Philip Baker Benefiel, Donna L. Coomer, Brenda Kay Cullivan, Kathy E. Fletcher, Samuel A. Marcroft, Dorothy Imogene Sanders, Shirley Joanne Smith, Karen Jean Spangler

Philip Baker Benefiel

Philip Baker Benefiel, 95, of Champaign, Illinois, died on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at his home.

Judge Benefiel was born June 25, 1923 in Lawrenceville, Illinois to Ross J. and Amanda Jane (Baker) Benefiel. He attended Lawrenceville Public Schools and the University of Illinois. During World War II, Philip served in the 667th Field Artillery Battalion at the Battle of the Bulge and the Rhine Crossing at Remagen. Upon his return to UI after the war, Philip completed a bachelor’s degree in history followed by a doctorate in law in 1948. Returning home to Lawrenceville, Philip was elected as state’s attorney of Lawrence County and served in that position from 1948-1952. At the time, Philip was the youngest Democrat in the U.S. to serve as State’s Attorney, a post contested and won in an Illinois Supreme Court case due to his having been elected prior to successful completion of the bar exam.

Philip married the love of his life, Mary K., in 1958, becoming a second father to her sons John Mark and Matt Ashbrook. Over the next seven years, Philip and Mary K. had three more children, Ann Claire, Philip Ross, and Daniel Benefiel. In 1964, Philip was elected to the Illinois Senate. There he received the Best Legislators’ Award along with his friends and colleagues Alan Dixon and Paul Simon, both of whom went on to serve as U.S. Senators from Illinois, and one of whom was a candidate for President. Philip served as a local attorney in Lawrenceville until elected in 1968 as an Associate Judge and later as Circuit Judge of the 2nd Circuit, where he served continuously until 1991. During his law career, Judge Benefiel served as president of the Illinois Judges’ Association, as chief judge of the 2nd Judicial Circuit, and on the Judicial Inquiry Board. He was a lifelong member of the First Christian Church of Lawrenceville and an active member of the Lawrence County Democrats and Kiwanis.

Philip’s lifelong passion, though, was in social justice. In 1970, with Mary K., he founded Volunteers in Probation (VIP), which supported at-risk youth with community mentors. As this model was adopted by adjacent Wabash and Crawford counties, the name was changed to Cra-Wa-La Volunteers in Probation, an organization which served approximately 1,100 youth over nearly 50 years. He was also active in juvenile justice programs in Chicago, including the Near Northwest Civic Committee and Chicago Area Project. The Judge never met a teen or adult in whom he didn’t see value and promise. In his later years, Philip served as Democratic Precinct Committeeman for Lawrence County, managed Mary K.’s campaigns for Unit 20 School Board, and actively supported the local campaigns of a number of area political candidates.

Philip is survived by his five children and their spouses, John and Jan Ashbrook of Champaign, Matt and Nadine Ashbrook of Monee, Illinois, Ann Benefiel and Joe Kunkel of Champaign, Phil and Trudy Benefiel of Mount Carmel, Illinois, and Daniel Benefiel of Morgan Hill, California; 11 grandchildren and their partners, Jonathan and Kimberly Keniley-Ashbrook of Homer, Illinois, Nicholas and Grace Ashbrook of Dubuque, Illinois, Chelsea and Don McCarthy of Park Ridge, Illinois, Matthew Scott Ashbrook of St. Petersburg, Florida, Alex Kunkel of Tampa, Florida, Ian Kunkel and Corinn Waltz of Asheville, North Carolina, Anthony Kunkel at the University of Colorado, Joshua Stevenson and Dylan Benefiel, both of Mount Carmel, Jesse Benefiel at Portland State University, and Sophia Benefiel of Morgan Hill by 11 great-grandchildren, Ethan, Owen, Aiden, and Atticus Ashbrook, Brenden and Jackson McCarthy, Brody, Holden, and Jensen Ashbrook, and Caleb and Katie Stephenson; and by three loyal caregivers, Taiwan Lee, Pamela Martin, and Lisa Morgan.

He was preceded in death by two infant brothers, William Ross and Paul Jesse; his parents, Ross and Amanda; many dear friends; and his wife and life partner, Mary K. Benefiel.

Judge Benefiel’s family will greet visitors from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CDT on Saturday at the Emmons-Macey & Steffey Funeral Home in Lawrenceville, with funeral services following. Burial will be at Lawrenceville City Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made through the funeral home to Cra-Wa-La V.I.P. or the Chicago Area Project.

Please visit www.emmonsmaceysteffey.com to view the tribute and to send condolences.

Donna L. Coomer

Donna L. Coomer, 82, of Crawfordsville and formerly of Vincennes, passed away on Friday, April 19, 2019, at Wellbrook of Crawfordsville.

