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2009 Obituaries - page 5

Wade, Denise Thomas

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Wade and Denise Thomas, of St. Charles, both died tragically following an accident Saturday, May 23, 2009. Arrangements are pending. For more information, please call Conley Funeral Home at (630) 365-6414.

Ryan Christopher Wetters

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Ryan Christopher Wetters, 22, of Geneva, fell asleep at his home in Geneva only to wake in his Heavenly home Monday, May 25, 2009.

He was born June 24, 1986, the son of Brian and Kathy (Booth) Wetters in Tallahassee, Fla.

Ryan’s father worked for BP Amoco, which had the family growing up in several towns. Ryan spent the first several years in Bainbridge, Ga., before moving to Marietta, Ga., in 1992. The family then settled in Geneva in 2000.

Ryan graduated from Geneva High School and continued his education at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where he studied economics and political science.

Following graduation in December of 2008, Ryan began working in the family business, Right At Home in Batavia, as business manager. He also spent many Saturdays working at the Mill Creek Market.

He was a member of Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva and proud alumni of Geneva High School Football.

Ryan enjoyed fishing with his friends at all the Mill Creek ponds, but most recently took the family boat and several friends to Lake Heideke, near Morris, Ill. He, along with many of his friends, was an avid Cubs fan and spent many hours of joy and sorrow at the “Friendly Confines.”

Ryan loved the Atlanta Falcons and never bowed to the pressure of converting to a Bears fan. He also was a “CSPAN junkie,” venting daily and putting his political science education to good use. Though he left without being able to say goodbye, Ryan leaves behind a legacy of memories for those left behind to cherish.

He now leaves his loving parents, Brian and Kathy of Geneva; one brother, Alex Wetters, a student at Iowa State University; a close group of friends, including his best friend, Bernie Potkanowicz, of Geneva.

He now joins his maternal grandparents, Lee and Lotchie Booth; and his paternal grandparents, Dale and Jane Wetters, who preceded him in death.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 29, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A funeral service to celebrate his life will be held at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church, 227 East Side Drive, Geneva, on Saturday, May 30, at 11 a.m. The Rev. Carl Gray, pastor of the church, will officiate, and private family interment will follow in Tired Creek Cemetery near Cairo, Ga., at a later date. For those unable to attend, a video of the service will be available at www.conleycare.com the following day.

A memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the “Ryan Wetters 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.

Frank W. Trafidlo

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Frank W. Trafidlo, 94, of Elburn, formerly of Downers Grove, Ill., passed away May 21, 2009, at the Oak Crest Nursing Center in DeKalb.

He was born Sept. 26, 1914, in Chicago, to the late Walter and Mary Trafidlo.

Frank was a retired tool and die engineer and member of the International Association of Machinists Union.

He is survived by his loving children, Ron Trafidlo, Bonnie (Jack) Mack, and Connie (Doug) Lee; his caring grandchildren, Lisa (Dave) Williams, Debbie (Marc) Zolnierowcz, Sherri Mack (Steve Quiaoit), Ron (Neidi) Mack, Jenny (Paul) Evatt, Darcie (Bill) Carlson, Doug Lee Jr., Shawn Lee, Stacey (Mike) McClanahan, and Shelley Lee (Andy Barshinger), and his great-grandchildren Kyle, Nick, and Adam McClanahan, Kennedy Barshinger, Jessica, Alison, Melissa and Sara Williams, Kevin and Zack Zolnierowcz, Stephanie Mack, Christopher and Gabriella Mack, Hannah and Tanner Evatt. Frank is also survived by his sister-in-law, Frances Trafidlo; and two nephews, and a niece.

He was preceded in death by his dear wife, Jeanne Trafidlo; his brother, Edward Trafidlo; and his sister, Evelyn Zabielski.

Visitation and the service was May 26 at the Toon Funeral Home,4920 Main St., Downers Grove.

Interment Clarendon Hills Cemetery, Darien, Ill. For further information, call (630) 968-0408 or visit www.toonfuneralhome.com.

Duane R. Brandt

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Duane R. Brandt, 74, of DeKalb, passed away Wednesday, May 20, 2009, at Provena Mercy Center in Aurora.

He was born July 27, 1934, in Barrington, Ill., the son of Norman E. and Opal K. (Clinge) Brandt. Duane married Laura J. Thorson on July 2, 1955, in Hinckley.

Duane was a veteran of the United States Army, serving in the Signal Corps in Germany. He was employed at Chicago, Burlington and Northern Railroad for 13 years and Nicor Gas Company for more than 20 years. Duane was a member of the Sycamore Moose Club and the Sycamore Elks club.

He is survived by his wife, Laura; his children, Scott (Penny) Brandt of Earlville, Ill., Kathy (John) Hutchison of Somonauk, Ill., Lisa (Greg) Smith of Sycamore; five grandchildren, Nick, Scott and Stephanie Brandt, Johnny and Jarrett Hutchison; one great-grandson, Scott Brandt; one sister, Cris Corderman of Barrington, Ill.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A private family memorial service will be held on Thursday, May 28, with the Rev. Roy Nelson of First Lutheran Church in DeKalb officiating. Interment of cremated remains will be at a later date.

In lieu of flowers a memorial is being established for Duane R. Brandt in care of the Anderson Funeral Home, Ltd., P.O. Box 605, DeKalb, IL 60115. For information, call Anderson Funeral Home at (815) 756-1022.

