LINDA SUE ANDERS

April 4, 1959 – Nov. 28, 2020

In loving memory. She never took no for an answer and she pushed ahead when others paused. But a kinder, gentler woman you will never meet.

Submitted by her granddaughter, Danielle Draper

FRANK "BUZZ" U. BAPTIST

Feb. 24, 1944 – Nov. 24, 2020

Frank Baptist left this earth on his own terms and was well aware that the corona virus was not his friend. It's ironic that his death was due to the virus since he was an advocate for wearing masks in public and often told store clerks in Jacksonville-area businesses to put on their masks.

Frank could often be found outdoors helping with area sports fields, restoring engines to show at the Prairieland Steam Show and mowing yards. He was known to just hop in the car for a quick road trip. When he had to stay in, he played cards with his friends or watched one of his favorite John Wayne westerns on TV. His other favorite activity was bowling in bowling leagues and he was inducted into the Jacksonville/Winchester United States Bowling Congress Bowling Association Hall of Fame.

Frank was best known for his portrayal of Santa Claus during Christmas, and his first time portraying Santa was in his kindergarten play. He ended up playing Santa for more than 50 years.

He was a huge fan of watching any sport his grandchildren played and was also known to just start following area teams even if he did not know anyone on the team.

Frank never met a stranger, had the biggest smile, loved to tell stories, liked to entertain and make others laugh and would give someone in need anything he had.

His life was full of friends and family, including his wife of 56 years, Barbara, his children, Brian Baptist (Jenny) and Brenda Baptist Protz, and his grandchildren, Brandy Protz, Makenna Baptist, Daxton Baptist and the late Jenna Protz.

COVID may have ended his life, but his spirit and memory will live on. His family and friends can't wait to finally celebrate his life in 2021.

Submitted by his daughter, Brenda Protz

DR. JOHN ERIC BLEYER

Jan. 31, 1959 – April 25, 2020

"The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease."

Being a doctor wasn't just Eric's job – a doctor was also who he was as a person. His care touched generations of families, families who trusted him and loved him as one their own. He was a mentor to many of us in the medical community and his legacy continues to influence many lives. His belief in kindness and goodwill continues to be carried forward within the community at large.

More importantly Eric was a Christian, a husband, a father and a friend. He will be greatly missed. Eric was always present in the moment and there for those of us who needed support, whether it was a kind word, advice or a witty perspective.

Thank you, Dr. Bleyer, for your dedication. You lived a life that will continue to touch many generations.

Submitted by his colleague, Dr. Nicole Florence

DR. JOHN ERIC BLEYER

Jan. 31, 1959 – April 25, 2020

"The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease."

Being a doctor wasn't just Eric's job – a doctor was also who he was as a person. His care touched generations of families, families who trusted him and loved him as one their own. He was a mentor to many of us in the medical community and his legacy continues to influence many lives. His belief in kindness and goodwill continues to be carried forward within the community at large.

More importantly Eric was a Christian, a husband, a father and a friend. He will be greatly missed. Eric was always present in the moment and there for those of us who needed support, whether it was a kind word, advice or a witty perspective.

Thank you, Dr. Bleyer, for your dedication. You lived a life that will continue to touch many generations.

Submitted by his colleague, Dr. Nicole Florence

BRYCE BROOKS

Sept. 2, 1981 – Mar. 20, 2020

Bryce Brooks passed away on the first day of COVID restrictions.

He was born in Champaign, but was raised in St. Louis and honored by it. He eventually became established in Springfield because he valued the simplicity of this city.

He lived and breathed for his wife of 18 years and his children. He enjoyed family vacations the greatest. He hardly got on any rides, but the joy on his children's faces was adequate for him. His whole motivation in life was family, faith and fitness. When he wasn't taking his children on snack runs he was in the gym. He also loved his job as a personal driver where he met many amazing people along the way.

His connection with God was his main focus. He read the Bible, listened to pastors, studied every day and always gave God the glory. He also made sure to provide for the homeless, whether it was giving money or taking food to the shelter.

We love you, Bryce. There is not a day that goes by when we don't miss you considerably.

Submitted by this wife, Tahira Brooks

RAYMOND S. CACHARES

Jan. 1, 1954 – May 14, 2020

Let me introduce you to a man who made Springfield exceptional, your neighbor Ray Cachares.

Ray came to Springfield early in his career to take a job in the City of Springfield budget office. While here he was instrumental in starting the United Cerebral Palsy service office. He came up with the ideas for the Blue Chip Gala, Casino Night and the Pepsi-Cola Christmas Tree. He went on to serve on the UCP National Board of Directors and in 1998 was given the President's Award for his distinguished service. He was the Greek who started the St. Patrick's Day Parade and one of the original organizers of LincolnFest.

He moved to Chicago and was appointed commissioner of the Bureau of Streets and Sanitation and then oversaw programming, staffing and operations for Navy Pier. Ray moved back to Springfield and his last job was director of business services for the Secretary of State.

Ray was the epitome of a raconteur and even when you heard his stories repeatedly, you always found yourself wanting to hear them again.

I was privileged to have spent the last 23 years with him traveling, entertaining and listening to all those stories. We were a great team and I will miss him – forever miss him.

