Sunday, December 18, 2011

Geraldine Tinsley

SPRINGFIELD - Geraldine Tinsley, 96, of Springfield, passed away December 16th, 2011 at St. John's Hospice. She was born in Springfield, on March 19, 1915, to William H. and Sarah Frances Murrell. She married George E. Tinsley Sr. in 1935.

She is survived by one daughter, Elizabeth (Steve) Alexander of Springfield, one sister, Olan Elliot of Springfield, a daughter-in-law, Joyce Tinsley, 11 grand-children, 16 great-grandchildren, 5 great-great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband George, her 3 sons; George E Tinsley Jr. Charles Arthur Tinsley, and William Clarence Tinsley and 12 brothers and sisters.
Mrs. Tinsley was a retired employee of the Illinois Department of Public Aid. She graduated from Springfield High School and Browns Business College. She was a member of St. Paul AME Church where she was a class leader and a member of the Estella Thompson Women's Missionary Society.
A funeral service will be held at Noon on Wednesday, December 21, at St. Paul AME Church, 1130 S 16th St. Springfield, IL 62703. Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. until the time of service at the church. Burial will follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. Rev. Galda McCants will officiate the services.
Memorials in her name may be made to St. Paul Church's Estella Thompson Women's Missionary Society. Online condolences to the family at

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Judy Kay Schnepp

Judy Kay Schnepp, 69, of Springfield, died at 6:45 p.m. on November 25, 2011 at Memorial Medical Center.
Judy was born December 14, 1941 the daughter of William and Celia Heather Kramzar. She married Keith Schnepp on November 23, 1963 at St. Agnes Church in Springfield.
Judy was a graduate of Springfield High School Class of 1959, where she was a member of the National Honor Society. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois and worked as a social worker until she began her family. She then devoted her time and energy entirely to her family and their activities. She was a volunteer for the Girl Scouts, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and a member of Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church for over thirty-nine years, where she served on several committees. She enjoyed golfing with friends, gardening, photography, and being with her family, especially her grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, William Kramzar; and her step-father, Leslie Sebring.
Judy is survived by her husband, Keith; son, Jason (wife, Brenda) Schnepp of Springfield; daughter, Audrey (husband, Steven) Moore of Appleton, WI; four grandchildren, Rileigh and Karlie Schnepp and Natalie and Ian Moore; three siblings, Dwain Kramzar, Linda (husband, Guy, MD) Photopulos, Gary (wife, Terry) Kramzar; step-brother, Michael (wife, Marilyn) Sebring and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Cremation was accorded by Butler Cremation Tribute Center prior to ceremonies.
Memorial Gathering: Family will receive friends on Friday, December 2, 2011 from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church, 501 S. Douglas, Springfield.
Memorial Ceremony: 11 a.m. on Friday, December 2, 2011 at Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church with Rev. Julia Melgreen officiating.
Memorial contributions may be made to Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church, 501 S. Douglas Ave., Springfield, IL 62704 or Lincoln Land Down Syndrome Society, 3512 Banyan Dr., Springfield, IL 62712.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nick Graebel

Richard Read "Nick" Graebel died on Aug. 3, 2011.

He was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, to Dorothy Read and Richard Paul Graebel. He grew up in Springfield, Ill., and spent his summers in Tomahawk with family and friends. He moved to Madison in 1963 and became a firefighter in 1964. During his 41 years of service, he rose to the rank of lieutenant and became known as "The Commander." He was known for his generosity, humor and for respecting both sides of any argument.

Richard thoroughly enjoyed his time on earth. He was known for taking the scenic route and enjoying all of the views whenever he left the house. He was a bike commuter before it was Madison cool. He loved singing and was a longtime member of Madison Maennerchor, a German singing group. 

He belonged to Madison Turners and served on the board for many years. It was Richard's mission to be the best father, grandfather and citizen he could be. Madison will not be the same without the big grandpa swinging kids on his shoulders, chasing them around and breaking out into song.

Richard is missed by his wife, Ilse; son, Pascal of Mount Shasta, Calif.; daughter, Isolde (William Lorman) of Middleton; sister, Mary (John) Hofmann of Green Bay; six grandchildren; and many friends and acquaintances.

A celebration of Richard's life will take place on Oct. 8, 2011, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at TURNER HALL, 3001 S. Stoughton Road in Madison; 608-222-4922.

Monday, August 15, 2011

'58 Dinners in Springfield

Hi '58s:

On the 4th Thursday of each month, a group of the '58 SHS girls get together and have dinner at a nice restaurant here in Springfield. There were 11 of us the last time, including one husband: John Maloney, who graduated with us also. He comes with his wife, Donna Haycraft Maloney. 