Andrew ‘Andie’ J. Christoffel

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Andrew “Andie” J. Christoffel, 18, of Elburn, passed away on May 25, 2009.

He was born Sept. 20, 1990, the son of Jim and Sally (Cobb) Christoffel in Aurora.

Andie grew up in Elburn and attended local schools and was scheduled to graduate with the class of 2009 at Kaneland High School in Maple Park.

Andie enjoyed graphics and art, and excelled at his classes at Kaneland High School. Eventually he hoped to attend the Art Institute of Chicago for graphic design.

His heart was open to many kinds of music, and that passion fueled his other desire to be a DJ, naming himself Rev. Mayhem. He was gifted with a talent for using technology and especially adept at mixing songs. He loved mashing the beat of one song with the lyrics of another to make a one-of-a-kind song that was all Andie. His favorite bands included HIM, Crystal Castles, Depeche Mode, Kill Hannah and 69 Eyes, but his favorite songs changed with the day.

Andie’s sense of humor could catch you off guard and make you laugh in spite of yourself. His gift of laughing at himself and at his many stunts entertained family and friends on a daily basis.

Along with all the joy and laughter, there was another side to Andie that many people didn’t see and one that he controlled privately. It was during the last few years that his control began to slip, and despite all the love and support from family and friends, he withdrew into himself to a point where there was no light to guide him. In time, the spiral deepened to a point where in one moment, he forgot all those who loved him and chose to end his life. Nothing he did in those last moments change the wonderful son, brother and friend that so many came to know and love. His memory will forever live in the echoes of his laughter, the reflection of his smile and the thousands of memories he made with all those who knew and loved him.

Andie also lives on in those fortunate few who were able to live because of the gift of life he gave through organ donation.

He now leaves his parents Jim and Sally; four siblings, Dave Christoffel, Amy Christoffel, Stephanie Christoffel and Maizy Christoffel; paternal grandfather, Jack Christoffel; maternal grandparents, Richard and Margaret Cobb; several aunts, uncles and many cousins and a close circle of friends.

He now joins his paternal grandmother, Ruth Christoffel; and his step-father, Jim Maltar, who preceded him in death.

A memorial visitation was June 2. Funeral services will be private and interment will occur following cremation at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the “Andie Christoffel Memorial Fund” 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.

William M. Schweisthal

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William (Bill) M. Schweisthal, 67, of Elburn, passed away May 16, 2009, at his home. He was born Aug. 30, 1941, in Aurora.

Bill retired after 35 years of service as an automotive mechanic at Avenue Motors in Batavia. He was a 30-year resident of Elburn, and previously lived in Batavia.

He was the beloved husband of 32 years to Judy; loving father of Rebecca (Craig) Schultz and Nick Schweisthal; beloved son of the late Evelyn and Marcus; dear son-in-law of the late June and David Porch; proud grandfather of Kayla and Katie Schweisthal; dear brother of Don (Joan) Schweisthal, John (Debbie) Schweisthal, Mary (Fred) Story and the late Dolores (Ernie) Frieders; fond uncle of many nieces and nephews; and loving nephew of the late Howard McMullen.

The family would like to express a heartfelt thanks to Provena Hospice, Dr. Raheem and staff at Dryer Clinic, Aurora.

Services were private. Arrangements were made by DuPage Cremations, Ltd. and Memorial Chapel.

Donations can be made out to St. Jude’s Children Hospital at 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Alice Penegar

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Alice B. Pinegar 84, of Canton, Iowa, died at 4:45 a.m. Sunday May 10, 2009, at Trinity Pathway Hospice in Bettendorf, Iowa, where she was a resident for two days.

She was born on Dec. 5, 1924, in Wasco, Ill., to Carl E. and Clara (Magnuson) Swanson. She married Roy E. Pinegar on April 6, 1946, in Geneva, Ill. He preceded her in death on July 26, 2008.

Survivors include two daughters Sharyn (Dr. John) Baker of Moline, Ill., Sandra (Dan) Ihnes of Canton; one sister, Esther Shelton of Canton; four grandchildren, Douglas (Jennifer) Baker of Highland, Ill., Theodore (Melissa) Baker of Davenport, Iowa, Kristine (Fred) Kunchick of Bellingham, Wash., Nathan (Pamela) Ihnes of Canton; and four great-grandchildren, Azriel and Solea Kunchick, and Dillon and Aaron Baker.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; two brothers, Hilding and Carl Swanson; three sisters, including her twin sister Ethel, Ruth Swanson, and Mildred Taber; two brothers-in-law, who also preceded her in death Jack Shelton and Leland Taber.

She attended grade school in Lily Lake, and graduated from Elburn High School in 1943. She was confirmed in Lily Lake Grace Lutheran Church in 1937.

She first worked in the defense factory in Geneva while she was waiting for the love of her life to return from WWII.

She moved to Canton one day after her marriage and lived there until the past few months, when she moved in with her daughter Sharyn.

While Alice lived in Canton she worked at Kamlager Gifts and Electric for 25 years. She was a member of the Grace Lutheran Church in Canton.

She was a kind and generous woman and loved her family, neighbors and friends.

She enjoyed sewing and gardening but loved her flowers the most. She also enjoyed going on walks with her husband.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Oaks-Hines Funeral Home in Canton. Visitation will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be at White Chapel Memory gardens in Canton.

