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2008 Obituaries

Josephine E. Weiland

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            Josephine E. Weiland, 69, of Elburn, passed away unexpectedly at her home Friday morning, Dec. 19, 2008.

            Wife of LaVerne Weiland, 32 years in partnership with William Hanson of Hanson Excavating, Josephine was diagnosed with kidney cancer in September and had battled courageously through surgery and long weeks of treatment. Hospitalized recently, she returned home Thursday evening, anticipating the comfort of hospice care and family time. Called instead to Heaven for the holidays, she claims now the promise of her Savior and the hope of her faithful prayers.

            She was born Jan. 27, 1939, in Aurora, the daughter of William and Anna (Medernach) Hanson. Josephine attended S.S. Peter and Paul Grade School and went on to graduate from Maple Park  High School with the class of 1957.

            She met LaVerne Weiland in 1956 at a Little 8 tournament at Genoa High School. LaVerne remembers fondly how his best friend (and Josephine’s cousin), LeRoy Probst, introduced them. It was love at first sight that night, and on Oct. 26, 1957, they were wed at S.S. Peter and Paul Church, Virgil.

            They first made their home in West Chicago in an upstairs apartment at Bill and Arlene Patterman’s. Five years later, they moved to Virgil, and through the ensuing years, moved from farm to farm until La-Verne built his bride their first home on Main Street Road. In 1972, they built the present family home on Green Road.

            Josephine worked briefly at Furnas Electric in Batavia until Daniel was born, and three little girls followed thereafter. Josephine had a busy life she loved as the children grew. As grandchildren began to arrive, life only got better. When she wasn’t babysitting, she was always ready to “get her purse and go to the casino” with a friend. She and LaVerne enjoyed several trips to Hawaii and Jamaica, among other destinations.    Still, there was no place like home for Josephine. She was especially fond of the many house plants she raised there to adorn her beautiful home.

            In addition to her husband, LaVerne, she is survived by four children, Daniel (Karen Feltes) Weiland of Elburn, Laura (William) Larson of Cortland, Brenda (James) Barsic and Valerie (Chad) Boughton, both of Elburn; nine grandchildren, Daniel and Karen’s: Craig Weiland of Seattle, Wash., Matthew Weiland and Michelle Weiland, both of Elburn; Brenda and James’: Kelsey Barsic, Kaitlyn Barsic and Kaley Barsic, all of Elburn; Valerie and Chad’s: Drake Boughton, Siara Boughton and Logan Boughton, all of Elburn; two brothers, Bill (Dorothy) Hanson of Elburn and Anthony Hanson of DeSoto, Wis.,; four sisters, Margaret (Floyd) Worden of McFarland, Wis., Mary Ann (Ron) Pondelick of Maple Park, Patricia (Edward) Sak of Maple Park, Linda (William “Bill”) Dittman of Aurora; several brother and sister-in-laws, her late sister’s husband, Ted (Margaret) Seed of Earl-ville, Ill., LaVerne’s siblings, John (Alice) Weiland of Aurora, Arlene (William) Pattermann of Hilbert, Wis., James (Clareen) Weiland of Lodi, Wis., Leonard (Judy) Weiland of Apple River, Ill.; and many nieces and nephews.

            In addition, she leaves among many good friends two very special friends, Marvin and Janet Romanski of Malta, Ill.

            In addition to her parents, William and Anna Hanson, she is preceded in death by one sister, Virginia Seed, as well as her mother-in-law and father-in-law, John and Martha Weiland.

            Her visitation was held Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008, from 2 to 8 p.m., with a liturgical wake service held at 7:30 p.m.

            Her funeral mass was celebrated Wednesday, Dec. 24, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Gall Church, Elburn. The service was webcast live at www.conleycare.com and available thereafter as on-demand video. Immediately prior to mass, prayers will be held at 9:30 a.m. at Conley Funeral Home.

            A memorial has been established in Josephine’s name to benefit masses, St. Galls, as well as other favorite charities.  Memorial checks may be made to the Josephine Weiland Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL  60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through her obituary at www.conleycare.com. For information, call Conley Funeral Home at (630) 365-6414 or 1-800-8-CONLEY.

Joyce Tischhauser

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            Joyce Tischhauser, 75, of Virgil, passed away peacefully at her home Monday morning, Dec. 15, 2008. 

            Though she left this world no more than a stone’s throw from where she was born, Joyce traveled the roads to nearly all 50 states, driving escort vehicles for oversize trucks with transport companies that included local truckers like White Brothers and Keen Trucking.

            Her handle was Lulabelle, and though she was small, Joyce was a force to be reckoned with—and no one “reckoned” to wrong her more than once.

            In spite of all those miles, Joyce was a homemaker at heart and nothing was more precious to her than her family. She raised five sons and one daughter, all of whom learned that no matter where they were or what they had done, their parting words to mom would always be “I love you”; and her parting response would always be, “I love you more.”

            On her last day, it went exactly that way as they gathered around her bed. A Kenny Rogers CD played Christmas songs, and everywhere there were pictures of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

            It all started in the fall of 1949, when Norm Tischhauser came up from southern Illinois to work on the Oliver Anderson farm. It was less than a mile from where Joyce worked as a waitress at her parents’ coffee shop on the corner of Meredith Road and Route 64. One look and Norm was hooked. Before he went back down South for Christmas, Joyce gave Norm a nifty “flip top” lighter. A hot romance followed his return, and on July 22, 1950, they were wed. Joyce was 16, Norm was 18, and some folks were counting the days until a baby was born.

            They had to count about 730 days, however, before Barry was born two years later. Joyce and Norm were young, and life was never easy, but their love lasted a lifetime.   

            Joyce enjoyed life and was a collector of many things from her travels.  Spoons, angel figurines, Coke bottles and other collectibles followed her home from the road. She was not only a fan of Kenny Rogers, but also Toby Keith and Larry the Cable Guy. A five-foot cutout of Dog the Bounty Hunter adorned her living room, and she was very proud of a photograph taken with “Dog” when he spoke at Mooseheart a few years ago. A legend in her own time, Joyce will be remembered with love, laughter and a legion of amazing stories that will both amuse and inspire the generations to come. 