I am attaching a picture from our "outing" at the Old Luxemburg Inn on July 28th for the blog. It is blurry, but you can see when it is enlarged, who all is there. 

Picture: From the nearest person on the right and going back around the table:  Dottie Huddleston Fitzgerald, Connie King Mohan, Betty Klecamp England, Kris Hockenyos Tipps, Janet Bailey Kerner, Mary Houghton Elberson, Donna Haycraft Maloney, John Maloney, Marilyn Markwell Ruch, Diane Smith (Bill) Hester (Carole Crouch Ball was not present for the picture, but did come later).  

We are open for any other 58'ers who wish to join us. Just call or email me or Carole. Phone numbers are in the latest red book from 50th reunion and current email addresses are on the SHS site. We don't turn SHS guys away as you can see by John attending our "get together" dinners. He enjoys the group as much as we do. 

Janet Kerner

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Allan Stephens Interment

Allan Durand Stephens, 70, died of cancer on Tuesday, December 14, 2010, at the Hospice Compassionate Care Center in Richmond, KY. A memorial service celebrating his life was held December 30, 2010, at First United Methodist Church in Richmond.
Interment services with military honors will be held in Springfield, IL, at Oak Hill Cemetery at 2:00 pm Friday, July 29. Following the interment, a visitation reception will be held at 3:00 pm at Laurel United Methodist Church, South Grand at Walnut. A man of faith, Stephens was an active member of First United Methodist Church in Richmond, KY.
Stephens was born on June 2, 1940, in Springfield, the son of Charles Bennett Stephens and Cordelia Crout Stephens Fues, who both preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by his brother, the Reverend Stuart P. Stephens.
As a youth, Stephens participated in Boy Scouts through Troop 36 at Laurel United Methodist Church and was especially proud to be an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow. After graduating from Springfield High School in 1958, Stephens attended Northwestern University, then received his BS degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He later earned his teaching credentials from the University of Texas at Austin and completed his Masters degree at Southwest Texas University at San Marcos. During the Vietnam conflict he served his country as a communications officer in the U.S. Air Force, then as a reserve officer before retiring with the rank of Major.
Stephens served as band director at Eastern Kentucky University's Model Laboratory School in Richmond for 24 years. He devoted 32 summers to leadership at a Music-Arts-Dance-Drama church camp for teenagers, who affectionately knew him as "Big Al."
Music, theater, and Ham Radio were Stephens' passions. He was a member of the Kentucky Music Educators, played clarinet in the Central Kentucky Concert Band and Richmond Area Community Band, and was active in Rose Barn Theatre productions. He helped to begin the Classic Radio Exchange for the enjoyment of old tube-type radios and belonged to several Ham Radio Clubs. His call sign was N5AIT.
In addition to his loving wife Mary Lou, he is survived by one daughter, Susan Mae Zarzycki and granddaughter Natalie Mae Zarzycki of Richmond, KY; one sister, Dee Dee Gain of Springfield, IL; one brother, C. Bennett Stephens, Jr. (Barbara) of Lake Forest, IL; one sister-in-law, Barbara Stephens-Rich of Sandusky, OH; two step-brothers, Russell Fues (Ann) of Memphis, TN and Donald Fues (Marianne) of Columbia, MO; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Allan D. Stephens SCF Music Camp Fund, an endowed fund honoring Stephens' musical legacy of encouragement and support for his students. This fund has been established through Eastern Kentucky University for middle school and high school students who need financial aid to attend Stephen Collins Foster Music Camp. Gifts may be sent to: EKU Development Office, Attn: Allan D. Stephens SCF Music Camp Fund, CPO 19A, 521 Lancaster Ave., Richmond, KY, 40475.
Boardman-Smith Funeral Chapel is in charge of local arrangements. Sign the online guest book at
Published in The State Journal-Register on July 24, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Branson Trip