Memorials may be made to the Grace Lutheran Church, Graham Hospice or Trinity Hospice in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Online condolences are available at www.oakshinesfuneralhome.com.

Earl Clement Sr.

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Earl Clement Sr., 83, of Elburn, passed away Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at Provena Mercy Center Hospital in Aurora.

He was born July 7, 1925, in Geneva, the son of Neil and Viola (Evarts) Clement.

Earl had worked for 50 years as an auto mechanic for many area businesses, including Lou’s Jeep in Geneva. Most recently, he had been employed by Napa Auto Parts in Elburn.

He grew up with a love for auto racing, and along with his lifelong friend Arnie Gardner, traveled around the country competing at various tracks with Arnie doing the driving and Earl working on the car. He also had a love for antique cars. His greatest enjoyment in life, however, was being with his family. He will be dearly missed.

He is survived by his three sons, Earl Jr. (Fran Clement) of Maple Park, Steve (Connie) of Elburn and Ron (Marla) of Geneva; six grandchildren, Matt, Brandon, Emily, Andy, Brian and Diana; and brother, Carl (Rae) Clement of Arkansas.

He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter-in-law, Donna; son, Larry; and his wife, Dorothy.

Funeral service will be held Friday, May 15, at 10 a.m. at the Malone Funeral Home, 324 E. State St. (Route 38), Geneva. Burial will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery in Geneva.

Visitation will be held Thursday, May 14, from 4 to 8 p .m. at the Malone Funeral Home, Geneva.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the American Cancer Society, 143 First St., Batavia, Ill., 60510 would be appreciated.

For information, call (630) 232-8233.

June Elizabeth (Harris) Toft

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June Elizabeth (Harris) Toft, 87, of Maple Park, passed from this life to eternal life in the early morning hours of Tuesday April 28, 2009. She was born in Chicago on May 3, 1921, to Thomas and Evelyn (Mathey) Harris.

June grew up on the south side of Chicago and attended local schools. Following school and during the war, June helped make hand grenades at a local factory.

June married Alex Einear Toft on Jan. 6, 1940, in Hinsdale, Ill., and made their home in Downers Grove. While Alex worked outside of the home, June worked to make their house a home and raised their daughter, Barbara. Later she worked for various factories but spent a majority of her working years at Marshall Fields in the drapery department.

June and Alex found a home on several acres in Maple Park in 1991. It was a perfect location for Alex to continue his passion for horses and for June to expand her gardening. Sadness came in 2000 when Alex passed away, and until recent days, June continued to make her home in Maple Park.

June had a heart for gardening and hands for knitting. Her garden was always full of delicious vegetables and gorgeous flowers, and she had a legacy of priceless handmade afghans made for her great nieces and nephews. In her younger years, she could be found dancing at local ballrooms, and later, June’s favorite pastimes included driving the tractor and mowing the lawn.

She is survived by one granddaughter, Heather (Don) Harner of Plainfield; two siblings, Jean Murphy of Mokena, Ill. and Robert Harris Jr. of Ill.; many nieces and nephews, including Beverly (Tom) Wakolbinger of St. Charles, Thomas (Barbara) Harris of Two Sisters, Ore., Alan (Miriam) Harris of Sunnyvale, Calif., Jackie (David) Rubin of Oxnard, Calif. and William (Diane) Boyd of Bolingbrook, Ill.; many grand-nieces and nephews, including Tiffany (Roberto) Ortiz of Bolingbrook, Ill., and several great-grand nieces and nephews; one special friend and companion, Wesley Landmeier, and a family of friends.

She now joins her parents, husband Alex, daughter Barbara, one brother, and three sisters, who preceded her in death.

Visitation was Monday, May 4, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A funeral to celebrate her life was also May 4, with cremation following.

A memorial will be established in June’s name. Memorials checks may be made to the June Toft 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.

John F. Krbec

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John F. Krbec, 76, of Republic, entered eternal life Thursday afternoon, April 23, 2009, at Marquette General Hospital in the loving care of his family. He was born May 25, 1932, in Chicago, the son of Frank and Anna (Mann) Krbec.

John was raised in Northlake, Ill., and graduated from the Leyden Township School. He entered the U.S. Army in 1951, serving with the 5th Regiment Combat Team during the Korean Conflict.

Following his honorable discharge, he returned to Illinois, where on Nov. 29, 1959, he married the former Pamela M. Coan in Westchester. The couple spent their honeymoon deer hunting. John and Pam resided in Elburn for a time, raising their son, Scott.

For over 30 years, John was employed as a supervisor with Illinois Bell Telephone, retiring in 1989.

In the early ’50s, John began making trips to the Upper Peninsula, Mich., to deer hunt. He fell in love with the natural beauty and solitude of the region and, in 1990, John and Pam moved to Republic.

A talented watercolorist for more than 28 years, John found the beauty of the Upper Peninsula offered a wealth of inspiration for his creative talent. He exhibited frequently, was a member of the Lake Superior Art Association, and for many years, featured his work at Art on the Rocks. He was also a competitive archer, developing his skill while in service, and was an original member of the Chicago Bow Hunter’s Association. His other passion was antique tractors, and he was a member of the Northwoods Antique Tractor Club.