Ray was a big man with a big heart and a big personality, and he made a big impact on so many people. We were all the better for knowing him. Rest in peace.

Submitted by his husband, Richard Martineau

THOMAS CANAVAN JR.

March 29, 1926 – Jan. 11, 2020

My uncle, Thomas Canavan Jr., passed away at the age of 93. He was the last surviving member of his Scottish family that came to America. His father arrived in Springfield in 1922 and his mother and brothers, Bill and John, arrived in 1923. Tom was their first child to be born in America.

He was the most selfless man I knew. He gave his best to his wife, Helen, and her three children. He was a quiet and kind gentleman who liked good beer and, as I understand, he was a happy and funny beer drinker.

He joined the U.S. Navy during WWII at age 18 and served in the Pacific Theater on a supply ship, the San Saba, PA 232. He served about two years and then went to work for the U.S. Postal Service for 36 years as a clerk.

When I was young, he would stop by our home after work on occasion to visit and give me and my siblings a big hug. We were always happy to see him as we liked his big bear hugs of love. His parents died young at ages 52 and 65, so we were his family reminder of the Canavan clan's continuation of his family's Scottish heritage.

I miss my Uncle Tom and I am so very thankful that I was blessed to receive another wonderful uncle in my life. He was truly a gift to us all.

Another good man from the Greatest Generation now gone, but never forgotten. May he rest in peace with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Submitted by his niece, Diane Canavan

NANCY LANPHIER CHAPIN

April 19, 1938 - Aug. 7, 2020

Our friend, colleague and former Abraham Lincoln Association board member, Nancy Lanphier Chapin, died at her rural home near Springfield.

Nancy was a tireless advocate and leader for telling the story of Abraham Lincoln and her beloved Sangamon County. For many years, Nancy and her husband, Chick, could be seen at every historical event held in Springfield. Her final contribution to history was a gift to the University of Illinois Springfield that provided for the creation of the Sangamon Experience.

She loved her family, swimming every morning, riding her horses and tending to her vegetable garden. She did not hold back in telling what she thought, but her frankness was welcome in preventing many a bad decision.

Hers was a life well lived.

Submitted by Richard E. Hart, on behalf of For the People, a newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association

ROBERT "BOB" E. CHURCH

Mar. 30, 1944 – Aug. 18, 2020

Bob died at 76 years of age. He was from Springfield and loved life and people, and most importantly, children.

One of Bob's favorite times of the year was Christmas because he played Santa Claus. He loved this time of year, but he most especially loved what this time of year represented. He gave kids joy and hope and longed to see smiles on their faces, as he felt privileged to be a piece of the Christmas season magic in a Santa suit.

Bob was a small man with a big heart, and he showed that to his community through his hard work and dedication. He organized community events through the Rochester Lions Club and Springfield Elks Club. Bob wrote yearly grants to host events for foster kids and the less privileged – always trying to give joy and smiles to children in any way he could.

Bob was a real gem! If you were fortunate to know him, you also know he loved to laugh and tell stories, and he had an infectious smile. I remember the laughs and his smile and jolly spirit most of all.

Bob loved being around people and we are certain he is telling stories and making them laugh and smile up in heaven. Bob will be greatly missed by family and friends, but he is truly remembered most especially at this time of year as our favorite Santa.

Submitted by his adopted and loving daughter and neighbor, Suzanne Moss

DR. ELVIN GLENN ZOOK

March 21, 1937 – Nov. 24, 2020

Elvin Glenn Zook, M.D. was born on a farm in rural Indiana. He was an amazing guy that lived an amazing life.

He accepted an invitation from Sharon Neher to a Sadie Hawkins dance at Manchester College. They were later married and would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this month.

El was interested in becoming a physician, although his college chemistry professor tried to dissuade him, telling him the goal was out of his reach. This lit a fire under him that burned for the next 50 years. He graduated from medical school in 1963, and by 1972 he was board-certified in general surgery, thoracic and cardiac surgery and plastic surgery.

In 1973, he established the division of plastic surgery at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, serving as professor and division chief for 33 years. In those years, his team trained 60 plastic surgery residents (Zookies), many fellows in hand and microsurgery, and hundreds of grateful medical students. He served as a member of 33 medical organizations on local, state and national levels and taught as a visiting professor at 61 different institutions. The college chemistry professor would have been proud.

El's students would all agree that he never stopped learning and he never stopped teaching. He demanded excellence from his students, but provided them with all the motivation and encouragement they needed to achieve it.

Elvin passed this motivation on to his three daughters, Tara (Bennett), Leigh (Krueger) and Nicole (Sommer). They each pursued careers in the medical field with the same passion that he did.

He loved hunting, conservation, books, travel, Bobby Knight-era IU hoops and his grandchildren.

Elvin Zook was an amazing guy!

Submitted by his family

JERRY (KRAJEC) FARLER

Aug. 8, 1966 – Jan. 5, 2020

While he hadn't lived in Springfield or Illinois for many years, Jerry Farler left quite an impression here.

