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Midge A. Engelkens, 83

Midge A. Engelkens, 83, of Orangeville, IL passed away on Thursday, November 2, 2023, with her family by her side, at Pearl Pavilion in Freeport, IL. She was born on January 25, 1940 in Freeport, IL to Lyle and Mary Evelyn (Klontz) Meyers. Midge attended a one room schoolhouse through 8th grade, she then attended and graduated from Freeport High School. She was also a graduate of Freeport Memorial School of Nursing. Midge married Donald Engelkens on July 2, 1961.

Midge started her nursing career at Freeport Memorial Hospital. She took a break from nursing to farm alongside her husband Don and raised their four children. Midge then went to work for the Visiting Nurses Association. From there, she worked at St. Clare in Monroe, where she ended her hospital career in the OB and Women’s Health departments, retiring in 2005.

Nursing was Midge’s passion. She was an excellent seamstress. Midge made wedding gowns and prom dresses, mended anything and everything, and sewed for Barbara Buck. Her faith was very important to Midge. She was very active in her church community, serving as a member of the Cedarville and Orangeville United Methodist congregations.

Family was everything to Midge. She loved her friends and her family. Her humor was the best. She was the happiest whenever her family was with her, often telling family members that “That was a great day” after the last family member would leave. Don and Midge also enjoyed camping.

Midge is survived by her husband Don of Orangeville, children; Theresa Shuman of Orangeville, Matthew (Kara Christensen) Engelkens of Orangeville, and Mary (Arun) Bhardwaj of Algonquin, son-in-law Dave Sweet of South Beloit, IL, grandchildren; Shelby Shuman, Bethany (William) Murphy, Justin (Sammi Powers) Engelkens, Courtney Fiene, Caitlin (Matt Sanders) Fiene, Brogan Engelkens, Cole Bhardwaj, Camden Bhardwaj, great-grandchildren; Emma Dionne, and Briggs Engelkens, Harlow Sanders, Kailey Sanders, Kaleb Sanders, Isaiah Stansberry, step-sister Sherrill Schramm, step-brothers Mark (Pat) Rodebaugh and Steve (Nancy) Rodebaugh, and her “Sciota Sisters”.

She was preceded in death by her parents, stepmother Elizabeth Meyers, son Todd Engelkens, sisters; Pat Meyers and Linda Christenson, step-sister Sandy Messinger, and her step-brother Jim Rodebaugh.

Funeral services were held at 10:30 AM on Friday, November 10, 2023 at the Orangeville United Methodist Church in Orangeville. A visitation was from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at the Orangeville United Methodist Church in Orangeville. Burial will be at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Freeport. Pastor Roger Bronkema officiated the services.

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


Vivian (Kleckner) Otte, 101

Vivian (Kleckner) Otte, 101, of Lena passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 5, 2023.She was born on January 13, 1922 on the home farm in Pleasant Valley Township near Stockton, IL. Vivian was the third daughter of Mary (Staub) and Ernest Kleckner. She attended Neutral Ridge Grade Rural School all eight years in a one room, one teacher school. She graduated from Stockton High School in 1940 and then was employed at Kraft Cheese in Stockton.

Then, as the story goes, Vivian met Don Otte through a friend of a friend -

The start to a love that would have no end -

They first met each other at the Freeport Fair -

Next time she saw him sitting in a barber's chair...

And so it began. Vivian married Don on Oct. 4, 1941. Don and Vivian farmed the William Otte farm in Kent Township for 17 years. They then bought the Heyer Feed Mill in Lena. They owned and operated the mill for fifty years, later changing the name to Lena Feed Mill. Vivian lost her life partner and best friend when Don preceded Vivian in death in 2011. They were married for 69 years and always had a loving relationship that their family admired.

Vivian is survived by three daughters - Bonnie Guthrie of Lena, Patty (Robert) Noller of Branson, MO and Pamela (Michael) Kalinosky of Viroqua, WI, five grandchildren - Gregory (Kathy) Gahm and Matthew (Donna) Gahm, both of Lena, Angela Gahm of Colorado Springs, CO, Jennifer (Jeff) Cape of Woodridge, IL and Halvin (Staci) Gahm of Boerne, TX, six great grandchildren - Dylan (Angelica) Gahm, Heidi (Ryan) Hoepner, Heather (Trevor) Sexton, Victoria Gahm, and Halli and Brooke Gahm, three great-great grandchildren - Josiah and Gracelynn Gahm and Ashton Hoepner, two step grandchildren - Dana Noller and Danielle (Kevin Phillips) Van Huizen, six step great grandchildren - Kelli Mathews, Adam (Angie) Mathews, Kerri (Kevin) Maess, and Austin, Jacob and Tyler Van Huizen, nine step great-great grandchildren - Makayla and Austin Fisher, Mya, Giovanni and Myles Greco, Cole and Nora Mathews, and Henry and Ivy Maess and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Vivian was the last surviving child of Earnest and Mary. Preceding her in death were her sisters and brothers Genevieve (Donald Russell), Marjorie (Russell Roberts), Gladys (Laverne West), Berl (Lori), Owen (Lillian), Robert (Shirley), Richard (Ruth), Donald, Allen (Jeanette) and Jeanette (Allen Haas).