John is survived by his loving wife, Pam; son, Scott (Laura) Krbec of San Antonio, Texas; his grandchildren, Aidan, Mackenzie, and Brigid Krbec of San Antonio, Texas; two brothers, James (Jean) Krbec of Phoenix, Ariz. and Jerry (Bonnie) Krbec of Toledo, Ohio; several nephews, his canine springers, Abby and Wendy; feline companion, Keri; and old pals, Big Red, Red Baron, Snoopy and Little Orange Peel that were the core of his tractor passion. John was preceded in death by his parents.

The family received relatives and friends at the Fassbender Funeral Home on Sunday, April 26, at 3 p.m. A Service of Remembrance followed at 4 p.m. with Rev. William Payne, family friend and neighbor, officiating. Internment will be in a national cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the American Cancer Society or the Marquette County Humane Society, 84 Snowfield Road, Negaunee, MI 49866.

Condolences may be expressed online at www.fassbenderswanson.com.

Michael Andrew Kovach

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Michael Andrew Kovach, 39, of Elburn, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, April 27, 2009. He was a loving and dedicated husband, father, son, brother and friend to all. Words cannot express the love he had for his family.

Mike was a graduate of Waubonsee Community College and Illinois State University and owned his own business. He was an avid golfer and bowler, often competing in the nationals tournaments. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. Mike was a passionate conservative Republican and loved political debates. He loved doing home remodeling projects and looked forward to purchasing the new tools and equipment required.

He is survived by his wife, Katherine (Burton) Kovach; his children, Michael, Sarah, Emily and Aidan; his parents, Albert and Kathleen Kovach; his sister, Krysta December; his brother, David (Catherine) Kovach and their children, Alexander, Jarod and Levi; his grandparents, William and Helen Hergenroether and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Mike was preceded in death by his grandparents, Albert and Julia Kovach.

A funeral mass was held Monday, May 4, 2009, at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Angels Church, Aurora. Msgr. Martin Heinz was the celebrant. Visitation was held Sunday, May 3, at the Healy Chapel, 332 W. Downer Place, Aurora, where a liturgical wake service was held at 6 p.m. Interment was at Sugar Grove Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the family for the children’s educational fund.

For more information, please call (630) 897 9291 or visit www.healychapel.com to sign the online guestbook.

Jack Lee Keeney

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Jack Lee Keeney 75, of St. Charles, died Friday, May 1, 2009, at home with his loved ones at his side. He was born March 1, 1934, in Seattle, Wash., the son of Ronald and Marian (Foss) Keeney.

He proudly served in the United States Army.

Jack was the founder of Foremost Fastener Company in Addison, Ill. He was a member of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, where he and his beloved late wife, Jackie served.

Jack was a loving father, grandfather, great grandfather and will be deeply missed.

Jack is survived by his loving children, Kevin (Diane) Keeney of Grand Rapids, Minn., Kim (Jim) Fitzpatrick of Elburn and Sharon (Mike) Haas of Huntley; his precious grandchildren, Kristi (Doug) Hull, Jack Keeney, Sarah (Jim Ohman) Keeney and Luke Keeney, Chris and Sean Fitzpatrick, Erica, Anna, Samantha, and Caitlin Haas; and his first great-grandchild, Alyssa Olhman; his brothers, James Keeney of Sioux Falls, S.D. and Gerald Keeney of Portland, Ore., and his sisters, Jean Ann (Walter) Nicaise of Kennewick, Wash. and Karen (Richard) Pacialick of Buffalo, Minn.

In addition to his parents, Jack was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jackie, on July 11, 2008, and his sister, Judith Keeney.

A visitation and service to celebrate his life were held Monday, May 4, at the funeral home.

Burial will be private.

Contributions in Jack’s memory may be made to Hesed House, 659 South River, Aurora, IL 60506
For more information, call (630)584-2000 or visit www.norrisfh.com.

Paul M. Einwich

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Paul M. Einwich, 52, of Sycamore, passed away at his home in Montello, Wis., on April 30, 2009.

He now leaves his loving wife, Donna Einwich; six children, Ronald (Peggy) Hendry of Bloomingdale, Angela (Randal) Nelson of Kingston, Ill., Mitch (Kim) Hendry of Maple Park, Trish (Michael Sciabaras) Hendry of Maple Park, Jenni (James Jordan) Einwich of North Aurora, Jason Einwich of Montello, Wis.; nine grandchildren; four siblings, Jayne (Michael) Jordan of Elburn, Peter (Terry Ingold) Einwich of Cortland, Julia (Mark) Stanhibel of Rodando Beach, Calif., and Victoria (Joe) Monks of Chandler, Ariz.; his mother, Lorraine Einwich of Elgin; many nieces, nephews, and his best friend, Jerry “Bo” Bowgren.

He now joins his father, George; and grandmother, Margaret Martin, who preceded him in death.

Visitation was held on Sunday, May 3, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A mass to celebrate his life was held Monday, May 4, at S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Virgil.

There was a visitation from 10 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m. Fr. Perfecto Vasquez, pastor of the church, officiated and interment followed at Lily Lake Cemetery. For those unable to attend the service, a video of the service will also be available in on-demand form at no charge on the website.

A memorial has been established in his name to benefit S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Checks may be made to the “Paul Einwich 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. For a full length life story obituary, please go to www.conleycare.com.

C. Darwin Cooper

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C. Darwin Cooper, 80, of Campton Township, passed away at his home, surrounded by the love of his family, Saturday, May 16, 2009.