He graduated from New Berlin High School in 1984, and went on to graduate from college with a communications degree. Anyone who knew Jerry would say he probably didn't need a degree to communicate effectively, but his love of radio and music lead him down that path. He worked at local stations, namely WYMG and WFMB, and was on air with several different names – Tony P, The Captain, Jerry Farler and Jerry Krajec. He was also known as the caretaker for LINC and was the WFMB bear in local parades.

Jerry was an avid Grateful Dead fan, and of all music in general, and his love and knowledge of music showed every time he was on the air. He was also a collector and enthusiast of VW buses, airplanes and trains, a dog lover, member of the 12th man Seattle Seahawks club, a Dodgers fan and a travel enthusiast.

After his time in radio, he worked at the Springfield airport for TWA and Ozark Airlines, later transferring to St. Louis.

Jerry survived hemophilia and all it threw at him. He was a great influence and inspiration to others who have the disease and eventually became an invaluable representative for hemophiliacs in his later years in his home state of Nevada and throughout the southwestern U.S.

He is survived by his mother and father, a sister and a brother, two nieces, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and dear friends. His beloved Great Dane, King George, and Neapolitan Mastiff, Mabel, also survive him.

He is deeply missed by family and friends alike throughout this area and the world. Rock and roll heaven has to be a better place with you in it, brother.

Submitted by his sister, Loretta Mabie

JERRY GARVIN

Dec. 18, 1943 – Jan. 11, 2020

My father, Jerry, gave his heart and soul to his family, God and country. He would give the shirt off his back, if you asked him.

He volunteered many hours to the community through the Men's Club at St. Patrick's Church. Back when the Ethnic Festival was thriving, you would see him driving his truck to and from the church basement to the event all day with truckloads of food and the boys to help load and unload. He regularly volunteered to cook for any and all fundraisers. Jerry never made small batches of anything – chili, vegetable soup and fried fish were a few of his favorites.

Jerry was the father of three girls and he taught them about hunting, fishing and sports, but still he wanted that bonding, son time. He volunteered as a seventh and eighth grade boys' basketball coach at St. Patrick's grade school during the 1970s and 80s. Many of those boys he coached were still part of his life up until the day he died. Two of them were his pallbearers – that is a tribute to the man he was.

As the family grew and grandchildren came, Jerry would attend all events in which the children were involved. He even attended sporting events long after the grandchildren graduated school to support other students and coaches.

He also got into politics as a precinct committeeman. Jerry volunteered to assist with campaigns, cooked for fundraisers and walked the precinct to spread the word about candidates.

The family always joked about how many people Jerry knew, even when visiting San Antonio when one of the grandsons graduated basic training, Jerry saw someone he knew!

My father was a great man. Although his visitation was to end at 7 p.m., we were still greeting guests at 9 p.m. That shows how many lives he touched.

Submitted by his daughter, Cheryl Garvin

RENE HAZEL GUM

Aug. 17, 1915 – June 18, 2020 My grandmother, who I

affectionately nicknamed Spunky 30 years ago, died this summer just two months shy of her 105th birthday. Grandpa died in 1978, and she was also preceded by her siblings, daughter and one grandson.

Spunky grew up on a farm near Tallula. She married Grandpa in 1940, and they raised two children and farmed.

Against Grandpa's wishes, Spunky began working at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site in the early 1970s on the riverboat Talisman. She loved meeting people from all over the world and worked there for over 30 years.

Spunky made the best pies and was an excellent cook, knitter and seamstress. She rarely missed a ballgame or band concert or school musical, and with five grandkids just a walk-between-the-barns away, there were many events.

After Spunky had to move away from her beloved farm, I was surprised when, during one of my first visits to her new living facility, she told me she was living like a queen. Why, somebody else was doing all her laundry, cooking and cleaning. And, her window faced west across farmland toward the tree-lined river, and she loved to see the crops go in and the crops come out, the wildlife and the beautiful sunsets.

She always had a reason to be happy and that continued even when she had to transition to the nursing home. She had an infectious laugh and the most beautiful smile. She was kind and unassuming and generous and radiated love for others and had a genuine love of life.

Like her son and daughter-in-law, six other grandchildren and their spouses, 13 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren, I will always miss her. I'm so grateful for her love, her lessons, her wisdom and for showing me how to live a long, full and happy life.

Submitted by her granddaughter, Angela Sue Gum-Miller

KAREN LOUISE HAMRICK

March 5, 1944 – Dec. 16, 2019

Karen was loved by all those who knew her. She was one of the most giving and loving people God placed on this earth. She was known for giving gifts and cards to family, friends, acquaintances and strangers.

Born to Staff Sergeant Milton Hamrick and Bertha Hamrick, she lost her father to war when she was only five months old, but never let her circumstances affect how she faced the world. Having never married, Karen shared a home with her brother, David.

Karen was defined by her faith and her unending love of God. She was extremely active in her church, First Church of God, and rarely missed a Sunday. She taught Sunday school for kids and adults over the years, served on numerous boards, was a church elder and created and taught Children's Church for 47 years. Her love of children impacted lives for years and into eternity. She enjoyed singing – performing in cantatas as well as solos at church – with her beautiful voice. She shared her love with people from the congregation, her family, her friends, the waiters and waitresses at restaurants and anyone else who crossed her path.

Karen loved spending time with family and friends, often over dinner or lunch. She and her best friend, Donna Blankenship, worked together to throw the best baby and wedding showers.