            In addition to her husband, Norm, she is survived by six children, Barry (Donna) Tischhauser of Athens, Tenn., Dennis (Shari) Tischhauser of Wasco, Rob (Jackie) Tischhauser of New Albin, Iowa, David (Judy) Tischhauser of Genoa, Ill., Greg Tischhauser of Virgil and Ena Carlson of Yorkville; 18 grandchildren; Barry and Donna’s: Amanda (Brad) Walker and Elizabeth (Mark) Boesen; Denny and Shari’s: Sarah Galpin, Ben Galpin, Emily Tischhauser and Eli Tischhauser; Rob & Jackie’s: David (Gege) Tischhauser, Rebecca (Cody) Brunning and Kevin (Jessi) Tischhauser; David & Judy’s: Chaz Tischhauser, Miles Tischhauser, Wade Tischhauser, Abby Richards and Tyler Richards; Greg’s: Samantha Tischhauser; Ena & Keith’s: Nicole Carlson, Samantha Carlson and Michael McCormac; 11 great-grandchildren, Tyler, Bryce, Devyn, Josyah, Shaelynn, Patrick, Morgan, Madison, Megan, Mark and Maverick, plus one on the way; her husband’s brother, James (Marilyn) Tischhauser of Pocahontas, Ill.; several nieces and nephews, and one special cousin, Linda (Mike) Zitkus of Elburn.

            She is preceded in death by her parents, Earl A. and Chloe (Mills) VanStone; two brothers, Paul and Victor Cunningham; one sister, Marjorie Carls; as well as one son-in-law, Keith Carlson (June 2007).

            Visitation was held Friday, Dec. 19, with funeral service at 7 p.m. at Conley Funeral Home in Elburn. The Rev. James Olson, pastor of Christ Community Church of New Albin, Iowa, officiated. Following cremation, private family committal services will later be held.

            A memorial has been established in Joyce’s name to benefit DeKalb County Hospice, as well as other favorite charities. Memorials checks may be made to the Joyce Tischhauser Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL  60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through her obituary at www.conleycare.com.

Harold Burdette Osman

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            Harold Burdette Osman, 88, of Yorkville, passed away Friday, Dec. 19, 2008, at Hillside Rehabilitation and Care Center. He was born on July 17, 1920, in Morris, Ill., the son of the late William Cyrus and Bertha Louise (Hulderson) Osman.

            He worked for the Burlington Northern for 42 years as a switchman at Aurora Illinois Division and retired on June 28, 1980. He was a member of UTU and the Aurora Legion Ban.

            Harold is survived by his daughter-in-law, Kathy Morrissey Osman; grandchildren, Chris (Monty) Jahns, Lara (John) Gigl and Jeff (Jennifer) Osman; great-grandchildren, Matt (Kara) Jahns, Quinn Jahns, Mallory Gigl, Christopher Gigl, Molly Osman and Layne Osman.

            Along with his parents, he was preceded by his wife, Alberta (Morsch) Osman, on July 9, 1987; son, David Osman on Feb. 17, 1987, and his sister, Marilyn Hankes.

            Private services were held.

            Arrangements were handled by the Healy Chapel, 370 Division Dr., Sugar Grove, IL 60554. For further information, call (630) 466-1330 or visit www.healychapel.com to leave a condolence.

Ellen M. (Grzywa) O’Brien

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            Ellen M. (Grzywa) O’Brien, 56, of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., formerly of Maple Park, passed away unexpectedly at Torrance Memorial Hospital on Friday, Dec. 12, 2008.

            She was born Oct. 15, 1952, in DeKalb, the daughter of Virgil S. and Mary Ellen Grzywa.

            Ellen grew up on the family farm near Maple Park. She was a graduate of Notre Dame High School in DeKalb with the class of 1970. She earned her bachelor’s degree while living in Orlando, Fla.

            On June 25, 1977, she was united in marriage to James R. O’Brien at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Maple Park, and together they raised a family of three. They made many close friends while living in Indiana, Florida, Georgia and California.

            Ellen may have had a job or two throughout her life, but nothing compared to her being a devoted wife, a loving mother and daughter, a sister to lean on and a great aunt and friend.

            Ellen so loved her family and was with her brother James at his passing when the opportunity came about to become a volunteer with Torrance Memorial Health and Home Hospice Program, she couldn’t say no.

            This volunteer position eventually came to be a career for her as she became the Volunteer Coordinator for the program. Her many duties included Daughters without Mothers, held on Mother’s Day, and the Light up a Life event that is held in December to remember all who have passed. She was loved and respected by all who came in contact with her.

            In addition to her husband of 31 years, James R. O’Brien of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., she leaves 3 children, Heather O’Brien of Prague in the Czech Republic, Katherine O’Brien of Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Jacob O’Brien of Santa Cruz, Calif. She also leaves her father, Virgil S. Grzywa of Scottsdale, Ariz.; two sisters, Carolyn Grzywa of Lindenwood, Ill., Mary Beth (Bill) Voorhaar of Tempe, Ariz.; three brothers, Edward (Janet) Grzywa of Maple Park, Joseph (Betty) Grzywa of Hastings, Neb., Harold (Jill) Grzywa of Franklin Grove, Ill.; many nieces and nephews, Morgan Voorhaar of Tempe, Ariz., Sarah (Jeremy) Jacobsen of Peoria, Ariz., Kelly Grzywa of Beloit, Wis., Jillian and Ryan Grzywa of Maple Park, John Grzywa of Franklin Grove, Ill., and Garrett and Kane Carlson of Lindenwood, Ill.; three great-nieces,  Kylie and Kyra Jacobsen of Peoria, Ariz., and Kaitlyn Grzywa of Beloit, Wis.

            In addition, she leaves many cherished aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.  She also leaves an extended family she shared with her husband Jim; Michael and Bobbi O’Brien and family; Christine and Michael Pollack and family; Jeff and Diane O’Brien and family; and Jim’s dad, Richard E. O’Brien, all from the San Francisco area.

            She now joins her mother, Mary Ellen; her brother James and sister, Patricia (who died in infancy); her paternal grandparents, John F. and Barbara A. Grzywa; maternal grandparents, Edward and Mary Sullivan; and her aunt, Dorothy Grzywa.

            Visitation was held Sunday, Dec. 21, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL. Friends called from 3 to 6 p.m. A liturgical wake service was held at 5:30 p.m. Her funeral Mass was celebrated Monday, Dec. 22, at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of St. Mary, Maple Park. The Rev. Fr. Joachim Tyrtania officiated, and interment followed at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Maple Park.

            Contributions can be made in Ellen’s name to the Torrance Memorial Health and Home Hospice program at 3330 Lomita Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505, (310) 325-9110.

Carl A. Jacobsen

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            Carl A. Jacobsen, 79, of Aurora, passed away Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008, at Rush-Copley Memorial Hospital in Aurora.

            He was born of Finnish ancestry and reared in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Carl left the “U.P.” and came to Illinois to find employment. There, he met his wife, Sue, and they enjoyed an exceptional 55 years of marriage.  

            Carl served his country during the Korean War from 1950 to 1952 and returned home to work for the U.S. Postal Service, where he was a mail carrier for 30 years. In his retirement, he joined Sue and a host of friends as they traveled the Lincoln Highway and promoted its history. Carl was currently the Illinois state treasurer of the Lincoln Highway Association.

            His passion for ski jumping resulted in Carl being a U.S. and International ski official, and he judged many U.S. tournaments and international competitions. He also worked with the youth of Aurora, coaching baseball for 25 years.