He was born in Belvidere, Ill., on July 20, 1928. Darwin attended public schools until his junior year of high school. He then attended and graduated from a private school, Wheaton College Academy. During his elementary and secondary school years, he excelled in basketball, cornet in the high school band, and studied piano.

He developed his piano skills throughout his lifetime, and it was a source of many hours of enjoyment. Classical music played a very significant part of Darwin’s life that evolved into his love for symphonic music, opera and recitals. At retirement, he learned how to play a pipe organ and installed a full-size, three-rank pipe organ in his basement.

He graduated from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill., in 1950 and majored in education. During his college years, he was proficient in basketball and baseball.

He was united in marriage to Pauline Blomberg on Sept. 12, 1951.

Upon graduation, he taught junior high and high school for six years in Illinois and Iowa. In addition to teaching several classes, Darwin became principal during his third year at a school in Savanna, Ill. He also had unique experiences in a small consolidated school in Iowa, grades 1-12, where he taught history, English, coached boys basketball and baseball. He also coached girls basketball, which was very popular in Iowa at that time. Never one to sit idle, he also directed the high school band and taught private piano lessons.

After six years of teaching, Darwin turned to the business world for employment. He worked 10 years for Automatic Electric Company, part of GTE, in Northlake, Ill. There he served as manager for the Customer Order Processing Department. Later, he began working with National Starch and Chemical Company, where he worked for 24 years until his retirement in January of 1991. His position at National Starch was very challenging as well as rewarding and involved managing 10 customer service and sales offices in the Midwest and the West Coast.

Darwin was a lifelong practicing committed Christian. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Lily Lake for 40 years, where he served in many leadership roles, including church council, finance and adult education. He also sang tenor in the choir.

Darwin was a person with many passions and achievements. One unusual accomplishment was that he built his own family home. He did 90 percent of the work himself during nine months in 1964, all while working full time at a challenging job.

At the early age of 11 he developed a life long passion for railroading, and took many photographs and collected a large amount of railroad materials and publications, especially during the age of steam. He researched railroad history and published the findings in six railroad historical society magazines.

The study of history was always a passion, especially American history and specifically Abraham Lincoln. His library consisted of volumes of books and included the most ever written about Lincoln in the past 50 years.

Darwin considered the last 15 years of his life to be the most rewarding of all. It was during this time that he was awakened to the fact that his faith demanded concern for the disadvantaged persons in our world and to advocate for them in the public policy arena. This resulted in many editorials in the papers and visits to his legislators. He was particularly proud of his involvement in the establishment of Lutheran Advocacy, which is an attempt to awaken Lutherans in their responsibilities to put their faith in action and to advocate for public policies to aid the disadvantaged.

Above all else, his family will miss him as a loving husband and father and the integral part he played in his loving close knit family.

He now leaves his loving wife of 57 years, Pauline Cooper; three children, David Cooper and his wife, Eileen Conway of Fairfax, Va., Phillip Cooper and his life partner, Susan Urban of St. Charles, and Jonathan Cooper and his wife, Kris Cooper, of St. Charles; five grandchildren, Erin, Rhiannon, Jeremy, David and Sarah; one sister Iona Sunden of Coloma, Wis., nieces, nephews and a family of friends.

He now joins his parents, Clarence and Mildred (Fonken) Cooper, who preceded him in death.

Visitation was Tuesday, May 19, at Grace Lutheran Church, Lily Lake. A memorial service was held following visitation. Rev. Ernst Rex, pastor of the church, officiated. Private family interment was held following cremation.

For those who were unable to attend the service, a video of the service is available at www.conleycare.com. For more information, please call Conley Funeral Home at (630) 365-6414.

A memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the Darwin Cooper Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family through www.conleycare.com.

Sarah E. Thomas

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Sarah E. Thomas of DeKalb, formerly of Aurora, Ill., passed from this life into eternal life on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at Bethany Health Care and Rehab Center in DeKalb.

She was born March 26, 1937, in Jackson County, Mo., the daughter of Baldwin and Ruth Elizabeth (Scroggs) Sears. Sara was adopted in infancy, and except for two years living in Elburn, she spent most of her childhood in Aurora.

Sara graduated from West Aurora High School, where she excelled in music. She learned to play eight instruments, including bass, tenor and alto saxophone, clarinet, drums and more. In later years, she would teach herself to play the organ as well. She graduated with the class of 1955.

Following graduation, she attended Wheaton College for a time, where she majored in physical education. School would have to wait as Sara met and fell in love with a man named Everett Thomas.

On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, she was united in marriage to Everett R. Thomas. They made their home on the Meredith Farm south of Elburn for two years as Everett worked for Les Meredith. In the early 1960s, they moved to Aurora, where they made their home on the west side of town and Sara raised her family and began working part time as a nurse’s aide at Copley Hospital, Aurora. Sara returned to school to earn her certificate as a licensed practical nurse in Chicago and specialized in long term care nursing at a Chicago school.

Sara’s early 30s brought challenges as she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Despite her diagnosis, Sara worked at Elmwood Care Center, Aurora, and several others around the Aurora and Westmont area. She battled the disease into the 1970s when poor health forced her to stop working. Even after her retirement, Sara battled back each time it reared its ugly head, coming back from being bed-ridden several times and even getting her drivers license back.

Following Everett’s death in 2000, she continued to make her own home at Constitution House, Aurora. There she was on the resident’s council and was active in arts and crafts until 2004, when she became a resident at Bethany Healthcare following a broken hip.