Dear '58s,

In light of the sad passing of so many of our classmates, I thought I'd send in a few photos to show that some of us are still alive and kicking and having some fun in our "old" age.   
Attached are 3 photos taken on a recent trip to Branson, Mo.   For those who have never been there, it's a terrific place to visit.   Not only do they have a variety of shows and restaurants, they also have completely renovated the old river front into a modern shopping strip.   The architect that designed the dancing waters at the Bellagio in Los Vegas designed a mini-version in old Branson and visitors gather in a concrete landing to watch the colorful fire jets and water fountains perform to upbeat music on the hour.  
In addition, Branson just opened up several new ziplines.   We decided to try one out.   It was great fun, although that first step is a real doozy!  My son, Ross, and Sue, his girl friend joined us for the trip.   Here we are in harnesses and helmets, ready for their huge Swiss army vehicle to transport us up to the top of a hill.  From there we walked across a swinging suspension bridge and onto a small platform where our guide snapped us individually to the zipline.   He went first (to stop us if we were coming in too fast) and then each one of us stepped off into space and zipped to the next platform.  Talk about exhilarating!!   
Al and I enjoy Branson so much that we visit at least twice a year.  Nearby is Silver Dollar City, which contains acres and acres of beautiful rolling hills, arts, crafts, vendors of all sorts, entertaining family shows, and great food.   In fact, Branson is such a great place that I vote we hold our next reunion there!  — Diane Gurgens Urbanckas

Monday, June 20, 2011

June Nesbitt

Mrs. June Nesbitt, who taught Home Economics at SHS, celebrated her 90th birthday on June 10. She still lives in Springfield.

We are attempting to find her local address, for those '58s who might wish to send her birthday card.

Thanks to Janet Bailey Kerner for the tip and scan of the SJR clipping.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Inez E. Gieseking

Inez E. Gieseking, 96, passed away on March 6, 2011 at Lewis Memorial Christian Village in Springfield. She was born February 21, 1915 in Altamont, Illinois, where she was raised. Her parents, C. Herman and Clara Enzeroth Gieseking, both preceded her in death, as did her beloved brother, H. Merle Gieseking, who was killed in World War II.

Inez received a BS in education from the University of Illinois in 1937 and an MA from the State University of Iowa in 1944. For many years she taught classes in business education at Springfield High School, where she also chaired the department of Office Occupations. Later she taught at Lanphier High School in Springfield until her retirement. 

She was a member of the VFW Auxiliary and the Eastern Star in Altamont and the Garden Club in Springfield. She was a very active member of the First United Methodist Church in Springfield.

Inez was an excellent cook and an avid gardener. She loved travel, visiting Canada, Guatemala, the British Isles and China in the 1970's. She kept a beautiful home and enjoyed entertaining a large circle of friends.

Inez is survived by a niece, A. Inez Gieseking of Willow, AK; cousins Vera (Logan) Mellendorf of Altamont, Norma Tipsword of Springfield and second cousin John (Cathy) Mellendorf of Effingham; as well as a large extended family in Altamont and other areas of the Midwest and beyond.

At her request, no service was held.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

H. Stanley Thomas

SPRINGFIELD - H. Stanley Thomas, 71, of Springfield passed away Tuesday May 3, 2011, at St. John's Hospital.

He was born in Springfield on March 3, 1940, the son of Stanley and Jean Briggle Thomas. He attended Lawrence Grade School and Springfield High School,  where he was a member of Wranglers and played on the varsity golf team. After graduating from SHS with the Class of 1958, he attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and graduated with a B.S. degree in History.

He married Mary Wolf on December 21, 1991, in Springfield. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister Jan Michael. He is survived by his wife, Mary; daughter, Amy Jo Wolf and grandson Halen Wolf both of Springfield; a sister, Nancy Thomas of Springfield; sister-in-law, Margaret Jane Jabusch (husband, Walter) of Riverton and several nieces, nephews, cousins, great nieces and great nephews and one great-great niece.

Friends may call Wednesday May 11, 2011 at First Presbyterian Church from 9:00 A.M. until the time of memorial services at 10:00 AM with Rev. Dr. David McDonna officiating. Interment will follow in Oak Ridge Cemetery. 

Memorials may be made to the American Parkinson's Disease Association, 2100 Pfingsten Road, Glenview,IL 60026. Boardman-Smith Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bob Newell in China

(Click on picture to enlarge)

In retirement, our senior class president Bob Newell keeps busy with consulting jobs as a mechanical engineer. Last March he returned to China, where he has traveled often, to work with a company in Nantong, at the mouth of the Yangtze River.

He also visited Beijing, site of the 2008 Olympic Games, and here he is standing near the National Stadium, also called the Bird's Nest. Its shape follows principles of Chinese ceramic design.

Bob works through interpreters, and while many are skillful, he says it's hard to find one with advanced technical knowledge. He's now back in China for another month of work before returning to his home in Georgia.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Savanna Reunion

The near-annual reunion of the Hart-Sandlin clans transpired this year in Savannah, GA, where Dick and Ann Tobin Hart often meet with Bob and Leslie Heineke Sandlin. Savannah is a place to escape wintry Springfield and view a St. Patrick's Day parade, featuring a team of the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales. The parade is the second largest in the USA, taking three hours to pass and viewed by a third of a million spectators. 