Born July 10, 1936, in Vincennes, she was the daughter of William and Reba (Manning) Street. Donna was a homemaker, and had lived in the Decker Chapel area. She was a member of the New Life Center, and then attended the First Church of God. Being with her grandchildren and going to garage sales were two of her favorite things to do.

Surviving are her daughter-in-law, Karen Cook of Crawfordsville; her grandchildren, Steven Cook, Andrea Lee, Michael Cook and his wife, Ashley, and Tonya Cook; her great-grandchildren, Landon Huner and Luke Cook; her brothers-in-law, Eugene Eubank, Joe Sanneman, and Bill McKinley; her sister-in-law, Elaine Street; and several nieces and nephews.

Her parents; her first husband, Robert Cook; her second husband, Phil Coomer; her son, Robert S. Cook; her sisters, Carol Eubank, Jean Sanneman, and Mary McKinley; and her brothers, Henry, William, James, and Robert Street, preceded her.

Friends may visit with Donna’s family from 2-3 p.m. on Saturday at Goodwin Funeral Home, 524 Broadway St. Her funeral service will follow the visitation. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through www.goodwinfamilyfh.com.

Brenda Kay Cullivan

Brenda Kay “Katie” Cullivan, 71, of Vincennes, passed away at Willow Manor on Friday, April 19, 2019.

Born on Oct. 20, 1947, in Vincennes, she was the daughter of Noah Seals Jr. and Arlyna H. (Oexman) Seals. Katie had worked for 42 years at Good Samaritan Hospital. She started as an aide in the operating room, and later went to work in the laundry. Katie was a member of the First Baptist Church and was a life member of the DAV Auxiliary. She also volunteered with Loaves and Fishes.

Surviving are her son, Robert R. Cullivan of Vincennes; her sisters, Linda L. Liston and Barbara A. Williams, both of Vincennes; her brother, Jimmy W. Seals of Washington; her granddaughter, Zoey Brianna Laslie; and several nieces and nephews.

Her parents and her husband, Robert Philip Cullivan, preceded her.

Friends may visit with Katie’s family from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday at Goodwin Funeral Home, 524 Broadway St. The funeral will follow the visitation. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the funeral home to help with funeral expenses.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through www.goodwinfamilyfh.com.

Kathy E. Fletcher

Kathy E. (Wells) Fletcher, 64 of Bridgeport, Illinois, died on Friday, April 19, 2019.

She was a homemaker and attended Faith Tabernacle of Vincennes.

Survivors include her significant other, David Watson Sr.; one son, Rick Fletcher; and two brothers, Steve Wells and Mike Wells.

Graveside services will be 1:15 p.m. CDT today at Bridgeport Cemetery (Shiloh). Visitation will be noon to 1 p.m. CDT today at Cunningham Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to Cunningham Funeral Home to assist the family.

Online condolences may be made at www.cunninghamfuneralhome.com.

Samuel A. Marcroft

Samuel A. “Sam” Marcroft, 69, of Vincennes, passed away on Saturday, April 20, 2019, at his home.

Born on Nov. 23, 1949, in Vincennes, he was the son of Samuel and Virginia (Sievers) Marcroft. Sam was coal miner, and had also worked in maintenance at the mines. Most of his years were spent with Black Beauty and Peabody Coal companies. He enjoyed fishing and shooting, and was a member of the Wabash Valley Sportsman Club. Sam also liked to travel.

Surviving are his son, Michael Marcroft and his wife, Tess, of San Antonio, Texas; his sister, Tracy Mains of Vincennes; his brothers, Chuck Marcroft of Vincennes and Jeff Marcroft of Arizona; and his grandchildren, Andrew and Christina Marcroft.

His parents; his wife, Dorothy (Kean) Marcroft, who he married on June 25, 1972 and who passed away on Sept.11, 2018; and a sister, Toni Henry, preceded him.

Friends may visit with Sam’s family from 10-11 a.m. on Wednesday at Goodwin Funeral Home, 524 Broadway St.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through www.goodwinfamilyfh.com.

Dorothy Imogene Sanders

Dorothy Imogene Sanders, 79, of Oaktown, passed away on Friday, April 19, 2019, at Deaconess Gateway Hospital in Newburgh.

She was born to George and Pearl (Jolley) Penner on May 26, 1939, in Princeton. She enjoyed gardening, family and friends and the family dogs, “Ruger” and “Elsie.”

