Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Theodore J. "Ted" Vacketta, Sr. - Further Light Lodge

Theodore "Ted" J. VackettaTheodore J. ‘Ted’ Vacketta, Sr., 80, passed from this life on February 19, 2017 at his home in Danville, IL, surrounded by his loving family. Ted was born on November 9, 1936 in Danville to Ore W. and Catherine (Pearson) Vacketta. He grew up in Humrick, IL, then moved to Westville, IL in 1950, graduating from Westville High School in 1954.

Ted married Linda Lou Kern in 1954 and they would have celebrated 63 wonderful years of marriage this year. He was preceded in death by both of his parents and an infant son, Mark William Vacketta. Ted is survived by his wife Linda and their children Cydra (Olav) Christensen of Danville, Ted Jr. (Betsy) Vacketta of Danville, Gregor Vacketta of Danville, and Carla (Rich) Henry) of Urbana, IL. Grandchildren include Reverend Jessica Vacketta of Fort Worth, TX, Tove (Justin) Adams of Danville, Leslie (Greg) Schebler of Livermore, CA, and Catie and Sara Henry of Urbana. His great-granddaughters, who he referred to as his “little dolls”, are Lily and Penny Schebler of Livermore, CA. Also, knowing Ted as Grandpa are Julie (Paul) Beer, and Neil Christensen.

Additional survivors are Ted’s brother Jerald Vacketta of Oakwood, IL, sister Betty (Joe) Pintar of Danville, and sister-in-law Connie Pierce of Westville, as well as numerous aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Other close family members preceding Ted in death were his mother-in-law Mary Cruppenink, sister-in-law Harriet (Jerald) Vacketta, brother-in-law Tom Cruppenink, nephew Brad Carter, and niece Christine Cruppenink.

Ted started his career in construction as a young boy working for his father. Early in his adult life, he worked as a draftsman at the former Elliott Lumber Company, moving on to engineering draftsman at Tee-Pak, and then returning to his father’s general construction firm, Ore W. Vacketta & Sons, Inc., first as an estimator/project manager, and ultimately leading the company as its President. He retired from his professional career in 2004. Ted was known by his peers and associates as an honest hardworking individual who would always treat you fairly and give you his best effort in whatever he did.
In 1965 Ted joined Further Light Lodge #1130, and received his certificate from the Grand Lodge of Illinois A.F. & A.M. in 2015 as a fifty-year Master Mason.

Ted loved all types of sports and games. He participated in football and track in high school, played many years of church softball, and coached little league baseball. However, his favorite sport was golf, which he played most of his adult life. In his prime he carried a handicap in the mid-single digits, and ultimately experienced the thrill of a hole-in-one on two separate occasions. One year he was crowned the Club Champion at the former Vermilion Hills Country Club. Ted loved to bowl and participated in mixed leagues with Linda for several years. Card games of all types were enjoyed, especially euchre, bridge, and poker. He was a perennial favorite at the annual Vacketta Family Reunion Bocce tournament.

Ted will be greatly missed by his family and many friends, but we are thankful that our lives have been enriched so much by his presence and love.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 4-7PM at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Danville with Masonic Services from Further Light Lodge #1130 at 7:00PM. Funeral service will be held on Friday, February 24, 2017 at 11AM with Rev. Jessica Vacketta officiating. Burial will be at Sunset Memorial Park following the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be offered in Ted’s name to Carle Hospice Home Services 611 W. Park Street Urbana, Illinois 61801, or Danville Central Christian Church Foundation, Inc., Danville, IL. Please join Ted’s family in sharing photos and memories on his tribute wall at

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Richard H. Summersgill - Russell Lodge