            In addition to his wife, he is survived by one son, Jake (Susan) Jacobsen and their children, Sara, Samantha and Ben; one brother, Paul, and his wife; a niece and two nephews.  

            He now joins his parents, two uncles and an infant daughter and infant sister, who preceded him in death.

            As per Carl’s request, there will be no funeral services. His body will be returned to his native U.P. home, and in the spring, private family committal services will be held at Nisula Cemetery, Nisula, Mich.

            A memorial has been established in Carl’s name to benefit the Lincoln Highway Association and other favorite charities. Memorials in his name may be made to the Carl Jacobson Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Cards and memories may be forwarded to the family through the same address or e-mailed through his obituary at www.conleycare.com. For information, call Conley Funeral Home at (630) 365-6414.

Jeffrey A. Malewig

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            Jeffrey A. Malewig, 17, of Sugar Grove a lifelong Cardinals fan, lost his life in a car accident on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. He was born April 10, 1991, in Des Plaines, Ill.

            Jeff is survived by his parents, Tom and Laura (Jones) Malewig; his brother, Scott; two grandmothers, Mary Malewig and Violet Jones; 16 aunts, 10 uncles, 23 cousins, and many other first and second cousins.

            Jeff was preceded in death by his two grandfathers, Raymond Malewig and Richard Jones; three of his aunts and one uncle, with whom he meets again.

            Following in his grandpa’s footsteps, Jeff was a second baseman who loved the game of baseball. However, the love of the game did not deter him from enjoying many different circles of friends. Jeff loved to talk baseball, but also joined in the excitement and interests of others. If he wasn’t participating, he was in the audience or bleachers holding up signs of inspiration. He felt joy for the success of his friends and sorrow for their pains.

            Even while expressing his creative side, Jeff still managed to study hard, maintain good grades and score a 32 on his ACT. Jeff was often a hesitant volunteer, but would do what it took for the satisfaction of others. Though he did not know what he wanted to pursue, he had many talents to lead him. Jeff has had an artistic talent from a very young age, drawing cartoons, building models and writing stories. Above all, it was important for Jeff to see his friends and family happy and laughing.

            Jeff leaves his family and friends with a huge hole in our hearts. He brought much laughter, surprise, charm and spirituality to all of us. Jeff set high standards for himself, yet remained humble when he met or exceeded them. He always opened his heart and saw the best in people; there was always a good side. Now he leaves us to model him, remember the best in him and to find the good side. God must have needed him more than we did. The only way we can understand this terrible loss is the words from a song: “Only the good die young.”

            Visitation was held Monday, Dec. 15, 2008, from 2 to 8 p.m., at The Healy Chapel, 370 Division Drive, Sugar Grove.  A funeral mass was held Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008, 10 a.m., at Holy Cross Church, 2300 Main St. in Batavia. Interment will be at Maryhill Cemetery, Niles, Ill.

            In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family to help with funeral expenses.

            For further information, please call (630) 466-1330 or visit www.healychapel.com to leave a condolence.

Blake A. Denton

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            Blake A. Denton, 17, of Sugar Grove, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. He was born July 21, 1991 in Aurora.

            Blake was the beloved son of Wolfgang and Catherine Denton, beloved brother of Ryan and Jesse, loving grandson of Margaret Denton and Reba McClernon, beloved nephew to many aunts and uncles and devoted friend to many.

            Blake was a fun-loving young man and a senior at Kaneland High School, where he was on the honor roll and was involved in the Fox Valley Career Center. His goal was to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and major in accounting. Blake had an agenda for his future and was focused on achieving his goals.

            An avid sports fan, you would find a ball in his hand, ready for a game, at any time. Blake was an unapologetic Packers fan. He was also an avid fan of the Cubs and Bulls.

            Blake loved fishing, snowmobiling and playing cards with his dad and friends. Working for Jewel in Sugar Grove the past year-and-a-half, Blake made many new friends and had fun working with his longtime friends as well. This experience helped transform him into the fine young man that he had become.

            He will be missed more than words can say.

            Visitation was held on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008 from 1 to 7 p.m., at The Healy Chapel, 370 Division Drive, Sugar Grove. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 15, 2008, at Orchard Valley Community Church, 101 Barnes Road, Aurora, with one hour of visitation prior to services. Burial will take place at Sugar Grove Cemetery.

            Memorial contributions may be made to The Blake Denton Memorial Fund in c/o Old Second Bank, P.O. Box  510, Sugar Grove, IL 60554.

            For further information, please call (630) 466-1330 or visit www.healychapel.com to leave a condolence.

Beverly Ann Bowgren

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            Beverly Ann Bowgren, 72, of La Fox, passed away at Delnor-Community Hospital, surrounded by the love of her family, on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008. She was born Dec. 4, 1936, the daughter of Wayne P. and Nora W. (Walch) Doll in Davenport, Iowa.

            Beverly grew up in rural Arlington, Ill., and attended local schools. She graduated from Spring Valley High School in 1954. Following graduation, she began working locally for a time until the early 1960s, when she moved to Geneva, where she found work at Burgess Norton as a bookkeeper.

            It was during this time that she met the man she would marry, Ron Bowgren. Their courtship began with Beverly sitting in the bleachers watching Ron race at Sycamore Speedway. Despite his speedy driving, she never let him get away, as they were united in marriage on Sept. 12, 1964, in Hollowayville, Ill. They began their new life together in Geneva for a year until they built a house on Bunker Road, where they have since made their home. 

            Beverly’s heart and home were always open to anyone at anytime. Her kitchen was always filled with warmth, and the wonderful smells of her cooking made your senses soar. In the summers when the sun was shining, Beverly would “power lounge” in the yard, reading her favorite romance novels. Beverly had the gambling “itch,” which she scratched most often at the Isle of Capri Casino, conveniently located only a short bus trip away in Bettendorf, Iowa. When she wasn’t fleecing the casinos’ slot machines for all she could get, she and her best friend, Cheryl Keller, would sneak away to area craft shows, go shopping and eventually take “center court” at Sweet Tomatoes, where they would eat and talk for hours on end.

            Beverly also spread her good cheer and friendship with the Elburn Seniors on various bus trips but when the holidays came around, there was no place like home and there truly was no place like Beverly’s. Christmas trees could be found in nearly every corner in every shape and size, and the rest of the home was filled with decorations from years gone by.

            Her most prized possession was the life she had made with her husband, Ron. Her children and grandchildren were always first and foremost in her mind and had a special “forever place” in her heart. Her memory will be held dear in many a heart, but none more dearly than in the hearts of her family.

            She now leaves her loving husband Ron; three children, Steve (Gaye) Bowgren and their children, Cody and Jessica of Maple Park, Mike (Jackie) Bowgren and their children, Nick and Allyson, of Batavia, and Mark (Traci) Bowgren of La Fox; two brothers, Kenard (Kathy) Doll of Cherry, Ill., and  Curtis (Beth) Doll of Ladd, Ill; several nieces and nephews and a community of close friends.