Surviving are her daughter, Donna Elaine Stephens and her husband, Jeffrey, of Wheatland; two sons Mark Alan Sanders and his wife, Jodi, and Michael Wayne (Brenda) Sanders and his wife, Brenda, both of Oaktown; two sisters, Betty Ross of Owensville and Susie Stinson of Evansville; two brothers, Tom Penner of Mount Carmel, Illinois, and Elwood Penner of Jacksonville, Illinois; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Preceding her in death were her parents; her husband, Roy Norman Sanders; a daughter, Sarah Beth Sanders; her sister, Shirley Mae Wolf; and a brother, Billie Penner.

Funeral services will be 1 p.m. CDT on Wednesday at the Werry Funeral Home in Poseyville, with burial in Bethsaida Cemetery near Griffin at a later date. Visitation will be 11 a.m. CDT until the hour of services on Wednesday at the funeral home.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to the family online at www.werryfuneralhomes.com.

Shirley Joanne Smith

Shirley Joanne Smith, 73, of Lawrenceville, Illinois, passed away Friday, April 19, 2019 at the Franciscan Hospice House in Indianapolis.

She was born on March 6, 1946 in Lawrence County, Illinois, the daughter of James Franklin and Rhoda Mae (Devin) Brown. She married Michael O. Smith on Jan. 13, 1968 and he preceded her in death on Nov. 5, 1997.

Shirley was a 1964 graduate of Lawrence Township High School and Colburn School of Beauty in Olney, Illinois. She was a beautician at Evelyn’s Beauty Shop from 1963-1971 and a life insurance producer. She, along with her husband, owned and operated the Smith Funeral Home in Lawrenceville for over three decades. She was a long-time member of the First United Methodist Church in Lawrenceville. Shirley found a great sisterhood as a member of the Beta Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter for 30 years, where she made lifelong friends and gave back to the community. Shirley was a Campfire Girls Leader for two years and also a cook at Camp Girls Camp in Spencer for eight years. She loved to come out of the kitchen and dance to the song “Old Lady Leary” with the other cooks as the kids sang and clapped. Shirley loved playing cards, games, being silly, smiling, joking, and laughing with friends and family. She enjoyed life and always wanted to make things fun. Even if Shirley was having a difficult day, she always had a smile on her face.

Survivors include one son, Scott Michael Smith and his wife, Kim of Westfield; one daughter, Lynne Anne Smith Alexander and her husband, Scott, of Indianapolis; one brother, Louis Brown and his wife, Jean, of Flat Rock, Illinois; two sisters, Mildred Blair and her husband, Fred, of Lawrenceville, and Mary Lou Moore and her husband, Alan of Lawrenceville; and two grandchildren, Sydney Lynne Smith and Mackenzie Kaye Smith; along with several nieces and nephews.

Preceding her in death were her parents; her husband, Mike; and one son, Todd Carl Smith.

Funeral services will be 10 a.m. CDT on Friday at the Emmons-Macey & Steffey Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Lawrenceville City Cemetery. Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. CDT on Thursday at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Beta Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter or the Lawrence County Camp Girls.

Please visit www.emmonsmaceysteffey.com to view the tribute and to send condolences.

Karen Jean Spangler

Karen Jean (Moran) Spangler, 70, of Lawrenceville, Illinois, died on Friday, April 19, 2019.

She worked at United Methodist Village and was a member of the Church of Christ.

Survivors include her son, Paul; three stepchildren David Spangler, Deborah Pruitt and Dolores Byrd; and three sisters, Hope Cox, Janet Kay Diveley and Lois Green.

Private services and burial will be held. Glasser Funeral Home is trusted with the arrangements.

Online condolences may be made at www.glasserfh.com.

PENDING

Max B. Steimel, 94, of Vincennes, passed away on Sunday, April 21, 2019 at the home of his granddaughter in Evansville. Arrangements are pending at Duesterberg-Fredrick Funeral Home.

FUNERALS

Burger, Matilda, died April 17. Services: 9:30 a.m. today at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jasper. Burial: Fairview Cemetery.

Flummerfelt, Joseph, died March 1. Services: 11 a.m. on May 3 at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Indianapolis. Memorials: University of Illinois School of Music Advancement, 1114 W. Nevada St., Urbana, IL 61801 for “Joseph R Flummerfelt Graduate Choral Music Fund,” or DePauw University, Robert G. Bottoms Alumni and Development Center, 201 E Seminary St., Greencastle, IN 46135, for the “Joseph Flummerfelt Endowed Music Scholarship.”

Martin, James, died April 15. Services: 10:30 a.m. MST on Friday at the Willcox United Methodist Church, Willcox, Arizona. Memorials: Willcox Public School Charitable Trust, P.O. Box 476, Willcox, AZ, 85644, or the Charles Wm. Layton Jr. Hospice.

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