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Gene M. Wright, 84

Gene M. Wright, age 84, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. A longtime resident of Savanna, Illinois, Gene was known by many locally as a dedicated historian and dynamic junior high school history and social studies teacher.

Gene was born the second son of Albert and Marie (Purvis) Wright on a very hot morning on August 30, 1937 in New Bedford, Illinois. Gene spent most his childhood on his family’s farm in rural Walnut and in Tampico, Illinois where he graduated from Tampico High School in 1955.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois and teaching physical education in Milledgeville for one year, Gene earned his history teacher’s certification at Illinois State University where he met the love of his life Carol Sue Harden. The two were married on July 9, 1965 and together had three children: Cheryl, Dean, and Lisa.

Gene and Carol made their home in Savanna, Illinois where Gene was employed for 33 years as a junior high school history teacher and boys track, baseball, basketball, and wrestling coach. Mr. Wright, as he was called by his students, was as unique, knowledgeable, and entertaining history teacher who was known to dress up in historical period costumes and uniforms, shoot black powder rifles out his third floor classroom window, and take impromptu class field trips down to the banks of the Mississippi River upon hearing the steam whistle or calliope of the Delta Queen sternwheeler. Mr. Wright earned a reputation for making history come alive for his students. Upon his retirement in Savanna, Gene taught for an additional 19 years at Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.

Gene enjoyed historical reenacting, most notably Civil War reenacting with Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery out of Stillman Valley, Illinois. He was also a talented musician and banjo picker. He enjoyed playing folk music with his good friends Skip Schwerdtfeger and Bob Kuhns in their trio The Beach Street Occasionals.

In addition, Gene was a military instructor in the National Reserves during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War era. He was a member of K Company of the 337th Regiment where he attained the rank of staff sergeant.

Gene is survived by his wife Carol and their three children, Cheryl (Brett) Lawson of Thompson, Illinois, Dean (Carrie) Wright of Pearl City, Illinois, and Lisa (Michael) Miller of Genoa, Illinois; 10 grandchildren, Mackenzie (Tim Morgan) Miller of Lanark, Illinois, Ashlyn (Ryan) Williams of Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Trevor Miller of Freeport, Illinois, and Devon Lawson of Thompson, Illinois, Madison (Peyton) Brudi of Freeport, Illinois, and Bronte, Riley, and Sidney Wright all of Pearl City, Illinois and Harrison and Liam Miller of Genoa, Illinois; and great-grandchildren Owen and Hattie. Gene is also survived by a special cousin Gene Kruse of rural Walnut, Illinois and three sister-in-laws, Sue Wright of Mt. Morris, Illinois, Anne Polzin of

Sterling, Illinois and Janice Weber of Popular Grove, Illinois, as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and older brother Harold Wright of Mt. Morris, Illinois; three brother-in-laws, Roger Polzin of Sterling, Illinois, Dennis Weber of Popular Grove, Illinois, and Richard Harden of Sterling, Illinois; and one grandson, Shawn Miller of Mt. Carroll, Illinois.

A visitation for Gene was held on Saturday, July 9th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with a funeral service on Sunday, July 10th at 3 p.m. Both visitation and funeral were held at the Savanna Cultural Museum, located at 406 Main St., Savanna, Illinois. Burial was at Spring Lake Cemetery immediately following the funeral service, with a social gathering for friends and family afterwards at Manny’s Pizza in downtown Savanna.


Crystal M. Homewood, 59

Crystal M. Homewood, 59, of Freeport, formerly of Lena, IL passed away on July 10, 2022, at her home. She was born in Beaver Dam, WI on July 11, 1962.

Crystal is survived by her daughters; Laura Homewood of Freeport, IL and Angela (Matt) Wagner of Lena, IL, four grandchildren; Audriana, Jozee, Ava, and Mya, and her father; Terry Williams of Beaver Dam, WI.

She was preceded in death by her mother and her sweet grandson Elijah.

Memorial services will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at the Zion Church of Freeport. A visitation will be from 10:00 AM until time of services at the church. Pastor Steve Rios will officiate the services.

A memorial has been established in her memory. Condolences may be sent to the family at http://www.leamonfh.com.