            She now joins her parents; one grandson, Travis Bowgren; one step-daughter, Lori Bowgren; and her forever faithful watchdog, Tawni, who preceded her in death.

            Visitation was Wednesday, Dec. 10,  at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A funeral to celebrate her life was held Thursday, Dec. 11, at Conley Funeral Home. Interment followed at Garfield Cemetery.

            A memorial has been established in Beverly’s name. Checks may be made to the “Beverly Bowgren Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL  60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through www.conleycare.com.

Phoebe Lovisa Damon

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            Phoebe Lovisa Damon, 55, died unexpectedly Friday, Dec. 5, of a cerebral aneurism. She was born Dec. 7, 1952, in Boston, Mass., the daughter of Kenneth R. Damon and Vera E. Littlejohn Damon. 

            After graduating from high school in Cazenovia, N.Y., she received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Following college, she lived and worked in Boston, Mass., Ann Arbor, Mich., and Dallas, Texas.

            She held positions in lease and contract administration for European-American Bank on Wall Street, Bank of America in San Francisco, and San Diego, before joining Océ North America in Chicago. During her marriage, she was a professional bank administrator and lived in Zurich, Paris and London. 

            Raising and training horses was her passion. As a teenager, she became an accomplished equestrian, achieving the highest rank in the U.S. Pony Club, and continued her devotion to animal welfare throughout her life. Actively involved in the Fox Valley Wildlife Center, she began her avocation with wildlife rehabilitation in Marin County and San Diego, Calif.

            An accomplished linguist and flautist, Phoebe was an avid supporter of the arts, and a devotée of opera everywhere she lived. She enjoyed international travel, language and ancient civilization studies.

            She is survived by her mother, Vera-E. Littlejohn of Elburn; two brothers, James Damon of Wilton, Conn., and Alex Damon of Cordell, Okla., and their families, as well as an extended family in Sweden.

            Respecting her interests, in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations may be made to the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn.

            A memorial reception to honor and remember her life was held Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, from 3 to 6 p.m., at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL  60119.

            For information, call (630) 365-6414, 1-800-8-CONLEY or visit www.conleycare.com.

Virginia ‘Ginger’ (Campbell) Fraley Goodwin

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            Virginia “Ginger” (Campbell) Fraley Goodwin, 93, of Elburn, formerly of Sugar Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville and Florida, went home to Heaven on Friday, Dec. 5, 2008.

            Ginger was born Jan. 8, 1915, to Oscar and Ruth (Moody) Campbell, in Mound City, Ill. The family moved to Naperville in the 1920s.

            Ginger married Morrill Fraley in 1935, and they had five children. After Morrill’s death, the two oldest daughters went to live with their aunts. Ginger and her three youngest children resided in Mooseheart for five years, where she met and married a wonderful man, Ralph Goodwin, in 1956 and spent 15 wonderful years together until Ralph’s passing in 1971.

            She is survived by her daughter, Kay (Paul) Keiner, and her children, Paula Keiner, David (Kathy) Keiner and Chris (Denise) Keiner; her daughter, Mary Fraley (Givler), and her children, Camille Givler, Mark Givler, Jennifer (Armin) Weber, and Ruthe (Andy) Ory; her son, Guy (Char) Fraley, and his children, Guy (Amy) Fraley, Dawn (Kevin) Miller, Kevin (Caroline) Fraley, Brenda (Chris) Warren; her daughter, Ginny Fiene, and her children, Travis (Tammy) Fiene, Heather (Roberto) Arocho, Joshua (Jennifer) Fiene; her daughter, Charlotte Lee (Tim) Parrilli, and her children, Julie (Coby O’Connor) Parrilli, Daniel (Tina) Parrilli, Elizabeth Parrilli and Mary Parrilli; and 31-1/2 great grandchildren.  

            Ginger was preceded in death by her first husband, Morrill; her second husband, Ralph; her parents, Oscar and Ruth Campbell; her sisters, Margaret Campbell and Delores (Herman) Thom; her brother, Ben (Audrey) Campbell; and her granddaughter, Kathleen Rose Parrilli. Also preceding her in death were her sisters and brothers-in-law, Charlotte Fraley Davis, Dwight Davis, Jerry Fraley, Herman Thom, Audrey Campbell, and Sheldon and Helen Goodwin.

            Ginger leaves many very special nieces and nephews and trusted caregivers, including her hospice “angels.”

            Her family will deeply miss her.  

            Funeral services will be held Saturday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m., at Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, 176 Main St., Sugar Grove. Visitation will be held Friday, Dec. 12 from 3 to 8 p.m., at The Healy Chapel 370 Division Drive, Sugar Grove. Interment will take place at Chapel Hills Garden West in Oakbrook Terrace. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the funeral home to be given to the many charities that Mrs. Goodwin supported. For further information, call (630) 466-1330 or visit www.healychapel.com.

James Rexroat Thompson

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            James “Rex” Rexroat Thompson, 90, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., formerly of Kaneville, passed away Monday, Oct. 27, 2008.

            Rex was born Feb. 16, 1918, and raised in and near Macomb, Ill. He attended Western Academy High School and went on to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Western Illinois University (Western Normal School).

            While in college, he met Maxine Kernal through a mutual friend. They married on Dec. 27, 1941. Both were school teachers at the time, but Maxine had to quit her job because married women were not allowed to teach in that part of Illinois in 1941. Rex taught and coached at Pleasant Plains, Ill., until 1946.

            In the fall of 1946, Rex and Maxine moved to Kaneville, where they put down roots that would last many years. Rex was both teacher and coach at Kaneville High School. After Kaneville High School closed in the mid-1950s, Rex served as principal of Kaneville Grade School, as well as social studies teacher and basketball coach for sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

            As the area grew, the Kaneland School District was formed, and when Kaneland Junior/Senior High School opened in 1958, Rex returned to full-time high school teaching. He taught American history, economics and civics until the fall of 1962, when he moved on to St. Charles High School. He taught there until both he and Maxine retired in 1978 to spend part of each winter in Boynton Beach, Fla., where they had purchased a co-op along with a group of longtime friends from Macomb.

            The young boys he coached at Kaneville High School and grade school still remember Rex fondly. Though decades have passed, play-by-play accounts of the life and times of “Coach Thompson” still fill the room whenever teammates gather. 

            Rex and Maxine raised their family in Kaneville and lived there until Maxine died in 1980. During their years there, they were members of the Kaneville United Methodist Church. Rex was active in the Blackberry Masonic Lodge No. 359 AF&AM in Elburn, and both were active members of Eastern Star.