Vivian was a member of Salem United Church of Christ, Lena since marrying Don. She lived to see her 100th birthday and enjoyed a party in her honor that was attended by daughters, their families and nieces and nephews. Vivian's hobbies included cooking and baking (and she was such a great cook!), keeping a spotless home, cross stitching, crossword puzzles, "judge" TV shows, traveling with Don - in particular loving visiting Las Vegas and other casinos - and hosting family gatherings.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were her specialties and the food was not only delicious but in abundance. She was a joyous talker and a true friend, kind and caring. Vivian spent her last years at the Lena Living Center where she has blossomed and made many friends. Special thanks to those there for making her feel at home for many years and also to the staff of FHN Lena and Unity Hospice for her care. She was a wonderful grandmother and cared about her grandchildren more than anything. She was devoted to her ten siblings. And she was a generous, thoughtful mom that was always supportive of her girls. She was a very special lady that those who knew her were blessed to have in their lives.

Funeral Service was held at 11:00 am on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at the Leamons Funeral Home in Lena. Pastor Christopher Ham officiated the service. The burial will take place at Lena Burial Park.

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

Dean M. Kempel, 90

Dean M. Kempel, age 90, of Lena, IL passed away on Sunday, November 5, 2023, at the Lena Living Center surrounded by his family. He was born March 23, 1933, in Kent, IL to Milfred and Dorothy (Krienke) Kempel. Dean served his country in the U.S. Army from 1955-1957. He married Margaret Harrenstein on May 14, 1960, at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Freeport, IL.

When he was younger Dean worked for the State Highway Department for several years, until Dean and Margaret purchased the family farm. Where he spent the rest of his life farming in the Lena area.

Dean is survived by his wife-Margaret of Lena; children-Donald (Kristen Keith) Kempel, Gary (Amy) Kempel, Anne Kempel-Daws, and Keith ( Christy) Kempel all of Lena; 8 grandchildren- Matthew (Emiley) Kempel, Phillip Kempel, William (Codi) Kempel, Nicholas Daws, Ariel (Noah) Zellmer, Samantha Kempel, Andrew Kempel, Emily Kempel; 1 great-grandchild Oliver Kempel and 3 on the way.

He is preceded in death by his parents, brother in infancy, daughter-in-law Martha Kempel and son-in-law Jon Daws.

A visitation was held from 4:00-7:00 pm on Friday, November 10, 2023 at the Leamon Funeral Home in Lena. A Catholic Funeral Mass was held at 1:30 pm, with a visitation prior from 12:30pm until time of service on Saturday, November 11, 2023 at St. Josephs Catholic Church in Lena. Father Andrew Hernandez officiated the service. Interment will take place at St. Josephs Catholic Cemetery in Lena.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Mcfadden and staff, FHN Memorial and Staff, Lena Living Center, and Leamons Ambulance service. They would also like to thank the many family members and friends who came to help Dean and Margaret during Dean’s illness.

See you in Heaven Dean - Love you, Margaret

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

Pearl City

Dorothy Ditzler, 97

Dorothy Ditzler, 97, of Pearl City, IL went to be with her Lord, with her children by her side, on Sunday November 5, 2023. Dorothy was born on June 27, 1926 to T. Arthur and Amy (Buss) Ellis in Winslow, IL. She graduated from Winslow High School, she then attended the Nursing Cadet Corps Training through St. Francis Hospital in Freeport, where she met her husband Theron E. Ditzler. Theron and Dorothy were united in marriage on July 2, 1949 at her parent’s farm.

Dorothy worked for St. Francis Hospital in Freeport as a surgical nurse, emergency room nurse, and a hospice nurse. She then worked as a private nurse, a school nurse, and retired from nursing from Honeywell. Dorothy also worked as a nurse at home, mending many of her husbands “accidents.”

Dorothy enjoyed playing cards, especially euchre with her children, grandchildren, and friends. She even beat them, right up until she passed. Jigsaw puzzles, word searches, and reading kept Dorothy occupied. Dorothy loved to travel. They traveled to all 50 states. Theron and Dorothy spent 50 years taking camping and fishing trips to Canada, they also took each of their grandchildren. She was a six-time cancer survivor. She loved bright colored flowers, especially her daffodils. Right out of her window, she enjoyed watching the deer, squirrels, and other animals, and also loved looking at the woods surrounding her home. She was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, and the Legion Auxillary Post 1014 in Pearl City.

Dorothy is survived by her children; Bob (Cindy) Ditzler of Pearl City, JoAnn (Rick) Blackmore of Apple Canyon Lake, and Kim (Pat) Boyle of Pearl City, grandchildren; Stacy (Eric) Gustafson, Adam (Heidi) Ditzler, Becky (Ryan) Guentner, Wendy (Shawn) Bean, Derek (Nicole) Blackmore, Bradlee Blackmore, Heather Blackmore, Cliff (Melissa) Calderon, Tory (Josh Stewart) Calderon, and Angie Boyle, greatgrandchildren; Emma, Boden, Shy, Laney, Charlee, Olivia, Jack, Payton, Kayla, Ben, Alice, Amelia, Maddox, Jace, Hayden, Tanner, Korrie, Jenna, Kayden, Patience, Rickie, Chayse, and Bella, and one great-great granddaughter Naylani, as well as, numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Theron, brother Merwyn Ellis, sister Corabelle Reuber, and grandson Troy Boyle.

Memorial services were held at 11:00 AM on Monday, November 13, 2023 at the St. John Lutheran Church in Pearl City. A visitation was from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM on Monday, November 13, 2023 at the church. Pastor Interim Dave Schweppee officiated the services.

Private family burial will take place at a later date.

Dorothy was very proud of her decision to donate her body to science to further medical research. The family wishes to thank all of the friends and neighbors for all the help and love shown to Dorothy and Theron over the years, it has been heartfelt and appreciated.

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


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