GEORGETOWN – Richard H. Summersgill, 95, of Georgetown passed away on Friday (Feb. 17, 2017) at Presence United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville.
He was born March 26, 1921, in Kane, Pa., to Hubert and Ellen {Carlson} Summersgill. On Nov. 26, 1943, he married June Hammond in Erie, Pa. She preceded him in death on Aug. 19, 2012. They were married for 68 years.
Surviving are his daughter, Chris (Jim) Hines of Bloomington and their children, Laura (Dan) States of Madison, Wis., David (fiancr Sara) Hines of Bloomington and Sara (John) Mullins of Milwaukee; daughter, Rita Casner of Westville and her child, Dawn (Justin) Varvel of Westville; great-grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Jillian States and Mia and Max Varvel; and many other caring relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; loving wife; son-in-law, Jim Casner; and brother, Rene Summersgill.
Richard was a veteran of the U.S. Army and proudly served his country in World War II and the Korean War. He graduated from Cleveland State University on his GI Bill with a degree in mechanical engineering. Richard spent most of his professional life as a mechanical engineer with General Electric and North American Phillips.
He achieved the honor of 32 Degree Mason as well as a member of Georgetown United Methodist Church. Richard loved to travel and was excited to plan his family's yearly vacation. He loved to be outdoors, the hotter the better. Richard and June loved their winters spent in Texas together. Richard was a jack of all trades, and there was nothing he couldn't fix and no project too big to take on. He could do anything. His daughters would like to thank him for being such an active father, for their hand-built Barbie dollhouse, igloos made of real snow, baby doll furniture and numerous other things he made. The greatest gift he gave to his daughters was as a result of his service in Germany during the Korean War. He and June brought back two adopted girls from Germany home to the United States. "Thank you for choosing us to be your children."
The family would like to send a thank you to the staff at Presence USMC, 4 East, for the care they provided. A special thank you to Dr. Sodhi for his compassionate care and friendship over the years.
A celebration of Richard's life will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, at Sunset Houghton-Leasure Funeral Home, 200 E. West St., Georgetown. Pastor Matt Filicsky will officiate. Richard will be laid to rest in Georgetown Cemetery. Military honors will be performed by Georgetown American Legion Post 203. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Masonic services will begin at 4 p.m. prior to visitation. Memorials in Richard's name may be made to Georgetown United Methodist Church Renovation Fund, 400 N. Main Street, Georgetown. Please join his family in sharing memories on his tribute wall at
We will always remember, "It's just down the road a piece …"

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Louis J. Nelson - Western Star

ST. JOSEPH – Louis J. "Lou" Nelson, 92, of St. Joseph passed away at 10:10 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 16, 2017) at Meadowbrook, Urbana.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 802 E. Douglas St., St. Joseph, with the Rev. Seth Jersild officiating. Burial will be in Patterson Cemetery, St. Joseph. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church. Freese Funeral Home, 302 E. Grand Ave., St. Joseph, is in charge of arrangements.
Lou was born Sept. 26, 1924, at Waterloo, Iowa, the son of Harold Ejner and Frances M. Lowry Nelson. He married Maxine Edith Ulm on Sept. 26, 1946, at Zion Lutheran Church, Jubilee, Iowa. She survives.
Also survived are his children, James D. Nelson of Brookshire, Texas, Deborah L. Nelson of Houston, Texas, Gregory H. Nelson of Littleton, Colo., Rebecca L. (Jeff) Freese of Summerville, S.C., and Susan (Marty) McLain of St. Joseph; 12 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one sister, one grandchild and one great-grandchild.
Lou graduated from Jesup Consolidated School, Jesup, Iowa; Naval Air Technical Training Center, Norman, Okla., aviation machinist mate (A school and B school), FM-2 Wildcats; NATTC, Chicago (C school), aircraft carburetor specialist; Junior Bank Officers School at Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.; and Illinois Bankers School, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Lou was employed by the U.S. Navy, Norfolk, Va., aviation machinist mate (3c), and Fentress Field, March 1943 to April 1946; and Naval Reserve, October 1949 to October 1953, aviation machinist mate (3c). After the service, he farmed the home farm in Jesup, Iowa. He was also employed by Consumer Finance, April 1950 to January 1971, retiring from Associates Financial Services as supervisor (AVP); State Bank of St. Joseph, starting in 1971, cashier, executive vice president, president-CEO, trust officer, director and board secretary; and St. Joseph Bankcorp (bank holding company), director, president and board secretary until merger with Busey Bank in August 1989, retiring as Busey vice president on Dec. 31, 1989.
Lou's memberships included past member, Waterloo Lodge 105 AF&AM; past member and past master, St. Joseph Lodge 970 AF&AM; present member, Western Star Lodge 240 AF&AM, Champaign, Scottish Rite AASR, Danville (life member), and Ansar Shrine, Springfield; past member, Mohammed Shrine, Peoria; past member, GAO Grotto, Danville; past member, Moose, Des Moines, Iowa; past member, Elks, Sterling, Ill.; past member, Jaycees, Waterloo, Iowa, and Sterling, Ill.; past member and president, St. Joseph Chamber of Commerece; past president, Champaign County Bankers Association; member and past treasurer and council member, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, St. Joseph; member, Experimental Aircraft Association; member, American Legion, St. Joseph; and past member, American Legion, Jessup, Iowa.

Roger Newell - Russell Lodge

Roger R. Newell, 54, of Westville, passed away (Feb. 16, 2017) at home. He was born Oct. 25, 1962 in Danville, the son of Haven and Myrtle (Smothers) Newell. He married Deana Minton on Oct. 23. 1998 in Bismark.

Surviving are his wife Deana, his daughters Brandi, Danielle and Samantha. His Step-children Jami, Jeremiah and Chad. His sisters Penny Swider (Mike Sams), Connie (Herman) Morris and Cris Milliken (Richard Riecks). His very special nephew Jeff (Diane) Newell and their children Kendall, Lani and Lexi. His grandchildren Bailey, Cassidy, James, Kimberly and Christopher. Also Logan, Gage, Trinity and Bianca.