            Following Maxine’s passing on Dec. 18, 1980, Rex continued to spend winters in Florida. He moved from the east coast to Venice, Fla., in 1988. In 1990, he sold his house in Kaneville and changed from a snowbird to a full-time Floridian. There he enjoyed golf, cards and kept a faithful eye on the Chicago Cubs, along with a number of other college and professional teams. He continued to play golf and make his home in Florida until after he suffered a stroke in the spring of 2007, and moved to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to live in an independent living facility near his daughter, Ann.

            He is survived by two daughters, Ann Ramos of Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Sue (Chuck) Tudor-Norris  of Denver, Colo.; two grandchildren, Gregory (Renee Garrels) Tudor of Portland, Ore., and Alexandra Tudor of Fort Collins, Colo.; one sister-in-law, Margaret Brock of Brookfield, Ill., and one brother-in-law, Roy Kernal of Macomb, Ill.; one niece, Luan Barry of Macomb, Ill.; a special friend and neighbor, Dode Bodnar of Venice, Fla., and a “family” of good friends near and far.

            He was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine; his parents, James Rexroat and Edith (Senn) Thompson; one sister, Helen Walker, and one brother, Keith Thompson.

            A memorial visitation and a celebration of Rex’s life will be held Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, Ill. Friends may call from 10 a.m. until noon. A luncheon will follow at the Kaneville United Methodist Church.

            A memorial has been established in Rex’s name to benefit the Kaneland Holiday Spirit program for needy families. Memorials checks may be made to Kaneland Holiday Spirit and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119.    Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through his obituary at www.conleycare.com. For information, call (630) 365-6414 or 1-800-8-CONLEY.

Doryce Strom

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            Doryce Strom, 94, of Maple Park, passed away peacefully, Monday, Dec. 8, 2008, at Bethany Healthcare Center, Dekalb.

            She was born March 16, 1914, at home in Wasco, the daughter of Charles and Clara (Olson) Johnson. Doryce attended Wasco Country School, to which she enjoyed riding with her sister, Myrtle, on their pony, King. Doryce went on to graduate from St. Charles High School with the class of 1932.

            Following graduation, Doryce continued to live and work on the family farm and attended the Grace Lutheran Church, Lily Lake, where she met her husband, Allan Strom. They were wed there on June 2, 1945, and they lived in St. Charles on Cedar Avenue until 1951, when they moved to the now historic, Garfield Farm, which had been Allan’s family home since 1922. Doryce and Allan farmed there until 1970, when they moved to Francis Road near Maple Park. 

            Like many young farm couples of that day, Allan and Doryce had a dairy herd and later, beef cattle, and Doryce had an egg route with some customers, even driving out from Chicago. Through the years, Doryce also worked at the Campana Company in Batavia, and later at National Electronics, Geneva, as well as Richardson Electronics near Elburn. 

            Though Doryce worked hard all of her life, she enjoyed sewing and Sunday evening card and board games with her children and family. Life revolved around her family and relatives, whose lives were integrally woven into the tapestry of her life. She was also a die-hard Cubs fan whose passion for the team only increased as years passed. To her dying day, she knew the names of all the players and even when they lost the 2008 pennant, her devotion never wavered—as a true Cubs fan. She was still enthusiastic about “next year.”

            In 2004, Doryce became a resident at the Bethany Healthcare Center, DeKalb.  There her social life actually blossomed amidst the caring and sharing she experienced with staff and residents alike. 

            She was a lifelong member of the Grace Lutheran Church, where she enjoyed singing alto in the choir. Doryce was also an enthusiastic member of the “U-go-I-go” circle of girlfriends that met for decades, and in later years, became a birthday and lunch group.

            She is survived by one daughter, Eileen (Jack) Nelson of Stoughton, Wis.; one son, Mel (Vera Wheeler) Strom of Culver City, Calif.; four grandchildren, Andrew (Rebecca) Nelson of Sheboygan, Wis., Katrina Nelson of Green Bay, Wis., Natasha (John Murphy) Wheeler of Los Angeles, Calif., Daniel (Jessica Quintanilla) Wheeler of Los Angeles, Calif.; six great-grandchildren, Grace and Lily Nelson, Gabriel and Tatiana Wheeler, and Aleksander and Nikolas Wheeler; three sisters-in-law, Rose Strom and Doris Turner, both of Maple Park, and Harriet Strom of Geneva; numerous nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

            The last family member of her generation, she was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and five siblings, Hazel Ekstrom, Dorothy Pratt, Lloyd Johnson, Raymond Johnson and Myrtle Crusoe. 

            Her visitation will be held Thursday, Dec. 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL. Visitation will continue at church on Friday, Dec. 12, from 10 to 10:45 a.m., with services to follow at 11 a.m. The Rev. Ernst Rex will officiate, and interment will conclude at Whitney Cemetery, Burlington Road, Wasco.

            A memorial has been established in name to benefit Grace Lutheran Church, Bethany Health Care and DeKalb County Hospice, as well as other favorite charities. Memorial checks may be made to the Doryce Strom Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through her obituary at www.conleycare.com.

Wilbur C. Veldhuizen

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            Wilbur C. Veldhuizen, 85, of Woodstock, Ill., passed away Friday evening, Nov. 28, 2008, at the Centegra Medical Center in Woodstock, where he was taken following a sudden illness.

            He was born Aug. 18, 1923, in Oak Park, Ill., the son of Gysbertus “Bert” and Bertha (Schultz) Veldhuizen. His parents farmed in the Wasco area near Burlington Road for a time before moving to the Bloomingdale area. Wilbur followed his father’s footsteps into dairy farming and farmed in both Kane and McHenry counties for many years.

            Wilbur loved life and he loved farming. In the world of farm machinery, he also loved and collected “anything orange”. His Allis Chalmers tractors were his pride and joy, and he proudly joined countless others in the annual, three-day heritage tractor parade. In his retirement, he transported his grandchildren’s 4-H animals to fairs and 4-H competitions far and wide, and this stubborn, Dutch dairyman even learned to love the goats raised by his grandchildren.

            Like many of his generation, Wilbur loved to dance and joined friends from far and wide for many great evenings. Wilbur was not only light on his feet—he was fast and agile when he put on a pair of roller skates.  

            He was a lifelong member of the  Loyal Order of the Moose, the Pure Milk Association (AMPI) and the McHenry County Farm Bureau. He was also a member of the United Church of Christ, Harmony, Ill.

            He is survived by his loving life companion, Vera Shoemaker; four children, Donna ( Henry) Slawson of Castle Rock, Colo., Dale Veldhuizen of Sycamore, Vern (Alice) Veldhuizen of Richmond, Ill., and Lisa (Steve)  McCabe of Lakemoor, Ill.; nine grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; one sister, Marilyn (Robert) Savage of Warsaw, Ind; several nieces and nephews and other relatives.

            He is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Harley; and one granddaughter, Laura Thompson.