Lake Carroll

Michael “Mike” V. Siciliano, 71

Michael, “Mike” V. Siciliano, age 71, of Lake Carroll, previously of Chicago passed away suddenly of natural causes Sunday, July 3, 2022 at home. A Funeral Mass was held 11 am Saturday, July 16, 2022 at St. Wendelin Catholic Church, Shannon with visitation held one hour prior to the Mass from 10 – 11 am at the Church. A Celebration of Life luncheon was held immediately following the Mass at 1 pm at Law Jones Eastland, Lanark. There will also be a Celebration of Life held in Chicago on Sunday, July 24, 2022, 12-4 pm at LaVilla Restaurant and Banquets 3638 N. Pulaski Rd. Chicago, IL 60641.

Mike was born April 29, 1951 in Chicago, the son of Vito M. and Madeline (Mostrato) Siciliano. He attended Brentano Elementary School where he met the future love of his life, Susan “Susie” Saether. They were great friends and began to date at Schurz High School, where he graduated in 1969. On May 6, 1972, Mike and Susie were married. They raised a daughter, Kerry, and celebrated 50 years of marriage.

Aside from his family, Mike’s greatest devotion was to First Responders and his community. He was a graduate of National Lewis University and attended Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff & Command. Mike proudly served as an officer, attaining the rank of Sergeant, with the Chicago Police Department for more than 25 years, retiring in 2002. He worked part-time for the Shannon Police Department after moving to Lake Carroll, as well as working for the III FFC (IN, IL, IA Foundation for Fair Contracting) for an additional dozen years.

He and Susie began visiting Lake Carroll in 1997, building their first home in 2002. Mike liked getting involved in his community. He was a member of St. Wendelin Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, Lake Carroll Fishing Club and Hatchery, Lake Carroll Yacht Club, Carroll County Crime Stoppers, Carroll County Substance Abuse Coalition, Coordinator of National Night Out and Public Safety Blue Mass, and the Director of HERO’s Fund. He also gave his time to many charities.

He loved spending time with family and friends. He liked going to movies, plays, listening to bands and was a sports guy. Mike enjoyed being outside, fishing, hanging or working at the pool or planning a party!

Mike will be dearly missed by his wife, Susan Siciliano of Lake Carroll; his daughter Kerry (James) Cwick of Park Ridge, Illinois; 2 grandchildren, Grant and Brooke Cwick; a brother, Joseph (Karen) Siciliano of Chicago; a sister-in-law, Kelly Siciliano; and many nieces and nephews. Mike is preceded in death by his father, Vito; his mother, Madeline; a brother, Steven; and a sister, Madelyn Groskopf.


James David Leahy, 72

James David Leahy, age 72, of St. Ferdinand’s Parish in Northwest Chicago, passed away suddenly on Saturday July 9, 2022 from natural causes. Jim was a loyal friend, a loving father, and a devoted husband. He was as he would describe himself, an affable Irishman.

Jim bore a charmed life, which began on June 23, 1950. Little Sheamaisin was the youngest of five children born to his two parents who hailed from County Cork, Ireland, Thomas Andrew and Nora O’Mahoney Leahy. He attended St. Ferdinand’s Elementary and was a proud 1968 graduate of Saint Patrick High School. Go Shamrocks! After which he attended St. Procopius College. At all of these places Jim made lifelong friends.

Jim played sports all of his life, especially team sports. He was a natural-born leader, a kind mentor, and a gregarious peacemaker. For many years he was an official for baseball, basketball, football and soccer. Jim’s whole life was very lucky but the luckiest day of his life was when he met Nancy Gaynor on St. Patrick’s Day 1978. Not only was he lucky, he was persistent, calling neighbors with false funerals to get her phone number, following her on various city buses, and asking her father for her hand three times before he finally was granted his blessing. They were married on September 9, 1979 and stayed happily married for forty-three years. Persistence pays off.

Jim traded at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange under the name UMP, rising through the ranks at Kleinwort-Benson with his characteristic combination of luck and persistence. He worked as a railroad conducter, a homage to his childhood love of trains, and wherever he worked his favorite part was always the people he was working with.