She is truly missed by her brothers, Ernie and Dave, and her sister Bertha, as well as all those who were blessed to know her.

Submitted by her cousins, Tom, Betty, Becky and Angie Gum

JAIME KORNFELD

Jan. 11, 1960 – June 2, 2020

"Others think we have survived your leaving. But we haven't, because each day you are still gone."

Our beloved Jaime Francis received a call on June 2 that her work here was done. She was a beautiful person who we feel led a blessed existence, and for this we are grateful.

Jaime was the second of six children born to Ralph and Carol Kornfeld. Our parents taught us that family was the most important thing, thus we have always been very close.

After our parents passed, Jaime, along with her husband Byron, took over the role of matriarch/patriarch for our family gatherings. Although they had family of their own, they still managed to host holidays and summer fun at their home.

After losing Byron, the love of her life since high school, she decided to be joyful, living life to its fullest and loving with her whole being. During her time here, she traveled to wonderful places, enjoyed exercising, socializing, dancing, gardening, jewelry making and reading to her heart's content. Music, laughter and love were guaranteed whenever you were in her presence. What brought her the most joy, though, were her children and grandchildren. She cherished her time with them and always looked forward to their visits.

You never left her house hungry or lacking conversation. Her home, that she and Byron built, was her most cherished possession. It was her sanctuary and she diligently worked to take care of it for all to enjoy. She treated anyone she met as family and welcomed them into her home and life with open arms. Her smile lit up the room and her laugh was contagious.

We cannot say enough about her and how much she will be missed, but a little bit of her will always live on in each of us.

Submitted by her sisters, Jennifer Kornfeld and Jill Pillsbury

ANNA BELL MURPHY

April 5, 1923 – Sept. 20, 2020

Anna Bell Murphy was simply the best grandma to me and my sisters, and for that, I am thankful. She took her role very seriously. I can't remember a soccer game, band and choir concert or piano recital that she did not attend. She and our grandpa were major influences on our lives. She was our favorite babysitter, and she helped make sure we all developed into productive adults.

Grandma was a child of the Depression and married at the age of 20 to her life partner, Ernie Murphy, whom she had dated for five years. The marriage lasted over 70 years until Ernie's passing. They had two children, a son and a daughter, my mother. Her son passed away in 1976, which was devastating to my grandma. However, she would often tell us about him to the point that we feel like we knew him personally, even though he passed before we were born. Even though she suffered this loss, she was able to be the sweetest and kindest person to everyone.

During World War II, my grandma supported the war effort by working in a factory, and she also worked at Illinois Bell Telephone company once her children were in junior high school. She was a 1950s housewife outside those two jobs, which was when she became the world's best cook! She was the type of person who would look at you when you finished your third plate and say, "Finished already? You didn't eat too much!"

Anna Murphy was a Cubs fan and proud Democrat who was happy she lived long enough to vote for a woman and an African-American for president, something she didn't think would happen in her lifetime.

I think that both classy and sassy are the best ways to describe and remember her.

Submitted by her grandson, Mike Anderson

LINDA MARIE PECORARO

Aug. 20, 1950 – May 28, 2020

2020 has been a devastating year for so many and our family was no exception – we lost our matriarch. Losing her was so sad and grievous that we choose to focus on the wonderful things about her.

Our mom was so beautiful, funny, an excellent cook, had a contagious laugh, a heart of gold and was very smart, but also humble. She gave the warmest hugs and the best advice. Mom's strength was extraordinary. She battled COPD for many years, but rarely complained and she smiled through her pain.

Our mother was a rare find of selflessness, unconditional love and kindness. She left a lasting impression on many families in the Springfield area as an in-home daycare provider for many years, loving the children like her own. She was a devoted wife and effortlessly supported our father in every aspect of his career. When it came to her five kids, there was nothing she wouldn't do for us. Ma was always there to love and encourage us, she was our best friend, she lifted us up when we were down or worried and always took the time to listen. Ma made everything better, whatever it was, good or bad. Mom was also the most loving Nana. She cherished and spoiled each of her grandkids and they adored spending with time their sweet, silly, loving Nana.

Our mother passed at 8:08 p.m. on May 28, 2020 and at 8:08 p.m., throughout Illinois, beautiful double rainbows were spotted all over. That's how amazing our Mom is – she wanted to let us know she was OK and no longer in pain.

Our hearts are broken, but Mom continues to send us some unbelievable signs! Her beautiful legacy inspires us to keep living and make her proud. We were so blessed that God chose her to be our mom.

Lovingly submitted by her children Rosalie, Mary, Gina, Giacomo and Joseph, and husband Giacomo Sr.

BARBARA ELIZABETH RAWE

Aug. 19, 1918 – June 29, 2020

Barbara Rawe was born during the Spanish flu pandemic and died during the COVID-19 pandemic – she did not contract either illness.

Growing up on a farm during the Depression, she felt gratitude as she learned to "make do, make it over or do without." At 19 she married the boy next door, became a farmwife and eventually the mother of 13 children. Faith in God, hard work, completing a job done well and a good education were the values she instilled in her children. Teaching by example, Barbara was a dedicated church and community volunteer. Today, Barbara would likely be a teacher or nurse, while also a homemaker.