            His funeral service was held Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m., with visitation to follow at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Dire, pastor of the Community Church in Elburn, officiated, and interment concluded on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at Elm Lawn Cemetery, Elmhurst, Ill. Time schedule pending. Please call or check the website for confirmation.

            A memorial has been established in Wilbur’s name to benefit the National Kidney Foundation as well as other favorite charities. Memorial checks may be made to the Wilbur Veldhuizen Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through his obituary at www.conleycare.com. For information, call (630) 365-6414 or 800-8-CONLEY.

Sister Donna Petit

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            Sister Donna (Loretta) Petit, O.S.F., of Milwaukee, Wis., passed away Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008, at St. Luke’s Hospital, after a lingering battle with cancer.

            She was born Oct. 4, 1923, in Virgil, the daughter of Michael J. and Elizabeth (Feltes) Petit.

            In 1941, at the age of 18, Donna entered the convent of the Sisters of St. Francis of Milwaukee. She was noted for her work with children at St. Amelia’s orphanage and also at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee, as well as St. Luke’s Medical Center in Oshkosh, Wis. She was also involved in a prison ministry in Main, Wis.

            She is survived by two brothers, Frank of St. Charles and Peter of Virgil; two sisters, Lorraine (Petit) Miller of Virgil and Sister Marie Petit, O.S.F. of Milwaukee. In addition, she leaves many nieces and nephews, as well as great nieces and nephews and an unnumbered host of friends in ministry.

            She is preceded in death by three sisters, Louise (Oscar) Zang, Julia (Wilby) Dinges and Regina Petit; three brothers, Fr. Clement Petit, Herman Petit and Carl Petit; three sisters-in-law, Jean (Sauber) Petit, Helen (Sauber) Petit and Earlene (Ambre) Petit; two nephews, Xavier Zang and David Petit; and one niece, Donna Petit.

            Following traditional visitation and Mass in Milwaukee, a local memorial Mass was held Saturday, Nov. 29, at 11 a.m. at S.S. Peter & Paul Church, Virgil.

            A memorial has been established in her name to benefit the Sisters of St. Francis Retirement Home. Checks may be made to the Sister Donna Petit Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL  60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through www.conleycare.com.

Daniel L. Kellen

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            Daniel L. Kellen, 71, of Aurora, passed away after a long battle against cancer Monday, Nov. 24, 2008, at his home. He was born Nov. 14, 1937, in Amboy, Ill., the son of Lester J. Kellen and the late Agnes (Ross) Kellen.

            Mr. Kellen served his country from 1955 to 1957 with the United States Marines Corp. He was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps League of Aurora. He retired from the CTA Aug. 1, 2004, before falling ill. For 36 years, he and his family were members at St. Gertrude Catholic Church in Chicago.

            He is survived by his wife, Margaret (Kinniry) Kellen of Aurora; three children, Louis (Shari) Kellen of Lindenhurst, Ill., Maureen Cervantes of Fort Worth, Texas, and Patrick (Jennifer) Kellen of St. Charles; grandchildren, Sarah, Thomas, Maggie, Drew, Leo and Lexi; father, Lester J. Kellen; three sisters, Joan Kellen of Los Angeles, Calif., Colleen (Joe) Primock of Denver, Colo., and Mary Ann (Rich) Mikos of Tinley Park, Ill.; brother, Anthony (Phyllis Sweeny) Kellen of Denver; and many other family and friends.

            He was preceded in death by his mother, Agnes (Ross) Kellen.

            Funeral Mass was held Monday, Dec. 1, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 329 Pine St., DeKalb. Visitation was held Sunday, Nov. 30, from 1 to 5 p.m. at The Healy Chapel, 370 Division Dr. Sugar Grove. Interment took place at St. Mary’s Cemetery.

            For further information, please call (630) 466-1330 or visit www.healychapel.com

Wayne A. Strahl

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            Wayne A. Strahl, 65, of Elburn, passed away Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, at Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva, after a courageous battle with infection.

            He was born Dec. 14, 1942, in Chicago, the son of Walter W. and LaVerne A. (Gutknecht) Strahl.   Following graduation  from Kelly High School, Wayne began working part-time at Western Electric and was pursuing studies at I.I.T (Illinois Institute of Technology) when he was called to serve his country during the Vietnam War. Upon returning home, he picked up where he left off at I.I.T. and returned to Western Electric, where he met Barbara Orlow.  

            On April 28, 1974, Wayne and Barbara were wed at St. Philippus in Chicago. They soon bought a home in Downers Grove, where they lived before moving to Elburn in 1978. Wayne designed the home for Barbara, but the backyard was designed around his short-wave tower and his Ham radio hobby.  Retiring from Lucent Technologies after some 35 years, his hobby got more attention, as did the vacation trips he and Barbara enjoyed. Although they traveled from Alaska to Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Wayne’s “travels” by radio made friends across several continents, including Asia and South America. An untold number of friends will miss hearing from W9II.

            Wayne was a member of  the “Hamsters” Ham Radio Association and long-time fan of the White Sox and the Bears. A quiet man with firm convictions, Wayne also had a great sense of humor. It was a combination of those traits that helped him maintain a positive attitude through many health battles, especially in recent months. 

            In addition to his beloved wife, Barbara, Wayne is survived by his parents, Walter and LaVerne Strahl of Elburn; one sister-in-law, Joan (Thomas) Wisinski of Palos Park, Ill.; one niece, Debra (William) Grgantov; two nephews, Thomas (Venus) Wisinski and Mark Wisinski; three great-nephews, William and Brian Grgantov and Thomas Wisinski; and one great-niece, Emily Wisinski.

            Visitation and funeral services were held Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 West Pierce St., Elburn. Friends called from 2 to 8 p.m., with an evening funeral service beginning at 8 p.m. The Rev. Dr. Walter Thyng officiated, and services were webcast live at www.conleycare.com, as well as on-demand next-day video. Committal services followed Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Evergreen Cemetery, 87th and Kedzie Ave., Chicago.

            A memorial has been established in Wayne’s name to benefit favorite charities. Memorial checks may be made to the Wayne Strahl Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL  60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through his obituary at www.conleycare.com. For information, call (630) 365-6414 or 800-8-CONLEY.

William ‘Willy’ Floyd Crook

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            William “Willy” Floyd Crook, 56, of Reno, Nev., formerly of Lily Lake, passed away on Wednesday Nov. 12, 2008.  Willy was born Aug. 5, 1952 in Geneva, the son of William F. and Donna M. (Reinink) Crook.

            Willy attended Burlington Central High School in Plato Center, Ill., where he met his high school sweetheart, Doreen Kay Uthe. He graduated from high school in 1970 and married Doreen on June 28, 1980. Their daughter, Jenny, was born on Sept. 23, 1981, and their son, Teddy, was born exactly two years later on Sept. 23, 1983. They lived in Lily Lake, where Willy worked for Read Excavating until moving the family to Nevada in 1985.

