Village Voices - We don't write papers, we build scrapbooks



September 15, 2021


James Weldon Werkheiser, 85

James Weldon Werkheiser of rural Lena passed away Saturday, September 4, 2021.

He was born in Freeport to Amos W. and LaVonne (Dossey) Werkheiser on October 28, 1935. Jim married Mary Lois Sauer March 26, 1959, at Wesley United Methodist Church in Stockton.

He was a member of Wesley United Methodist Church and Plum River Masonic Lodge. Jim attended Tiger Whip School and graduated from Stockton High School in 1953, then served in the United States Army. He was the fifth generation to live, own and operate the family dairy farm in rural Lena, retiring from farming in 1994 and later driving a dump truck part time during their summers at home. Jim and Mary were snowbirds to Lakeview, Arkansas, later moving there in 2002 where they lived until returning to Illinois in 2014. While in Arkansas, he volunteered part-time at the Ozark Regional Airport in Midway, working as an airplane mechanic. Jim also spent several years helping with Christmas lights and decorations in their local park for the drive thru display.

Learning the love of flying from his dad and uncle Burrill, on his 16th birthday, he soloed and passed his pilot’s test from which he flew for over 50 years, later obtaining a glider’s license in 1980. Through the decades he flew not only for his own pleasure but would take family and friends for rides to see the country side and perhaps ‘buzz’ a over the house to see his own farm. He also participated in many Annual Air Lifts at the Stockton airport. He once wrote in a letter to his brother stating “it was fun to just blow the dust out of my whiskers!”

In addition to flying, he and Mary enjoyed spending time with family and friends, playing cards or board games, traveling, taking drives in the country, watching dirt track and NASCAR races and cheering on the Packers. Jim liked to visit with people and rarely met a stranger.

Survivors include his children, Robert (Gail) Werkheiser of Lena and Jean (Jeffrey) Zieber of Seligman, Missouri; brother, Charles (Louise) Werkheiser of San Diego, California; grandchildren, Michael (Allison Palmer) Werkheiser, Morgan (Eric Jameson) Werkheiser, Casey (Tabitha) Coleman, Benjamin Coleman, Zachary (Kelsea) Zieber, Tyler Zieber, Sara Werkheiser, Sandra Werkheiser, David Werkheiser; and great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, he was proceeded in death by his wife, Mary; son, Gerald “Jerry”; daughter, Carol Ann; granddaughter, Mellissa Shumaker; and sister, Shirley.

The family wishes to thank Hospice, Lena Living Center and Grandview Estates Assisted Living in Elizabeth.

There was a graveside service held on Friday, September 10, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Kent Lutheran Cemetery. A memorial fund has been established.

Dianne Marie Lynch, 78

Dianne Marie (Smith) Lynch, age 78 of Lena, passed away peacefully on Sunday, September 5, 2021.

She was born May 8, 1943, in Vermilion, Alberta, Canada, to Robert and Nellie (Riley) Smith. She married Raymond Lynch on December 31, 1960, in Vermilion, Alberta, Canada. Dianne worked for many years as a CNA at Lena Living Center. She enjoyed crafting and making blankets for each of her grandchildren. She also loved spending time outdoors gardening in her flower beds. Dianne’s three dogs were her constant companions and she loved them dearly. She also enjoyed listening and collecting memorabilia of her favorite artist, Elvis Presley.

She is survived by her four children; Cindy (Dale) Hensley of Boiling Springs, South Carolina, Patricia (Brook) Woodard of Flippin, Arkansas, Raymond (Maria) Lynch of Lanark, Illinois, and Deborah (John) Dyson of Minot, North Dakota; many grandchildren and great grandchildren; special friend Tom Lynch; and her three dogs, Taz, Bugs, and Lily.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Raymond Lynch, and sister Ruby Fadden.

A private family service will be held at Cadiz (Saucerman) Cemetery, Browntown, WI.

Pastor Dawn Barr will be officiating the service. Cremation rites have been accorded.

A memorial has been established in her memory. Condolences may be sent to the family at


Chalres James Blair Jr, 66

Charles James Blair Jr., age 66 of Freeport, IL passed away September 4, 2021 at his home after a short battle with cancer.

Charles was born July 19, 1955 in Savanna, Illinois to James and Clara (Yeager) Blair. He graduated from Stockton High School in 1974.

Charles is survived by his wife, Debra Schultz of Freeport; sons, Thomas and Olga Ayala Schultz of Orangeville, Jason Tillery of Warren, Brian and Anndraia Johnson of Rockford; Stepdaughter, Misty and Shawn White of Newark, OH; Grandsons Jaxon Tillery, Thomas Engebretson, Eric Chudo, Luca White, and Brian Johnson; Granddaughter, Brianna Johnson; Brother, Ron (Deb) Blair of Warren; Sister, Linda (Loni) Klein of Savanna.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A private graveside service will be held. Cremation rites have been accorded. Condolences may be shared at

Pearl City

Verlyn H. Fischer, 91

Verlyn H. Fischer, 91, of Pearl City went to be with his Savior Monday, September 6, 2021, peacefully with his family at his side at St Mary’s Mayo Hospital in Rochester Minnesota.