Her life saw amazing changes. In her childhood she had no plumbing, electricity, cars, refrigerators, telephones or televisions. Instead, she was familiar with using horses for farming, wood-burning stoves, one-room schools and home births. She marveled at modern conveniences – men on the moon and FaceTime with a grandson in Africa. Still, she preferred to just listen to her radio for entertainment.

Family, neighbors and hay crews said her meals (pies!) were the best. Others' birthdays were remembered with handwritten cards and letters. When her eyesight weakened, she dictated letters to her daughter, Alice, to mail. Hugs, smiles, prayers and encouragement were offered daily to others.

Known and loved as a sister, grandma, cousin, aunt, neighbor, friend and mentor, her proudest calling was the one we knew best – mother.

Submitted by her daughters, Carol Rawe Knisley-Bishop and Alice Rawe Lucchesi

ADRON SANDERS

May 24, 1941 – June 19, 2020

This world truly lost an amazing person this year. Adron Sanders was one-of-a-kind and the best father and grandfather anyone could ask for.

He was a veteran who had served in Vietnam and he had stories for days to tell. He was an avid ham radio operator and also enjoyed time spent with his grandkids.

I could go on for days about all the amazing things my dad did, but it would never do him justice as to what he was really about.

Miss him so very much!

Submitted by his daughter, Jenifer Sanders

DENNIS SHACKELFORD

Nov. 4, 1958 – July 21, 2020

He was the man who brought Judy's Hallmark to the community and operated it successfully for 30 years. He was an incredible businessman who became an elected official and left us at too young an age.

Dennis was born in Lafayette, Indiana, the son of George and Betty Jo Shackelford. He attended Rochester High School, Springfield College in Illinois and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

He opened his first Hallmark store in Charleston, Illinois, and was the youngest ever Hallmark franchisee at the time. However, Dennis's most important titles in life were husband to wife Judy for 36 years, Dad to Andrew, Amy, Lindsey and Emily, and Pappy and Champ to his three grandchildren.

Dennis was a true "Ace," as his brothers-in-law nicknamed him. He was quick-witted and always had a story to share or some much-needed advice. His family will always remember his performances of "Let's Stay Together."

He was generous and quietly provided for and championed the well-being of so many of those in his circle of family and friends.

After retiring from Hallmark, Dennis began working for Williamsville State Bank and Trust, and served on its board of directors. He remained invested in building up small businesses as an active member of the Taylorville, Decatur and Greater Springfield Chambers of Commerce. He was elected to the Lincoln Land Community College Board in 2013, rising to chairman during his six-year term. He was also a Rochester Township Board trustee.

Throughout his career, Dennis received numerous awards and developed countless friendships with coworkers and customers. He was a mentor to many and admired for staying true to his beliefs and principles.

Dennis' positive impact on this community and remarkable legacy is a true example of the saying, "It is not the years in your life, but the life in your years that count."

Submitted by his family

PAT STAFF

July 29, 1932 – June 10, 2020

Pat Staff loved children. She considered being a mother the most important thing she could ever do, having two children with the love of her life, Floyd. She also wanted to teach children, so she waited until her daughter and son were in elementary school, and then, one class at a time, completed her degree at Greenville College.

When the family moved to Springfield in 1963, she applied for a teaching position. For the next 25 years, she primarily taught fourth grade at Harvard Park Elementary School. Students have offered that she magically made each one of them feel special and valued. She was one of those teachers who never had to raise her voice to keep control in the classroom. They ended up not wanting to disappoint her, for they witnessed her standing for what was fair, right, loving and helpful for their learning and the development of their character. At the end of the day every Friday, her students would vie for a place in line to get their special hug from Mrs. Staff.

The love she offered to so many was deeply rooted in her faith. Many friends and family knew the power of her prayers firsthand. For 56 years she dedicated her time and service to Laurel United Methodist Church.

For the last nine years of her life, she lived with the repercussions of a severe stroke. Even as most of her words had been taken away, the same deep love flowed forth from her, the same twinkle sparkled in her eyes, the same smile graced each person she saw. All her life, her smile offered a safe harbor to those who experienced it.

God used you mightily as an ambassador for love, my mother, and I feel so honored to have been your daughter.

Submitted by her daughter, Coni Staff

ROMIE D. TURNER

Sept. 13, 1924 – Oct. 29, 2020

Romie D. Turner was born to the union of Elvin Turner and Rosetta Barnes.

He graduated from Lovejoy High School in 1942, and then attended Southern Illinois University. At the end of his freshman year, he received a draft notice and joined the U.S. Army. Romie served from May 1943–1946 during WWII. He earned several decorations and citations and his service afforded him the opportunity to see many parts of the world.

After his military service, he joined the United States Army Records Center as an E-7 quality control technician in 1946 and remained there until his retirement in 1986.

Romie married Bessie M. Welch and they had two daughters. Romie loved his family and looked forward to their Christmas Eve gathering each year. He enjoyed yard work, including planting trees and flowers, mowing or setting up for a barbeque. He enjoyed travels and comradery with Bessie's Lincoln High School class of '46. He was always excited to attend the Barnes family reunions and was blessed to have attended 25 of the 26 reunions. Romie was elated when he received an 89th birthday salutation from President Barack Obama.

