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Death of Richard (Russ/Rick) Allen Russell

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Richard (Russ/Rick) Allen Russell, age 76, died at home in Monticello, IL on Monday, April 17, 2023. He was born in Greenfield, MA on September 3, 1946, the 7th of 8 children born to Muriel and William Russell.

His father died the year he turned age 3 leaving his mother to raise 8 children alone. He moved to Indian Rocks Beach FL at age 14 with his mother and two siblings and graduated from Largo High School in 1964. He joined the Air Force (1964-1968) and served his country in Vietnam.

He met Angie Raynor of Gillespie in Tampa, FL while attending USF. He and Angie married in 1974, had son Colin in 1975 in FL and moved to Gillespie in 1976. Russ worked as a vocational evaluator/developmental specialist for Illinois Valley Rehabilitation Center and Angie went to nursing school. He researched, designed, drew plans for and built a 2600 sq ft super-insulated, passive solar home.

Hiring only excavation and framing, he did everything else himself with family and friends assistance over a 15-month period while working full-time. In a nod to his New England roots, the home style was of a modified salt-box design. Son Andrew was welcomed into this home in 1984. Russ obtained his MBA in 1988 and taught economics part-time evenings at area community colleges while working as a small business consultant for SIUE.

He was a founding member of Gillespie’s Partnership for Educational Excellence, helped start Gillespie’s first youth soccer league, and was a soccer coach. Russ supported the Special Olympics and was a lifetime advocate for the developmentally disabled. He was named director of UIUC’s Small Business Development Center and the family moved to Monticello IL in 1994.

An avid reader from a young age, he enjoyed sharing book suggestions and reading interests. He obtained a Masters’s in Library Science at UIUC and worked for a time as a reference librarian in Coral Springs, FL. Russ continued home improvement projects until his health declined with his last project (2020) redesigning the kitchen in their Monticello, IL home.

He enjoyed genealogy and a favorite trip was to New England and Nova Scotia CA to do family research. He loved sharing his family history with all who would listen and the grandchildren were generally agreeable albeit captive audiences. It worked – grandson Ben has enthusiastically taken on the Russell family historian role and will carry on the tradition!

As a New Englander, the Boston Red Sox were his favorite baseball team but he also supported the St. Louis Cardinals and enjoyed trips to Busch Stadium. It wasn’t hard for the family diehard Cards fans to accept his Red Sox allegiance…. after all they played in different leagues. That changed during the 2013 World Series when the Red Sox — well if you’re a baseball fan you know the end of that story!

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Russ kept up with local, national and international news until he couldn’t and always insisted he had to have a newspaper or more to read every day. He nearly didn’t go on a cruise in 2014 because he couldn’t have a daily newspaper during 7 days at sea. He was persuaded to go upon learning the cruise line offered a lending library….in reality only 1 bookcase of books, alas that was his first and last cruise.

As per his wishes, his body has been donated to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

He leaves behind to mourn his loss, wife, Angie; sons, Colin (Tammy) Cortland, IL, and Andrew (Danielle) Champaign; six grandchildren, Ben (18) David (16), and Abbie (12), of Cortland, and Bob (16), Madison (11) and Ainsley (2) of Champaign; parents-in-law, Leo and Eva Raynor; sister-in-law, Maleah Raynor; brothers, Dave (Terry) of Cumberland Falls, ME and Norman (Sharon) of Ashfield, MA; and sisters Ann (Dave) of Orlando, FL, and Muriel of Colraine, MA. Locally he leaves behind nephews, Christopher, Austin and Blake Raynor; and niece Lacey Raynor.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Jim, Bill, and Tom; and brother-in-law, Bill Raynor.

A memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Gillespie on Friday, April 21, 2023, at 2 pm with visitation at 12:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Gillespie Partnership for Educational Excellence CUSD #7 or the Gillespie Public Library.  Kravanya Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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Obituaries

Death of Nancy Ilene Weller

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Nancy Ilene Weller, 74, of Gillespie, died at St. John’s Hospital, Springfield, on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at 2:52 pm. She was born June 4, 1949, in Litchfield, to Charles Giller and Margaret Whitman Giller. She married Kenneth Raymond Weller, Sr., on August 17, 1968, in Litchfield. He preceded her in death on December 5, 2011.

She was a caregiver. Nancy loved horses, reading, and her grandchildren.

She is survived by her children, Chester (Katina) Weller of Gillespie, Luke Weller of Gillespie, Spring Weller (spouse, Phillip Benner) of Fowler, IN, 6 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild, 5 brothers, and sisters.

Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, spouse, 4 brothers, and sisters.

No public services are scheduled. Memorials are suggested to Shriners Hospitals for Children. Anyone wishing to send an online condolence may do so at www.kravanyafuneral.com. Kravanya Funeral Home, Gillespie, is in charge of the arrangements.

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Death of Beverly Kay Brown

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Beverly Kay Brown, 82, of Gillespie, died at Gillespie Health and Rehab Center, Gillespie, on Friday, March 8, 2024, at 8:45 am. She was born October 4, 1941, in Litchfield, to Mario Meldi and Opal Olston Meldi. She married Bob Brown on October 30, 1976.

She worked for the State of Illinois in title transferring and data processing. Beverly enjoyed reading and was an avid reader of People’s magazine.

She is survived by her spouse, Bob Brown of Gillespie, children, Joell (Sid) Flyte of Edwardsville, Jackie (Larry) Fear of The Villages, FL, Kathy Giesler of Mattoon, Kim (Joe) Brittin of Springfield, Jane (Greg) Hallum of Ishpeming, MI, Lori Brown of Temecula, CA, grandchildren, Breanna Leake, Dominique Flyte, Addie Flyte, Bradley Fear, David Fear, Brad Brittin, Melissa Casad, Amanda Kozak, Jaime Galloway, Jaimee Dobson, Jenny Knight, Emily Nault, Elyssa Gregurash, Erin Baldini, many great-grandchildren, brothers, Ron (Corky) Meldi of Nitro, WV, and sisters-in-law, June Swan and Loni Cloyd. Beverly was preceded in death by her parents, grandson, Jedd Hallum, and brother-in-law, Preston Brown.

Friends may call on Thursday, March 14, 2024, at Kravanya Funeral Home, Gillespie, from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. Funeral services are Thursday, March 14, 2024, at 1:00 pm at Kravanya Funeral Home, Gillespie. Burial will be at Benld Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to SS Simon and Jude Church. Anyone wishing to send an online condolence may do so at www.kravanyafuneral.com Kravanya Funeral Home, Gillespie, is in charge of the arrangements.

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Death of Darrell Leon Hoffstot

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Darrell Leon Hoffstot, 69, of Gillespie, died at St. Francis Hospital, Litchfield, on Saturday, March 2, 2024. He was born October 2, 1954, in Granite City, to Willard Lee Hoffstot and Hazel Mae Holloway Hoffstot.

He was retired after having been an assembler for Echlin. Darrell enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping, and water skiing.

He is survived by his sons, Zachary Hoffstot of Mt. Olive, and Zane Hoffstot of Gillespie, and sisters, Sandra Elledge of Litchfield, and Peggy (Joseph) Fischer. Darrell was preceded in death by his parents, and brother, Victor Hoffstot.

No public services will be held. Anyone wishing to send an online condolence may do so at www.kravanyafuneral.com. Kravanya Funeral Home, Gillespie, is in charge of the arrangements.

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