Sara’s pride and joy were her family, and none were more precious than her grandchildren, whom she helped raise. She was always there when you needed help, especially if you needed help or to be spoiled.

She was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Aurora.

She is survived by three children, Shari (Steve) Dixon of Shabbona, Ill., Jeff (Gina) Thomas of Estero, Fla., Joseph M. (Karen Adams) Thomas of Elburn; 10 grandchildren, Lauren Dixon, Jimmy Dixon, Bridget (Tristan) Schmit, Michelle (Joeseph) Brandonisio, Rudy Thomas, Jackson Thomas, Sophia Thomas, Shanna Adams, Krystal Thomas and Haley Olsen; four great-grandchildren (and two more on the way), Trenton Schmit, Megan Schmit, Miabella Brandonisio and Vito “Luke” Brandonisio; one brother, Charles (Laurie) Sears of Aurora; two nephews, Christopher and Jonathan Sears, and a family of friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Everett.

Visitation will be held on Friday, May 1, from 4 to 6:45 p.m. at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, with a service to celebrate her life to be held at 7 p.m. The Rev. Deborah Percell will officiate. Private interment services will follow at a later date. A memorial will be established in Saras’s name to benefit her favorite charities. Memorial checks may be made to the Sara E. Thomas 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.

Thomas A. Kuebelbeck

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Thomas “Tom” A. Kuebelbeck, 68, of Elburn, passed away at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, on Wednesday, April 22, 2009. He was born Dec. 18, 1940, in St. Paul, Minn., the son of Alfred and Dorothy (Lachowitzer) Kuebelbeck.

Tom grew up in St. Paul and White Bear Lake and attended local schools. Shortly after his graduation in 1959, Thomas enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He faithfully served his country until his honorable discharge on Dec. 12, 1962. He returned to civilian life in Chicago, where he met the love of his life in February 1965, and following a whirlwind courtship, married Raulene Keen in November of that same year. They began their new life together in Lombard for a time before settling in Elburn in 1972.

Thomas worked for Union Pacific for a time before taking the knowledge and experience he gained in the Marines to become an air traffic control supervisor at Chicago Center in Aurora. He devoted 35 years before his retirement in 1994. Tom came back to the airline industry in 1996, when he worked as an air traffic manager for United Airlines.

Tom was a family man through and through. They were the first on his mind and in his heart in the morning, and they were first when he laid down his head when the day was through. He loved doing anything and everything with his family, including annual vacations on winter break.

Tom would drive the family up to Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula, Mich., to snowmobile across the wintry landscapes. Summer days found Tom and his friends on the golf course, and the evenings brought late-night dips in the pool, where Tom could relax. When autumn came, he could be found with his friends and his dogs hunting pheasant in South Dakota, and when Sunday rolled around, you couldn’t find a bigger Minnesota Viking fan than Tom. His memory will forever burn bright in the hearts of those who knew him, but none brighter than those of his family.

A lifetime member, past president and recipient of the Melvin Jones Award, Tom was the quintessential Elburn Lions Club member. There was never a job that Tom couldn’t do, but if you had to ask, nothing made him happier than tending the grill. He dedicated thousands of hours to his club and community and never missed an opportunity to help anyone, anywhere.

He now leaves his loving wife, Raulene; three children, Robbyn (Gene) Streid and their children, Lauryn and Camryn, of Elburn; Todd (Carrie) Kuebelbeck and their children, Todd Jr., Blake, and Alexis, of Naperville, and Tamarah and (Tim) Milroy and their children, Timothy and Matthew, of Batavia; his mother, Dorothy (Leo) Kurkowski; his mother-in-law, Helene Keen; sister-in-law, Diane Link; two nephews, Bryan and Jason Link; and a family of friends.

He now joins his father, Alfred, and his father-in-law, Raymond Keen, who preceded him in death.

Visitation was held at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, from 3 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 26. A memorial Mass was celebrated at St. Gall Catholic Church, Elburn, on Monday, April 27, at 11 p.m. Private cremation interment will occur at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the Thomas Kuebelbeck 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.

Dee Barney

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Dee Barney, 49, of Sugar Grove, passed away Thursday, April 9, 2009, at Hillside Rehabilitation Center in Yorkville, Ill., after a long and courageous battle with multiple sclerosis.

She was born Feb. 10, 1960, in Aurora, to Robert W. and Jessie M. (Lubbs) Bennett. She was united in marriage to Thomas W. Barney on Aug. 13, 1983, in Aurora.

She graduated from East Aurora High School in 1978. Dee was active in Thespians, Speech Club and Student Council. She ran track and was voted All-Conference in volleyball. Dee attended Wheaton College, where she played volleyball on the varsity team as a freshman and graduated in 1982. She was head volleyball coach at Wheaton College in 1985. Dee was later inducted into the Hall of Honor at Wheaton College for volleyball on Sept. 27, 2003.

Dee worked many years as office manager at her husband’s chiropractic clinic in Plano. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. She battled hard for many years and refused to let the illness slow her down. Dee took great pleasure in being involved in her daughters’ many sports activities. She was definitely being the ultimate “Soccer Mom” and was referred to as “Mom’s Taxi” until her health failed. She then had to be content to hear about Jessica’s own volleyball accomplishments, envisioning the play as she watched on tapes.