Romie moved to Springfield in 2008 to be closer to his family, and began to experience health issues in 2014. Later his health declined and he required skilled memory care.

Romie leaves to laugh, love and carry on his legacy his beloved daughter, Patrice D. Brooks, sibling Lorna M. Cason, grandchildren Michelle (Vincent) Wright, Marcia (Antwan) Walker and Dana (Nathaniel) Gurnsey, great grandchildren Nia M. Walker, Ivan D. Gurnsey, Iyla L. Gurnsey and Reece V. Wright. Bessie and their daughter, Deborah, preceded him in death.

Romie always had a kind word, chuckle or wisdom to offer others. He is deeply loved and will be missed by his family and friends.

Submitted by his granddaughter, Marcia Walker

Robert "Bob" E. Church

March 30, 1944-Aug. 18, 2020

Bob had a penchant for helping his fellow man. When it came to volunteering for civic and charitable causes, he was first in line. If it called for selling popcorn from the Rochester Lions Club/Boo Crew concessions trailer or manning the ticket counter at the Haunted House, Bob always answered the call.

He was a loyal Lions Club member for almost 40 years. Each holiday season, he made hundreds of appearances as Santa Claus and brought untold joy to children of all ages. The Springfield Cares Soldier Mailing project at the Elks Club was another project to which he was totally devoted.

Due to his 1800's family connection to Rochester, Bob supported the founding of the Rochester Historical Preservation Society. He was a vital member of the Rochester Sesquicentennial Committee in 2019. Bob was a past member of the Rochester 3A Board of Education. In 1987, he was honored as Rochester's Citizen of the Year. His outreach extended to Springfield, as well, where he served as Deputy Mayor throughout the Ossie Langfelder administration.

Bob, as Executive Director of the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association, was significantly involved in securing the placement of a life-size statue of Abraham Lincoln as a surveyor at the New Salem Historic Site in 2003. He was also instrumental in bringing the National Museum of Surveying to Springfield in 2010. It housed a variety of exhibits relating to surveying, bringing attention to Lincoln's years as the Deputy Sangamon County Land Surveyor.

Bob never just sat on a committee; he was always willing to make a call or contact to get the project accomplished. This service to the local area and beyond rose out of his love for doing something positive for others.

Submitted by his friends, Carolyn Moore and Ruth Ann Theis

MAUREEN B. (Mahan) CURRY

July 11, 1961 – Aug. 6, 2020

Maureen, received the final star in her heavenly crown and gained her angel wings this year, having shed her temporary physical body afflicted by COVID-19. Maureen was born July 11, 1961 in Taylorville, the daughter of Wayne and Dolores (Turvey) Mahan. Maureen was only 59 years of age when we lost her and the life she lived was built on love and quality and she deserved more time here on earth. Before she passed, Maureen even posted comments about her concern for someone else suffering from the coronavirus. The day of her passing, she arranged for someone to take family members some lunch from Subway. These are just a few examples of her complete and total love for others.

Maureen lost the love of her life Gregory Curry in March of 2010 and was by his side through his own battle with cancer. Greg asked Maureen to find the joy in life again and she did just that. She honored Greg by celebrating random acts of kindness to total strangers – I was honored to help her one year as she went around the town treating people to special gifts – paying for someone's gas, buying someone's groceries at Walmart, donating to a police station or fire station and buying meals or passing out gift cards in restaurants. Maureen donated all of Greg's books to the local high school library. I remember going to a St. Patrick's Day parade with her in Springfield and she befriended a mother and two children during the parade – even giving the kids some dollars before we parted. Maureen was a wonderful and amazing person, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and friend.

Maureen always put everyone before herself. She was a caretaker to our mother and father before their passing. Maureen put her heart and soul and lots of love into everything she did. No matter where she was employed, she gave no less than 100 percent, and treated her co-workers as friends. Maureen worked at First Trust Bank in Taylorville. Since 1999, she had worked at Lincoln Land Community College, most recently in the role of facilities office coordinator. During those years, Maureen somehow found time to obtain her associate's degree. Outside of work, she truly was, as one family member told her, the "Energizer Bunny." She was always on the go, making caramels, fudge and heavenly German chocolate cakes, prepared with love for countless numbers of people. She never knew a stranger, even making friends with people from Australia when she visited Paris, France. Maureen loved everyone. Yet, she saved the best of her love for her family. She doted over her nieces and nephews and their children. She did everything she could to bring joy into their lives. Maureen's efforts to create fun-filled Mahan family reunions & providing everyone with the "Mahan T-shirt" for the occasion showed how important family was to her.

This time of year was extra special as Maureen made holiday celebrations family-focused. May everyone take time during the holidays to make someone else's day brighter. Maureen paid it forward every place she went – we should all pay it forward. May we all find the joy in life and continue to have hope. Maureen is gone, but will never be forgotten and will be forever in our hearts.

Submitted by her sister, Myra Moffitt

MARVIN LAIRD

Jan. 5, 1942 – May 18, 2020

Marvin was born in Warren County, Illinois to Howard and Lucille (Crocker) Laird. He and Marsha DeHeve were married in 1965 and together they raised a family of three children, and eventually welcomed eight grandchildren into the fold.