He was born July 30, 1930, in Freeport, son of Harold & Mabel (Kuhlemeier) Fischer. Verlyn married Carol Gahm on June 14, 1953.

Verlyn was a lifelong farmer with his wife Carol as well as a crane operator for V&E Construction in Galena for 10 years. He then operated crane for Civil Constructors for 29 years and retired there in 1994.

In 1955 he served in the United States Army where he eventually was stationed in Germany.

His passion was collecting antique tractors which he traveled the United States and Canada in search for the ones he enjoyed most. His favorites were Oil Pull Rumley’s and his Townsend Tractor.

While he enjoyed his tractors they were not as important as family and his faith in Jesus Christ. He loved his family dearly and enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was a member of Zion Community Church of Pearl City.

He enjoyed traveling with his wife and visited all 50 states and Germany, Luxembourg, Holland, France, England, Mexico, China, Vietnam, S Korea, Japan, Panama Canal, Italy, Israel, Switzerland, Canada & Austria

He is survived by his wife of 68 years Carol. Daughter; Kathleen Lochowitz of Pearl City and her children, Shari (Dustin) Sickles and their daughter Emery, Melissa Coulibaly and her children Batan Jr. & Sanouhan and Laura Lochowitz. Daughter; Marsha (Dan Diaz) Manthei of Machesney Park and her children Anthony (Nicole) Manthei and their children Spencer, Madisyn & Natalie, Tarah (Kevin Dumas) Manthei and their children Keyton & Trinity. Son, Wayne (Melissa) Fischer of Freeport and their children Austin (Baylee Wolf) Fischer, Skyler (Alexa Sohner) Fischer, Christian Fischer, Jordan (Kayla) Potter and their Children Trace, Jenson and Deacon, Aaron (Mari) Potter and their children Wesson, Rydlee and Barrett, Hayden (Taylor) Potter and their children Grayden and Ledger. Son, Joe (Jodi) Fischer of Freeport and their children Shania (Eric) Schaney and their child Piper, Moriah Fischer, Aliya Fischer, Jeremiah Fischer and Megan Fischer.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold & Mabel Fischer; sister, Leona Schneider; mother & father-in-law LaVerne & Ruby Gahm; brother-in-law, Theron Gahm; and grandson Zachariah Fischer.

The visitation was held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, September 11 and the funeral was held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, September 12, both at Zion Community Church of Pearl City, 10100 Sabin Church Rd, Pearl City IL, officiated by Pastor and friend Chip Sohl. Burial followed at Zion Community Church of Pearl City. A memorial fund has been established. Condolences may be shared at


Madge Marie Dawson, 93

Madge Marie Dawson, 93 of Stockton passed peacefully on Sept. 6, 2021.

She was born in Rush Township on June 10, 1928 to Claude and Irene Townsend. She graduated from Stockton High School. She was swept off of her feet by the love of her life, Gordon Dawson. They married in August of 1946 on the family farm, where their son and his family still live today.

Gordon and Madge raised their family and enjoyed farming, riding horses and good times with their children and with many great neighborhood friends on the farm.

Madge also worked at Atwood's in Stockton, and Micro Switch in Warren, where she made many treasured friendships.

She was a member of the Wesley United Methodist Church and she was blessed with a wonderful church family. She loved to sing, and had a beautiful voice. She shared her love of music with many.

She loved crafting, crocheting, quilting and flower gardening. She had beautiful beds of tulips each spring. She created a beautiful home. She loved finding treasures at garage sales or auctions and would proudly tell you of the great deal she had found. She and Gordon loved to camp and were members of the Stagecoach Campers for many years.

Her greatest achievement in life was her family. She was our rock, our pillar. She taught us to love unconditionally, and she never gave up on us! She took us to church and gave us a foundation of faith. She took such great care of her husband Gordon when he needed her. She loved us so much and we loved her right back.

She is survived by her daughters: Cyndy (Duane) Hintz of Lena, Chris (Kevin) Christensen of Crystal Lake, Connie Sigafus (Dave Hartman) of Stockton, Peggy (Dean) Starr of Stockton, and her son Doug (Kelly) Dawson of Stockton. She was blessed with 15 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, and 6 great-great grandchildren I She was so proud of each and every one of them and had special relationships with many. Madge is also survived by 3 sisters, Wilma (Ted) Balbach, Reita Sheffey, and Pat Molitor.

We were all so lucky to have been loved by her and she will be greatly missed.

A celebration of her life will be held on Tuesday, September 14th at 1 pm at Hermann Funeral Home, with graveside service and fellowship to follow at the Townsend Cemetery in Stockton.


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