The light came into her eyes at the sight of her granddaughter, Elizabeth. She will be fondly remembered for the smile that came to her face when she saw her little baby granddaughter.

Dee leaves to cherish her memory, her husband, Tom Barney; twin daughters, Pvt. First Class Jessica E. Barney (special friend Ryan Beery) and Jenna M. Barney; 16-month-old granddaughter, Elizabeth; mother, Jessie M. Bennett of Aurora; brother, Dennis (Diane) Bennett of Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.; sister, Doreen (Jeff) Johnson of Aurora; sister-in-law, Linda Phillips of Portsmouth, Ohio; close family friend, Robin Bennett of Naperville; nieces and nephews, Daniel Bennett of Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., Paul, Devin and Shelby Johnson of Aurora and Kiana and Quinn Bennett of Naperville.

She was preceded in death by her father, Robert W. Bennett, and her father and mother-in-law, Mary and William Barney of Columbus, Ohio.

Visitation was held on Monday, April 13, from 10 a.m. until time of service, noon at The Healy Chapel, 370 Division Drive, Sugar Grove, with Pastor Stan Motley of Plano Christian Church officiating. Burial took place at Lincoln Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Illinois Chapter, 525 W. Monroe St., Ste. 900, Chicago, IL 60661.

For more information, please call (630) 466-1330 or visit www.healychapel.com to sign the online guestbook.

Donald L. Adkins

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Donald L. Adkins, 85, passed away peacefully in his home on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, cared for by his loving family during his final weeks.

Don was born Aug. 6, 1923, in Elgin, the only child of Ruth Hollingsworth and Donald Adkins. He was raised by his lovely and loving grandmother, Tena Hollingsworth. Don was preceded in death by his parents and his grandmother; his son, Gerard Joseph, in 1954, and by his stepmother of 64 years, Loretta Adkins, in 2001.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Barbara; his children, Catherine (Rick) Ruehe of Virginia Beach, Va., Charles Donald (Marianne Linn) of San Francisco, Calif., William Francis (Mary Ellen) of Geneva; and his grandchildren, Emily (Andrew) Ruehe Puckett and Eric Ruehe.

During WWII, Don served as a meteorologist and studied at the University of Iowa, Vanderbilt University and the University of Chicago. Wherever he was stationed, he was called upon each week to play his saxophone and clarinet wherever music was needed, as he had done up and down the Fox Valley during his high school years.

When he was discharged after the war ended, he attended Illinois State University, where he continued with his music as a member of the Blackfriars. He graduated from ISU in June 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and did graduate work at the University of Chicago and Northern Illinois University, where he earned advanced degrees in administration and in guidance. Don also served in several leadership roles in the Phi Delta Kappa educational fraternity.

Don spent his career in education at Mooseheart, starting as a fifth-grade teacher in 1951 and retiring as the director of education 40 years later. He was respected and loved by his colleagues and students. He was a kindhearted and generous man who invested himself in people and their education. He was a counselor, mentor and friend. During his lifetime, he guided and counseled many, many people, both children and adults, in their educational and life choices. He had an immeasurable impact upon all whom he met.

He was a kind and compassionate man. He could quell anger with a few words. He would skillfully redirect misunderstandings toward a quiet path of reflection, leading to peaceful resolution of the problem. He was always able to suggest a new thought, adding an element of peaceful contemplation to any tumbling cauldron of unrest.

One of Don’s most memorable qualities was his humor. He loved to be around people. No matter when or where you met him, he always had a smile and a genuine interest in you. He brought people together. He enjoyed conversation, often displaying his quick wit, good humor and memorable laugh. He made others happy and always left a lasting impression, and he certainly left one on all of us. We will miss him dearly.

Visitation was held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 12, at Healy Chapel, 370 W. Division Drive, Sugar Grove. A funeral mass was held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, April 13, 2009, at St. Rita of Cascia Catholic Church, 750 W. Old Indian Trail, Aurora. Gifts may be sent to Mooseheart Alumni or to Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Chicago. Interment will take place at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery.

For more information please call (630) 466-1330 or visit our website to leave a condolence at www.healychapel.com.

Loretta A. Schramer

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Loretta A. Schramer, 87, of Virgil, passed away at her home, surrounded by the love of her family, on Sunday, April 5, 2009. Though her body battled and lost, Loretta claims the victory of her Savior and walks among the angels in Heaven.

She was born on the family farm, January 17, 1922, the daughter of John and Margaret (Loerzel) Schmitt in Virgil, Ill.

Loretta was no stranger when it came to hard work while growing up on the farm. She cooked and cleaned for her family, as well as many others, all while attending S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic School.

Loretta caught the eye of the “boy next door,” Matt Schramer, who literally lived on the farm next door. Before long they shared a love that blossomed into marriage on Oct. 7, 1940, at S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Virgil.

Shortly after they exchanged vows, Loretta and Matt moved to the Klingbeil Farm on Lees Road, where Matt worked as manager. In 1958, the family moved to Virgil on Meredith Road. On Dec. 19, 2001, Matt passed away. Loretta continued to live in the family home filling it with family and memories that will be cherished by all.

Loretta was a faithful member the church as well as the Altar and Rosary Society at S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Virgil. She also counted thousands of votes working as an election judge for over 25 years.

