St. Peter & Paul's Catholic Church, Chatsworth. Their attendants were Patricia McGreal Frye and Gene Wyant. They are the parents of Mike Kessinger and Kay (Wayne) Shold, both of Chatsworth; Sharon (Doug) Benway, Strawn; Dan (Kelly) Kessinger, Normal; and Debbie (Mike) Coffman, Heyworth. They have 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Son Mark Kessinger and granddaughter Lindey Hornstein are deceased. He was sales manager of Hendrix Town & Country, retiring in 2015. She was a secretary at Pafco Inc., retiring in 2000.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Obit of John R. Hanson

John R. Hanson, 62, formerly of Chatsworth and Pontiac, and most recently Fitchburg, Mass., died Oct. 1, 2017, at home, surrounded by his family. John was born in Bloomington and was the son of Kenneth and Johanna Hanson. He served as sergeant in the U.S. Army and also the Army Reserve. John retired after 20 years' combined service in both. He worked as a correctional officer at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Facility in Shirley, Mass., for 14 years and retired in 2014.
John leaves a wife, Ruthe M. Lepp Hanson, Fitchburg; two sons, Michael Hanson, Keene, N.H., and Kenneth J. Hanson and his wife Renee, Grandville, Mich.; two daughters, Maria Pappas and her husband Alex, Fitchburg, Mass., and Carli Murphy and her husband Michael, Ashburnham, Mass. Also surviving are two sisters and one brother, Joan Gerjets and husband Duane, Metamora; Ann Hanson, Bloomington; and Paul Hanson and wife Gail, Winfield. John also leaves nine grandchildren and other nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by a sister, Pamela Hanson.

Friday, October 6, 2017

October 6 Update


New Album- Maps

Obit of Sandra Kay (Sleeth) Houser

Sandra Kay Houser, 74, Fairbury, died at 9:50pm Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at Fairview Haven Retirement Community, Fairbury. A funeral service will be held at 12:00 pm Saturday, October 7, 2017 at Duffy-Pils Memorial Home, Fairbury with Pastor Brian King officiating. Burial will be in Chatsworth City Cemetery, Chatsworth. The family has requested that all in attendance dress in casual attire. Visitation will be 11:00 to 11:45 am Saturday also at the memorial home. The family suggest memorials be given to the Sandra Kay Houser memorial fund. Mrs. Houser was born December 30, 1942 in Fairbury, IL the daughter of Roy and Bertha Crews Sleeth. She married Bobby Houser. He preceded her in death on 1974. Survivors include two daughters, Ullena (Danny) Offenbacker, Forrest; Dawn Hamilton, Fairbury; one son, Bobby (Angie) Houser, Branson, MO; nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents, one granddaughter, Tiffany; one grandson, Bobby; one son-in-law, Chris Hamilton and two sisters.
Sandra Kay Houser

Monday, October 2, 2017

David Sutherland, Engineer in the Chatsworth Wreck

Engineer of the lead Engine No. 21
David Sutherland died January 28, 1921 in Peoria
 David Sutherland, who died this week in Peoria was an engineer of the T.P. & W. railroad for many years and, while in the employ of that line, pulled the first engine of the double header Niagara Falls Excursion special, the "death train" that went in the ditch August 10, 1887, due to the burning of a small  bridge near Chatsworth. The engine driven by Sutherland crossed the bridge in safety, but the structure collapsed immediately sending scores to their death.Illinois. He was married to Sara Jane Zollinger.
See memorial here.

Photo used with permission of J.M. Zollinger, owner and descendant of the Zollinger family.

Friday, September 22, 2017

September 22 Update

Scroll to the bottom of the page to read these seven articles.
Clearwater Tank Company
Dennewitz Brothers
L.J. Haberkorn, Mausoleum Dealer
W.C. Quinn Drug Store
Shafer Insurance Agency
Chatsworth Brick & Tile Company
Wisthuff Hatchery

New Photos

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Chatsworth Time Capsules Buried

The time capsules from 1967 and 2017 were both buried last Saturday in the Chatworth Park 
with this impressive stone to make the spot.

To be opened 2067!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Obit of Jess M. Hanna

Jess M. Hanna, 53, of Normal, was born May 1, 1964, in Fairbury, the son of Dale and Celia Kuntz Hanna. He died Sept. 12, 2017, at Heritage Health, Normal. He was preceded in death by his mother, grandparents, three aunts, two uncles, and a cousin. He is survived by his father, Dale (Donna) Hanna, Chenoa; aunts, Carol (Jim) Kirkpatrick and Mary Hanna; several cousins and stepsiblings. Jess grew up in Chatsworth; his first job was delivering The Pantagraph. He lettered in baseball at Chatsworth High School, later playing softball with the Motley Crew in Bloomington, winning several local tournaments and selected by the ASAA to its state tournament team as catcher in 1983. A proud Redbird graduate of Illinois State University, Jess worked at Eureka-Williams for 24 years, testing durability and safety of Eureka vacuum cleaners. Jess was quick to lighten the mood with a witty joke, loved to bike Constitution Trail, kayak on the Mackinaw River and was a loyal White Sox fan. His humor and gentle spirit will be remembered by all who knew him.
A celebration of life service will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Evangelical Free Church, 2910 E. Lincoln St., Bloomington, for anyone who knew Jess. Thanks to all of the health care professionals for their loving care during Jess’ illness. To express condolences, please visit

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Obit of Judy Lynn (Layhew) Frechette

Judy Lynn Frechette, 62, of Chatsworth passed away on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at her home in Chatsworth. She was born on March 2, 1955 in Kankakee, the daughter of Basil and Lola Sharp Layhew. In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by one sister, Toni Shaffer. Surviving are two daughters, Sharon Clore of Chatsworth and Pamela Lawless of Piper City; one brother, Billy (Pam) Carrigan of Roberts; two sisters, Mona (Brian) Griffin of Constable, NY and Nora (Steven) Chouinard of Bluford, IL; seven grandchildren; eleven great-grandchildren; and a special dog, Bagle. Judy was an avid Cubs fan. She enjoyed fishing as well as spending time with her grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. Judy was very proud of the fact that she had recently become an ordained minister. Cremation rites have been accorded by the Knapp Funeral Home in Watseka. A private family memorial service will take place at a later date. Memorials may be made for the family’s wishes. Please share a memory of Judy at

Judy Lynn Frechette