Another exciting event will be April 15, when Robert Redford releases his historical thriller, The Conspirator, about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Filmed at Savannah locations, the movie makes extensive use of the Sandlin's former home, especially the scene where Lincoln lies on his deathbed in a "boarding house" while his Cabinet meets in a nearby parlor. This film was a big hit at the Sundance Festival; watch for it in your local theaters.
Leslie, Bob, Ann, Dick
Pictures by Dick Hart

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gordon Jones

Harmony Boys (1958); Gordon second from left.

Gordon R. Jones died on March 30, 2011 at his home in Springfield. He was born June 21, 1940 in Roodhouse, the son of James I. and Rebecca Spencer Jones. Surviving are his mother, Rebecca “Reba” Jones-Tull of Springfield, four stepsisters, eleven cousins; their extended families, and his life-long childhood friends. His father preceded him in death in 1991. 

Gordon was the original drummer for the Harmony Boys, Springfield's first country-rock band. At a 1958 telethon in the Abe Lincoln Hotel, a "Battle of the Bands" pitted The Harmony Boys against Hobie Henson's Red Devils. The match was even until Gordon's drum solo: he jumped up and danced around his white Slingerland drum set, twirling sticks in the air and not missing a beat. This act astonished the band and brought the house down.

He graduated from Springfield High School in 1958. After high school, he served in the U.S. Navy. Following graduation from Arizona State University, he pursued a career as director of OSHA and Risk Management for the State of Arizona. He was a Mason for 44 years and a member of the Springfield Ansar Shrine. He enjoyed art, hiking, and mountain climbing. He climbed Mt. Whitney twice. Gordon also enjoyed restoring motorcycles and his 1948 Willys Jeep. 

Funeral services will be held 3:00 p.m. Sunday, April 3 at the Mackey Daws Funeral Home in Roodhouse with interment in the Murrayville Cemetery in Murrayville. Visitation will be Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until time of the service at the funeral home. Memorials are suggested to the Murrayville Cemetery or Memorial Hospice. Condolences may be left on line at Pictures of the funeral are at this site.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Melba Engel Frederick

Melba Elsie Adeline (Engel) Frederick, 94, a life-long resident of Springfield, died on Thursday, March 24, 2011. She was born April 1, 1916 in Springfield, the daughter of Melvin and Louise Seaman Engel. 
Melba graduated from Springfield High School in 1934 and married John Alfred Frederick on November 26, 1934. Her first job was in 1934 at Dazee's Orange Juice Store. She was employed by Thrifty Drug Company from 1952 until her retirement in 1978. She was also a tour guide with Presley Tours throughout the 1970's. Melba volunteered at Memorial Medical Center for over 20 years. She was a member of First Christian Church for more than 60 years; active in the Christian Women's Fellowship and a member of Lincoln Circle of King's Daughters. Melba enjoyed life to the fullest, participating in many hobbies and activities, including playing on a women's softball league in the 1930's, pinochle clubs, ceramics, traveling and camping. She was known among her close friends as the "Camp Director."
Her husband of 71 years, Al Frederick, preceded her in death on May 30, 2006. She is survived by her four daughters, Shirley Tonjes of Albuquerque, NM, Janet, Suellen and Jeri Frederick, all of Springfield. One of her joys in life was spending time with her grandchildren, Rick (Wanda), Gary (Leann), and Stephen (Laura) Tonjes, Elisabeth (Josh) Hillman and Emma Frederick; eight great-grandchildren; Cody, Eric, Jerra, Jessica, Brandt, Julia and Luken Tonjes, and Eva Hillman. She is also survived by a brother, Quentin S. Engel of Springfield; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Visitation: Family will receive friends from 10:00-11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at Kirlin-Egan & Butler Funeral Home, 900 S. 6th St., Springfield. Funeral Ceremony: 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at Kirlin-Egan & Butler Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to: Central Illinois Food Bank, 2000 E. Moffat Ave., Springfield, IL 62702 or First Christian Church, 700 S. 6th Street, Springfield, IL 62703.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sandra Castles Skeeters

Sandra Castles Skeeters, 70, of Springfield, formerly of Bethalto, died at 7:07 am, Thursday, March 10, 2011 at Sunny Acres Nursing Home in Petersburg, Illinois. 

She was born October 2, 1940 in Springfield, Illinois to Donald E. and Eloise C. Velie Castles. She married Joseph L. Skeeters on February 21, 1959 and he preceded her in death on June 4, 1992. Her father and one brother, Kenneth Castles also preceded her in death. 