Marvin flat out loved people. He had a genuine interest in other people, wanted to learn about them and wanted to make them laugh. He was social and engaging.

He was also a hard worker and he could do most anything, much of it self-taught. He was tremendously generous with his time and talents.

He loved his country and liked to discuss politics. He enjoyed traveling and experiencing new things. However, his family and friends were what was most important to him and he valued the time spent with them.

Marvin had a long career as a certified golf course superintendent at Lincoln Green and later the Edgewood Country Club. He was a 50-year member of the National Golf Course Superintendents Association. He also served in the National Guard and was a member of the NRA.

He died surrounded by the people who loved him. We were so lucky to have him and we miss him terribly.

Submitted by his sister-in-law, Diana Tull

MIDGE LANGFELDER

Jan. 19, 1931 – Dec. 30, 2019

Many may remember Midge as the wife of the late Mayor Ossie Langfelder or the mother of thirteen children, including Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder and Sangamon County Recorder Josh Langfelder. However, to those who knew her best, she was dedicated to service, a passionate artist and the best Mom and Maw Maw around. She also had a special way with words her family called "Midge-isms."

She met the love of her life, Ossie, while working for Kerasotes Family Theatres. As a budding artist, she attended the College of St. Francis in Indiana and went to the Art Institute of Chicago for one year. She chose love over career and married Ossie on June 14, 1952 at St. Joseph's Church.

Forty years later, Midge returned to college and graduated in 1993 with an associate's degree in art from Lincoln Land Community College. She was also in the first graduating class from the University of Illinois Springfield in 1998, earning a bachelor's degree in visual arts. She was the first recipient of the UIS Lifelong Learner Award and went on to teach art at St. Agnes from 2001 until 2009. She taught everyone that you are never too old to follow your passion.

She lived a life of service as a dedicated member of Blessed Sacrament Parish, a board member of the YWCA, founding board member of the Mini O'Beirne Crisis Nursery, a member of the Prairie Art Alliance, a strong supporter of Ursuline Academy, the Griffin band and various organizations.

Her family remembers her love for traveling and making sure her children saw every site and visited every museum possible while visiting a city, sweeping the porch for hours, hosting Saturday chili nights, playing bridge, going to Broadway shows, listening to baseball games on the radio and humming.

Midge's paintings were truly works of heArt, and her life was her masterpiece.

Submitted by her family

PHILIP D. MCFADDEN

Dec. 18, 1928 – April 13, 2020

Phil, a Decatur, Illinois native and Millikin University graduate, had been involved in property management and commercial real estate in Springfield since the 1950s. He moved to Springfield in 1954 to open a satellite office of his family's Decatur business McFadden Stationary Store, a successful camera and stationary store.

While managing the family business, he decided to explore the real estate business and began to manage and lease several multi-family communities and residential properties in Springfield. With that success, he explored the commercial market. He not only managed property for the Knox-O'Brien family estate, but also the closely held commercial trust properties of the Hicox family estate and the Myers brother's family estate. With this success, Phil founded and became the sole owner of Philip D. McFadden & Associations in 1962, acquiring several commercial properties through the years to provide a full range of commercial real estate services to the central Illinois region. He sought to provide the finest in full service commercial real estate property management, leasing and brokerage services through his forty plus year tenure.

The Springfield downtown business district has always been an important and main focus of Phil. He weathered the economic turns through the years and always did what he could to retain and maintain his tenants. Many factors of the state and community have shortchanged our downtown and hurt the occupancy of our capital city.

He had been a big supporter of many downtown organizations and held various positions on their boards to help ensure the continuance of the success of downtown Springfield. On any given day, you could see Phil walking the streets, personally attending to his tenants and business associates – he believed in the personal approach.

He treated everyone the way he wanted to be treated. Phil supported the success of all businesses of the Springfield community.

Submitted by his wife, Ilda E. McFadden

THERESA L. McWHINNIE

Oct. 26, 1933 – Nov. 11, 2020

Theresa was one of five children born to Adolph DeHeve Sr. and Jane Couturiaux DeHeve. In 1952 she married Robert McWhinnie and together they raised two daughters, Dolly Gresham and Rhonda Fratzke, and a son, Robert McWhinnie Jr. Their family eventually grew to include eight grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren.

Theresa was inducted into the American Bowling Hall of Fame, was a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 437 and No. 1425, and she was an avid Cubs fan.

Graveside services were officiated by Deacon Denny Baker at Auburn Cemetery.

Submitted by her cousin, Diana Tull

PAT MATHEWS Sep. 30, 1941 - May 31, 2020

To Mom,

by Troy Mathews (youngest son)

Grandma Mary Urbanckas had a little lamb and my mom, Pat Mathews, was born on Sept. 30, 1941, during WWII. She was the granddaughter of coal miners from Lithuania and the daughter of a football player and printer, Pete Urbanckas. She married Tony Mathews on April 15, 1972. He guided and provided for all of us. Her younger sister, Donna Frost, was her best friend. You thought the best of everyone. I never heard you say an ill word. You always defended me. You always gave cash to people that had bad breaks and were out on the streets. You used to say, "It could happen to anyone. We should be thankful we have a roof over our heads." You sent money to every charity that ever sent you mail. Mom, remember when we picked up the owl that was injured in the road and took it in the car to the animal hospital?