But Jim’s favorite occupation was being a Dad. He loved his children, Mary Kathleen and Thomas, and took great care nurturing their talents and spiritual growth. He shared with them his love of music, quizzing them on everything from the Beatles to Rossini. He was so good at being a Dad that he did it for everyone. He was always there to give a cold kid a warm coat or a sad child a kind word. Jim never failed to help anyone that was in trouble.

Jim was a deeply spiritual man and a servant of Christ who taught us to serve God by serving others. Whether to friend, of which you will find many, or to foe, of which you will find few and they all deserved it, he was always, always kind.

He will be dearly missed by all of his friends and loved ones. He is survived by his hunya, Nancy, his daughter, Mary Kathleen, and his son Thomas Andrew as well as his sister Noreen Smith. He is preceded in death by his 3 siblings Sister Mary Frances Leahy, William Leahy, Thomas Andrew Leahy and his parents Thomas Andrew and Nora.

A funeral mass was held 10:30am Saturday July 16, 2022 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Elizabeth, IL followed by burial of the ashes in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Visitation was held from 9:30-10:30AM at the Church prior to the Mass. A luncheon will follow in the church basement. Memorials may be given in his honor to Doctors Without Borders. Condolences may be left for the family at lawjonesfuneralhome.com.


Lucille Mary (Meier) Buske, 84

Lucille Mary (Meier) Buske age 84, of Warren, IL passed away on Thursday, July 14, 2022, at Pleasant View Nursing Home in Monroe, WI. She was born November 7, 1937, in Stephenson County, the daughter of Fred and Edith (Lott) Meier. She married LaVerne E. Buske on October 27, 1956, at the Nora Community Church in Nora, IL. Lucille has been a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Warren since 1968. She graduated from Stockton High School in 1955.

Lucille was a homemaker, army wife for 2 years, farmers wife for 10 years, and worked at Micro-Switch in Warren, IL for 26 years. She worked seasonally at Swiss Colony in Monroe, WI, and drove school bus part-time for Thill Bus Service. Then LaVerne, Lucille, and family purchased and operated L&L Lawn Care. They also were foster parents from 1970-1984. They did a lot of traveling, camping with family and Good Sam’s Club, Fishing, and dancing together. They also own a cabin on the Pecatonica River where they liked to relax, feed the ducks and birds. They would fish for Catfish and Northern by bank poles with their flat bottom and pontoon boats. Lucille also loved spending time with the families of her daughters. Having get togethers with all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She decorated wedding cakes for her seven children’s weddings as well as cakes for other peoples.

She is survived by her six daughters; Melody (Tom) Grindey, Warren, IL, Krystal (Kurt) Schlichting, Green Bay, WI, Melinda (Bill) Phillips, Warren, IL, Kimberly Janicke, Warren, IL, Melissa (Scott) Sargent, Monroe, WI, Linda (Charles) Voegeli, Monroe WI; 15 grandchildren – Bill McNett, Nick (Meghan) Grindey, Chelsea (Chad) White, Justin Buske, JR (Jennifer) McNett, Chad Phillips, Austin Heller, Kathy Grindey, Garriet (Danielle) Buske, Christi (fiancé Cory) Phillips, Abbea (Parker) Haven, Julianna (Justin) Hurley, Alyssa (Justin) Hoover, Emily (Garrick) Goerke, Bobby Voegeli; 28 great-grandchildren, with one on the way, and 1 great-great grandson, Brother-in-law Eugene Jogerst; sister-in-law Inez Meier, several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband LaVerne, son Joseph, her parents, brother Edward Meier, sister Iona Mosley mother and father in-law Edwin and Lois Buske,

Funeral services were held at 12:00 PM NOON on Monday, July 18, 2022 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Warren. A visitation was from 10:00 AM until time of services on Monday, July 18, 2022 at the church. Rev. Janice Diesenthaler officiated the services. Cremation rites will be accorded. A private family burial will take place at Elmwood Cemetery in Warren, IL at a later date.

A memorial has been established in her memory. Condolences may be sent to the family at http://www.leamonfh.com.


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