Surviving are one daughter, Traci K. Skeeters (life partner: Nick Mably); mother, Eloise Castles of Springfield, three grandchildren, Christina, Zachary and Brianna Skeeters; one brother, Donald Castles of Florida and several nieces, nephews and cousins. 

Sandra was an Executive for the Illinois State Lottery. She loved spending time with her grandchildren and fishing.

Visitation was on Sunday, March 13, 2011 with a funeral service on Monday, March 14, at Staab Funeral Home with Rev. Vaughn Beeman officiating. Burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Miss Lois Body

SPRINGFIELD - Lois Maurine Body, 96, of Springfield, died February 15, 2011 at Gilman Nursing Home, Gilman, IL.

She was born near Woodland on March 23, 1914, the daughter of Clarence William and Florence Edna Body.

Miss Body graduated from Watseka Community High School; received her bachelor's degree in education from Illinois State University; and her master's in liberal arts from the University of Illinois. In her undergraduate days, she was a member of Kappa Delta Pi, Pi Gamma Mu, and Kappa Delta Epsilon. She belonged to the Woodland United Methodist Church.

Before retirement in 1972, she taught at Rutland, Fisher, Pekin, Feitshans, Springfield College in Illinois, Lincoln Land Community College, and Springfield High School.

Preceding her in death were her parents.

Cremation rites have been accorded. Interment will be in Oak Ridge Memorial Chapel Mausoleum. Boardman-Smith Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements. Sign the online guest book at

Memorial Contributions may be made to the United Methodist Church in Woodland, IL or to the Iroquois County Historical Society in Watseka, IL.

Published in The State Journal-Register on February 19, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On the Road

Dick and Ann Tobin Hart have returned to Springfield after a month on the road, visiting family and friends.  They spent Christmas with their daughter in Austin, TX, New Year's in Santa Fe, NM, and in Santa Monica, CA, visited their son and an old friend from Butler-SHS days, Arnold "Sonny" Myerstein

Sonny's wife, Jeri, is a school friend of Louise Taper, whom the Harts know as a Lincoln collector. Louise put on a dinner at her Beverly Hills home, which produced the picture above: (l to r) Dick Hart, Jeri MyersteinSonny Myerstein, and Ann Hart on January 17, 2011. (Please note the severe winter conditions.)

Louise showed pieces of her collection, items about Abraham and Mary Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. Ann and Sonny talked of the good old days at home. He is still close to his Springfield neighbors, Charlie Adams and Fred Hoffmann '59. Sonny and Jeri both plan a return to Springfield before long.

On the return trip, the Harts made their first visit to Las Vegas, NV, and then drove the Plains back to Prairie land. Their faithful pooch, Sammie, made the journey with them. As Dick reports, "…the trip was a long drive for old folks, but it was on our bucket list."

If you have news and pictures to share, please send them to Will Howarth. 

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Will Tranquilli

The following obituary, by Devin Carroll, appears on the Community Alliance web site, dated November 1, 2010. 
With sorrow, we announce the peaceful passing of William James Tranquilli on September 3, 2010, after a lingering illness. A well-known activist for many causes, Will enjoyed living in Fresno for many years.
Will was born April 13, 1940, in Springfield, Illinois, to Joseph and Martha Tranquilli. Will learned his activism from his parents. Martha, whose activism began in her youth, was a shining example who taught her children the basics of social protest. Martha served as a peace witness for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom during the federal government’s occupation of Wounded Knee reservation and prior to that was incarcerated for nine and a half years in federal prison at Terminal Island as a tax protester.
Will graduated from Springfield High School and Southern Illinois University with a degree in communications. Will’s activism began in high school where, for the debate team, he took the position in favor of the legalization of prostitution. In college, Will worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Cairo, Illinois, and later in Mississippi.
In his teens, Will suffered from a nasty bout of polio. He spent many months in an iron lung, which may have given him his sense of compassion. The doctors said he would never walk again, but his tenacity proved them wrong.
In the early 1970s, the family relocated to California, eventually settling in Dobbins in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where his brothers Joseph and Vincent still reside. Will later moved to Fresno.
Will worked for a myriad of causes, including tenant’s rights, gay rights, free speech and Americans for Democratic Action, just to name a few. He was a prominent member of Health Care for All in Fresno.
Will often attended the Fresno Friends Meeting and enjoyed meetings of the Humanists of the San Joaquin Valley.
Will’s razor sharp wit and contagious sense of humor will be sorely missed by all who knew him. His latest passions were the struggle for the rights of the disabled and world peace. Now Will has found his peace.