Mom made the flowers grow. I can still see my mom watering flowers in the backyard, forever young. We danced at the high school mother- son dance. We sang at church, we sang at celebrations, we sang with family and Bear in the car. I can still see you inside the house decorating. Mom went through life decorating it. Whatever you touched you turned pretty. The world was a more beautiful place with mom in it.

We were like kids picking doggies out of a window. We were making our dreams come true. We were moving into our dream home on the 17th tee box of The Rail. It was perfect being together, just like they say Heaven is. Although I wonder how can it be Heaven when we are apart, when I am here and you are there?

Mom, when I started kindergarten, I wouldn't get out of the station wagon. At St. Al's you threw my bookbag to the teacher down the hallway and had to pry my hand from yours and run out the door, because I didn't want to leave you. Now, I am without my mother. Most nights I weep myself to sleep. Mom, I am sorry. This was not my intention. I love you more than life itself! I wish I could exchange my life for yours. You are my heart and my heart went with you. I never wanted to let go of your hand. Mom, I never wanted to let you go! We were tricked, vexed, hoodwinked. A veil was put over our eyes.

My blue-eyed angel, my walking-talking miracle, you have always been my sunshine. Even though I cannot feel your soft hand or gaze into your glistening blue eyes. Now, you are even more. Now you are everywhere. Your blood sugar will not drop and weaken you. You see and hear everything. You know my thoughts. You can feel my heart. You are the flowers, fireflies, bunnies, and ladybugs. Mom, I am still that kid in kindergarten at heart clamping onto you, holding your hand, refusing to let go. Mom, I will never let go! We cannot be separated because there is nothing stronger than the bond between a mother and her children. The bond is love and that can never be taken away.

"Heaven is for Real," a little boy named Colton went there and came back to tell about it. Before I wondered how there could be Heaven. Now I understand that Heaven is the one existence we can rely upon. Mom, I am sure that grandpa, grandma, dad, and Aunt Donna held your hand and brought you up to Heaven and Grandpa Pete marched you up to the Pearly Gates. John 14:2, even greater than the home we were moving into at The Rail. Ezekiel 34:12. My brother, Scott Mathews, has always been a hopeful source of reason. Scott said, "Life is short considering the prospect of eternity." Until then, now, what matters is, that we loved!

ROBERT VON COLLINS

Aug. 1, 1965 – Sept. 5, 2020

Robert von Collin's stature was tall and stately. "A walking encyclopedia," is what Springfield High School colleague Irena Sorrels called Rob. "He knew the answer to every question," she said. He also knew at least 6 languages.

Rob was born in Carbondale, but moved to Sparta, Illinois, when he was adopted at the age of five.

In addition to smarts, Rob had physical prowess. He was an all-state high school basketball player, played college basketball for Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois and professional basketball. He officiated high school sports.

About 12 years ago Rob decided to go to China to teach English.  Rob did not speak Chinese, but that didn't deter him. He learned it after he got there.  In China, Rob met his wife and they had a beautiful baby daughter, Arlinda.

After seven years in China, Rob settled in Springfield, where his mother and sister then lived. Rob worked as a language interpreter for the Springfield School District and the courts. He also served as mentor to many students. ESL Springfield High teacher Sorrels posted online that just before his death, they had messaged a zillion times per day about the start of remote learning.

Later in life Rob learned his biological father was Jewish.  He became very close to the Jewish faith.  Rob and his daughter regularly attended services and holiday celebrations at Temple Israel, where he and Arlinda were beloved by all.

After his divorce, Rob and his daughter were inseparable. "They had such a strong loving bond," retired Rabbi Barry Marks wrote.

Robert von Collins was a great athlete, scholar, humorist, linguist, musician and a great friend.  He was a great father and a helping son. He died at age 55 of a heart attack

Submitted by his pastor, Ron Waltrip, and Ald. Sam Cahnman

THEODORE (TED) F. ZELINSKI

Aug. 21, 1949 – Aug. 9, 2020

Have you ever met someone who embodies the best and loves life to its fullest? Who's not afraid to take chances because it opens up opportunities for growth and learning? Well, that person is Ted Zelinski.

Ted was extremely talented and always pursued excellence in everything he did, such as playing music, singing, cooking, writing, photography, teaching and participating in civil war reenactments.

He was a positive person who worked tirelessly trying to help others pursue and achieve their own dreams.

He showed perseverance and strength even when things became difficult. He would wake up daily and say, "The sun is shining, I'm alive and it's a good day." Then he'd smile and tell a corny joke.

Ted knew no strangers because, in his many experiences, he was able to relate to others on their level. As a child he was taught that excellence should always be your goal regardless of how big or small the task.

He loved people and they loved him. We will always remember his beautiful smile, the twinkle in his eyes and the corny jokes forever. Ted was my best friend and nothing was too much for him.

Submitted by his friend, Barbara Williams

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  • John Morgan

    @ VFW Post #755

    Fri., Jan. 29, 8 p.m. and Sat., Jan. 30, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.