In her younger years, Loretta could be found playing the guitar at local hometown talent shows and barn dances. She even heard herself on the radio. Family was paramount to Loretta, and homemade sticky buns were the physical manifestation of that love; everyone had their own pan during the holidays. Birthday cards always contained an “I love you” as well as the prerequisite $5, and each birthday and anniversary were laid out in what eventually became a very crowded calendar.

Loretta and Matt played many rounds of rummy every night, even though he almost always lost. When company came, the game changed to Pitch and her dominance continued. When asked what made her family so special, Loretta didn’t hesitate with a litany of reasons and numerous blessings. Many times when there is a large family, there can be friction between siblings and their own families, but not the Schramers. Almost all of them lived within 25 miles of each other, and they all came running when one of them was in need. This is the legacy of love and loyalty that Loretta instilled into her children and one that they have passed on to their children and grandchildren.

She now leaves her seven children, Sister Mary Louise Schramer O.S.F. of Virgil, Dorothy (Pat) Burnell of Marseilles, Ill., Jane (Dutch) Phillips of Kaneville, Sue (Cork) Phillips of Sycamore, Lorraine (Guy) Nicoll of Allen, Texas, Jim (Pam) Schramer of Argyle, Wis., and Mike (Teri) Schramer of Elgin; 18 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; five siblings, Frances Colsten of Aurora, Ralph Schmitt of Loyal, Wis., Jean (George) Ramer of DeKalb, John (Diane) Schmitt of Hampshire, Ill., and Robert (Janice) Schmitt of Hampshire; four sisters-in-law, Clara Schmitt of Maple Park, Catherine Schramer of Virgil, Angela Lexa of Sycamore, Marion Umbdenstock of Bartlet, Ill.; two brothers-in-law, Vern Warber of Sycamore, Deacon Joseph Schramer of Apple Valley, Minn., and a community of friends and neighbors who will miss her greatly.

She now joins her husband, Matt; her parents and six siblings, Katherine McDonald, Louis Schmitt, Esther Warber, Nicholas Schmitt, Margaret Bewsey, and Elizabeth Sauber, who preceded her in death.

Visitation was at S.S. Peter and Paul Parish Center on Meredith Road, Tuesday, April 7. A wake service concluded visitation. A mass to celebrate her life was held Wednesday, April 8; following a time of visitation. Fr. Perfecto Vasquez, pastor of the church, officiated, and interment followed at S.S. Peter and Paul Cemetery. A video recording of the service will be available at www.conleycare.com the following day in an “on-demand” format.

A memorial has been established in her name to benefit American Diabetes Association. Checks may be made to the “Loretta Schramer 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.

Irene Dodd Sachen

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Irene Dodd Sachen, 91, of Jefferson City, Tenn., formerly of Kaneville, passed away at her daughter’s home in Jefferson City, Tenn., on Monday, March 23, 2009.

She was born Feb. 22, 1918, the daughter of Fredrick and Chestie (Beck) Schleifer in Kaneville.

Irene grew up in Kaneville and attended local schools while her parents owned and operated the Schleifer Grocery Store in town.

In October, 1937, she was united in marriage to Lewis Dodd, and they made their home in Elburn.

Irene’s life changed drastically on May 29, 1962, when her husband died suddenly.

Irene lived in Elburn for 32 years and worked for Furnas Electric for over 25 years before she retired in 1976.

She was lucky in love for a second time when she was united in marriage to Theodore Sachen on Oct. 29, 1976, in Las Vegas, Nev. They made their home in New Port Richie, Fla., where she found that many elderly people need some help and she was the one to do it. It gave Irene great satisfaction to be able to help others pay their bills, do their banking, housework and grocery shopping. While at home and much to her friends’ delight, Irene baked goodies to share whenever she would visit them.

Following the death of their son-in-law, Ervin Rada, in 2003, Irene and Ted moved with their daughter Marlene to Jefferson City, Tenn., where they made their home near Marlene’s daughter and son-in-law, Faith and Mark Henrikson. One year later, Ted’s health began to decline and Irene had to say goodbye to Ted for the last time on July 22, 2006.

In 2004, Irene and Marlene moved to Jefferson City, Tenn., where they have since made their home.

Irene is a member of the Community Congregational Church of Elburn.

Irene’s number-one love was her grandchildren. In second place was cooking. From baking to canning, cooking delicious meals and home grown, fresh-squeezed orange juice, Irene said “I love you” in dozens of delicious ways.

She is survived by her family, Marlene Rada of Jefferson City, Tenn., and Lonna (Jerry) Schmidt of Elburn; seven grandchildren, Faith (Mark) Henrikson of Jefferson City, Tenn., Gene Fink of Park Forest, Ill., Jim (Beth) Schmidt of Cottage Grove, Tenn., Kevin Schmidt of Elburn, Kelly (Matt) Durbala, also of Elburn, Jim Rada of Cottage Grove, Tenn., Shelly (Ken) Coupe of Naperville; nine great-grandchildren, two nieces, and three nephews.

She now joins her parents; two husbands, Lewis Dodd and Ted Sachen; one son-in-law, Ervin Rada; one brother, Ralph Schleifer; one brother-in-law, Harry Meltzer; and one sister, Thelma Peiffer, who preceded her in death.

Visitation was held the morning of March 30, with a funeral service to celebrate her life following. Interment followed at Blackberry Township Cemetery, Elburn. The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Dire, pastor of the Community Congregational Church of Elburn, officiated.

A memorial has been established in her name. Checks may be made to the “Irene Dodd Sachen 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.

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