            Willy is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Kay (Jason) Peak of Sparks, Nev.; his son, Ted William Crook, now residing in Japan; his mother, Donna Crook of Elburn; his brother, Tom (Deborah) Crook of Elburn; one granddaughter, Emma Peak, and several nieces and nephews.

            He is preceded in death by the love of his life and wife, Doreen (Uthe) Crook; his father, William Crook, and sister, Linda Runge.

            Funeral services will be held at Ross, Burke & Knobel at 2155 Kietzke Lane in Reno, on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008. A burial at Mountain View Cemetery will follow the service.

LaVerne Joan Behl

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            LaVerne Joan Behl, 71, resident of Clintonville, Wis., formerly of Elburn, passed away Nov. 14, 2008, at Pine Manor Health Care facility in Clintonville, due to long-term complications from a stroke.

            She was born Jan. 12, 1937, in Chicago, to the late John and Pauline Noga. She had been a resident of Clintonville for the past 20 years, where she was involved in the Clintonville Homemakers Club, volunteered at the Senior Center and was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Marion (Pella).

            LaVerne graduated from New Buffalo High School in Michigan, where she was a baton-twirling majorette and won the title of Miss Lakeside, Mich., in 1956  (she never let her husband forget that she was once a beauty queen). She was briefly employed at Paramount Die Casting in Stevensville, Mich., and then followed her dream to become a stewardess by graduating from training with North Central Airlines in Milwaukee in 1967. She was based in Minneapolis, Minn., and recalled stories of small paychecks, meals of ketchup mixed in hot water, but exciting travels.

            LaVerne met her husband, Herbert Behl, in Minneapolis, as he was an air traffic controller, and they were invited to the same party, though Herb arrived with another date. LaVerne didn’t like the fact that he had his hand on the other girl’s knee.  They fell in love and married on Nov. 30, 1957, at St. Gall’s Catholic Church in Chicago.

            LaVerne and Herb moved to DeForest, Wis. LaVerne gave up her career as a stewardess and became a telephone operator. She recalled being privy to many juicy party-line conversations. They moved to other communities throughout their marriage and established lifelong friendships during their 50 years together. LaVerne also worked as a secretary, cook, waitress, and some summers at Lodi Canning Factory in Lodi, Wis.

            The most important job to LaVerne, however, was taking care of her husband, home and family. Laverne and Herb raised three daughters and had 11 grandchildren. She began caring for others in her early teens, helping to raise her younger brother, John Jr., and she continued in the caregiver capacity with each of the grandchildren when needed, oftentimes spending days and weeks visiting them in faraway states (and even Iceland, where one grandson was born). 

            LaVerne was also instrumental in the care of Herb’s parents, Herbert Sr., and Gayley Behl, toward the end of their lives, providing meals, assistance with chores, grocery shopping, appointments and everything in between; allowing them to remain as independent as possible.

            Laverne was a loving wife and mother and served as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader, attended hundred of recitals, concerts and sporting events that her daughters were involved in. She taught them to play hard but play nice, and was an inspiration to her daughters. Herb and LaVerne’s steadfast marriage played a vital role in shaping the loving marriages the girls and their husbands cherish today.

            LaVerne opened her home to family and great friends over the years and made being a hostess seem effortless.  Guests were always treated to delicious home-cooked meals, clean linens and cold beer; she wouldn’t sit down until the last course was served and the last dish washed.

            Traveling was a joy to LaVerne, including visits to her children’s homes in Minnesota, Tennessee, North Dakota and North Carolina. Incredible trips with Herb to Hawaii, Alaska (via cruise ship) and most recently, to the Caribbean, where a granddaughter attends medical school, were highlighted by gorgeous views and whale watching.

            In 1999, LaVerne suffered a stroke at the age of 62 that affected the remainder of her life, but didn’t keep her from relearning to walk and talk. Over the years, however, LaVerne became more and more debilitated, and Herb took over her care and maintained their home by himself. LaVerne could no longer do for herself or others, and it was heartbreaking for her to give up such a big part of who she was. Herb stepped up to the job valiantly, but it soon became an  impossible task even for Herb, and Pine Manor graciously accepted LaVerne with open arms. Herb also became a daily fixture—staying for hours with LaVerne each and every day, calling out to other residents by name, chatting with the nurses, pushing wheelchairs and pouring coffee in the cafeteria. Laverne’s years of kindness and hospitality touched everyone she met and will not be forgotten. She pulled weeds in the garden and canned every summer. She had the work ethic of a plow horse, but the grace of a butterfly. She taught her daughters all she knew about domesticity, but LaVerne’s real gift to her family has been her unconditional love and her strong faith in each of them. She would agree that it is very hard work sometimes, but family is always worth the effort.

            LaVerne is survived by her loving husband of more than 50 years, Herbert; their daughters, Karen (Rick) DuChene of Big Lake, Minn., Donna (Jeff) Feuerstein of Neenah, Wis., Nancy (Mark) Foster of New Richmond, Wis.; 11 grandchildren, Kirstin, Amy, Laura, Jodi, Heidi, Sam, Jake, Hannah, Aaron, Joe and Eli. LaVerne is also survived by her brother, John Noga, Jr.; sister-in-laws, Betty Behl, Gayle Grubb and Olive Behl; brother-in-law, Dennis Behl, and many other loving family and friends.

            She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Pauline Noga; her in-laws, Herb and Gayley Behl (who was also like a mother), close aunts, uncles and cousins.

            Funeral services were held Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Beil-Didier Funeral Home in Clintonville, Wis.  Reverend Doug Helling officiated. Friends called Tuesday from 9 a.m. until time of services at the funeral home.

            The family wishes to thank Pine Manor Health Care staff for the compassionate and gentle care of LaVerne over the past 10 months. You have become a part of their family. They also thanked Bethlehem Lutheran Church clergy and members for all the cards, prayers and visits, as well as the many friends of LaVerne for their love and support of both LaVerne and Herb through the difficult times.

            She loved to dance; she loved to dress up and go to parties, and she can finally dance again. LaVerne’s favorite song was “Stardust.”

            “And now the purple dusk of twilight time steals across the meadows of my heart, high up in the sky the little stars climb, always reminding me that we’re apart. You wander down the land and far away, leaving me a song that will not die. Love is now the stardust of yesterday. The music of the years gone by.”

            The work is done now, mom, you can rest. We love you and will miss you.

            In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund in LaVerne’s name is being established at Pine Manor Health Care Center, Clintonville, WI 54929.

Audrey V. Ledbetter

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            Audrey V. Ledbetter, 68, of Kaneville, passed away early Tuesday morning, Nov. 17, 2008, at Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva, following a valiant battle against multiple complications.   Released on the wings of her family’s prayers, she passed away peacefully to claim the promise of her Savior.

            She was born June 26, 1940, in Wayne County, Ill., the daughter of James Virgil and Ina Lenora (Pennington) Cook. When Audrey was just four, the family moved to the Somonauk-Earlville area, where she attended Somonauk High School.  

            In 1957, she was united in marriage to Jessie B. Duncan, and they made their home in the Kaneland area. Audrey was blessed with three children, Patricia, Deborah and Lena. In 1984, Audrey and Jessie parted ways, and Audrey met Jerry Ledbetter. They were married on Dec. 12, 1985, and began their new life in Kaneville. They were active in the Victory Baptist Church in DeKalb and visited many shut-ins and nursing home residents. A soft-spoken woman with a deep and patient faith, Audrey ministered most as a “sacred confidante” who listened much but spoke little. 

            She is survived by her husband, Jerry of Kaneville; two daughters, Deborah (Tim) Deutsch of Maple Park and Lena (Greg) Lamore of Elburn; one step-daughter, Beth Keener of Phoenix, Ariz.; one step-son, Jim Ledbetter of Phoenix, Ariz.; 10 grandchildren, Patricia’s: Jennifer (Chris) Reynolds, Joe Isham, Jaclyn Isham; Deborah’s: Pamela (Travis) Jennings, Jessica Deutsch; Lena’s: Audrina, Veronica, Octavia, Christina and Loretta; one great-grandson, Chance Reynolds; and one step-grandson, Adam Keeener.

            She is preceded in death by her precious daughter, Patricia Ann; her parents, Virgil and Ina Cook; one brother, Elmer Cook; one sister, Stella Cook; one grandson, Michael John Deutsch; as well as her mother and father-in-law, Gerold and Loda Ledbetter.

            Her visitation and funeral service will be Thursday, Nov. 20, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. Friends may call from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. A brief service will be held at noon with private family interment services to follow at Kaneville Cemetery.  The Rev. Eric Mangek, pastor of Victory Baptist Church in DeKalb, will officiate. Her full obituary can be found at www.conleycare.com. For information, call Conley Funeral Home at (630) 365-6414.

Johnnie Francis Thomas

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            Johnnie Francis Thomas, 76, of Poplar Bluff, Mo., formerly of Elburn, died Nov. 4, 2008, following a sudden collapse at his  home.

            He was born Sept. 24, 1932, in Big Rock, the son of Francis and Clarice Thomas. He grew up on the family farm and  attended  a one-room school house where Alice Yarnal was the beloved teacher he never forgot. As a young man, he served his country in the U.S. Army, stationed at Schwienfurt, Germany.

            Johnnie met Rosemary Blum and fell in love at the Blue Moon Ballroom in Elgin. The romance continued at weekly dances until he and Rosemary were married at the Kaneville United  Methodist Church on May 16, 1964.

            Johnnie worked as a farmhand for Vern Bowgren in LaFox, Ill., and also as a machine operator at Burgess Norton Mfg. in Geneva. For 28 years, he worked at Ace Hardware in Geneva, where he was a favorite among countless customers. Throughout the rest of his life, he would keep those customers as friends and meet them far and wide wherever he went. Following retirement, Johnnie and Rosemary moved to Creal Springs, Ill. in 1998 and then to Poplar Bluff, Mo., in 2001.  

            A devoted family man and community neighbor, Johnny spent many summers helping as an umpire with Little League baseball teams and the girls softball teams. He spent many winters plowing snow for friends and neighbors. He also loved working in his garden, and hunting for wild asparagus and mushrooms, and his favorite sandwich was peanut butter and mayonnaise. 

            From his boyhood on the farm, Johnnie loved animals, especially his farm dog, Pal, and his cat, Silver, who would gently wake him each day with her paws. As a young boy and into his teen years, Johnnie was a member of the Elburn 4-H Club. He raised and showed pigs and won many ribbons for his efforts. He also had a favorite prize winning bull, Percy. Another dog, Abby, won his heart after he retired and was his constant companion. Retirement allowed Johnnie to devote more time to his favorite sport, fishing. He shared that love with his children and grandchildren who will always remember visits with a loving grandpa who tickled and hugged them and loved to take long walks.

            Johnnie’s moral and spiritual compass was firmly aligned with the highest principles of Free Masonry. His sincere and genuine application of those principles to daily life was a reflection of his phenomenal memory for thousands of passages of ancient ritual, and moreover, his heartfelt appreciation for their true purpose and meaning. Johnnie was a 54-year member and six-time Past Master of Blackberry Masonic Lodge No. 359 AF & AM in Elburn; an honorary member of Fellowship Lodge No. 89 AF & AM in Marion, Ill.; and a frequent visitor at Poplar Bluff Lodge No. 209 AF & AM. He was also a member of Sword of Bunker Hill in Elgin, Fox Valley Shrine Club in Geneva, Medinah Shriners A.A.O.N.M.S. of Chicago, Commandery No. 22 Knights Templar, Fox Valley Chapter No. 265 Order of Eastern Star, Cryptic Masons No. 130 and American Legion No. 630 in Elburn. He was also a life-long, “die-hard” Cubs fan.

            Johnnie is survived by his wife of 44 years, Rosemary Thomas of Poplar Bluff, Mo.; their four children, David (Tracy) Thomas of Beebe, Ark., Jody (Robert) Jones of Sycamore, Robert (Susan) Thomas of Elburn, and Kathrine (Tim) Busch of Poplar Bluff, Mo.; 12 grandchildren, Michelle, Felisha, Rose and Amber Thomas of Beebe, Ark., Morgan, Alexis and Delaney Jones of Sycamore, Holly and Faith Thomas of Elburn, and Will, Bethany and Tiffany Fraser of Poplar Bluff, Mo.; one sister, Myrtie Ellen (William) Thompson; a sister-in-law, Sara Thomas, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

            He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Everett Thomas.

            Locally, visitation was held Sunday, Nov. 9, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A Masonic Service was held at 2 p.m. His funeral service concluded visitation at 4:30 p.m. and webcast live at www.conleycare.com or can be later viewed as an on-demand video. The Rev. Jason Turner, pastor of the Kaneville United Methodist Church, officiated, and interment concluded on Monday, Nov. 10, with graveside services at 11 a.m. at the Kaneville Cemetery, Main Street Road in Kaneville. There is to be a visitation in Poplar Bluff, Mo. on Thursday, Nov. 13,  from 4 to 6 p.m., with a Masonic service to follow immediately afterwards.

            A memorial has been established in Johnnie’s name to benefit the American Diabetes Association, as well as Masonic and Shrine charities. Checks may be made to the Johnnie Thomas Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66,  Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and condolences may be mailed to the family at the same address or e-mailed through his obituary at www.conleycare.com.

            For information, call (630) 365-6414 or 1-800-8-CONLEY.

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