Roger was self-employed as Newell Services for the last 20 years. He was well respected in all aspects of his line of work.

He always had a smile and hug for everyone and would do anything for you.

Roger was a 32 degree Mason and Shriner.  He was a member of Russell Lodge #154 for 15 years. 

He loved family, friends and singing karaoke and riding his Harley.

A celebration of life will be held Feb. 22, 2017 in the Community Building at the Georgetown Fairgrounds from 4 to 8 p.m.  A masonic service will be held at 7 p.m.

Roger was cremated per his wishes.  Rortvedt Funeral Services & Crematory in Tilton is assisting the family.  Online condolences @

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Michael C. Upperman

DANVILLE – Michael C. Upperman Sr., 76, of Danville passed peacefully from this life on Thursday (Feb. 2, 2017) at Hawthorne Inn in Danville.
He was born on May 1, 1940, in Danville, the son of James Earl and Lydia (Howard) Upperman. He married Phyllis Burchett in September 1957. They had three children together. She survives. He later married Carolyn (Volkel) Perry in May 1968. She preceded him in January 2016.
Mike was employed by the City of Danville's Fire Department for 37 years. He retired in 2001 as an assistant fire chief.
He had a strong work ethic and liked to stay busy. Prior to retirement, he almost always worked a second job. His working career began in the late 1950s as a manager for the Marty K restaurants. From the mid-1970s until its closing, he was employed by the Smith & White Co. motorcycle shop in Danville. He later worked for Jim Davis Electric as an apprentice electrician.
Mike was a U.S. Army veteran. He was also a 32nd Degree Mason, as well as a member of the American Legion Post 210. He had attended Edgewood Baptist Church.
His interests and hobbies have included racing motorcycles, coaching his son's baseball team, taking three- to four-day road trips, antique shopping and refinishing old furniture. He was a handyman and could fix just about anything.
Mike was a very generous man. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone with a need. He was a man of his word and sealed most agreements on a handshake. He enjoyed a quiet and simple lifestyle.
He loved his family and friends and was always there to offer a word of encouragement. Many times, he would remind you that your difficult circumstance was not permanent and "this too shall pass."
He always looked forward to family get-togethers that included lots of laughs and storytelling. He was a fan of old country and old Gospel music. He had a thirst for knowledge and loved to read.
Mike will be deeply missed by his daughter, Teresa Baldwin of Danville; son, Michael Upperman Jr. (Pam Hartsough) of Clinton, Ind.; former wife and recent companion, Phyllis Quigley of Danville; sister, Norma Jean (Jim) Long of Danville; granddaughters, Kristen (Jason) Landis of Danville and Courtney Upperman of Springfield; great-granddaughter, Emma Landis of Danville; special friend and stepdaughter, Pam (Larry) Pfleiderer of Monticello; nieces, nephews and cousins; and his beloved cat, Little Cat.
He was also preceded in death by his parents; an infant daughter, Joyce Michelle Upperman; and grandson, Michael Upperman III.
Per his wishes, he will be cremated and there will be no services. Burial will be in Sunset Memorial Park.
Please join Mike's family in sharing photos, videos and memories on his tribute wall at

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ernest N. Thorp

CLINTON – Ernest N. Thorp, 95, of rural Clinton passed away at 8:47 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 31, 2017) at Hawthorne Inn, Clinton.
Our family wishes to thank the staff at Hawthorne Inn as well as the 24/7 caregivers who gave such loving and dedicated care to Ernest.
Services for Ernest will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Clinton United Methodist Church, 308 E. Main St., Clinton, with the Rev. C. Don Ferrill officiating. Burial with military honors will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery, Clinton. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the church, with Masonic Rites at 4 p.m.
Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family requests memorials be given to the Clinton United Methodist Church Endowment Fund or the American Red Cross, Central Illinois Processing Center, P.O. Box 811460, Chicago, IL 60681-1460, or to a charity of the donor's choice.
Ernest was born on Feb. 3, 1921, in Clinton, the son of Claude W. and M. Louise (Carter) Thorp. He married Mary Ellen Harris in 1945 (she passed away in 1986), Verneal Dunn in 1990 (she passed away in 2005), and Helen Hume in 2006.
Survivors include his wife, Helen; son, Nelson I. (Linda) Thorp of rural Wapella; daughters, Carol van Rossum of Lincoln, Neb., Marjorie Thorp of Bothell, Wash., and Zelda Lewis of Joliet; son, Lewis A. (Cathy) Thorp of Herndon, Va.; seven grandchildren, Jennifer (Trent) Klomhaus, Natalie (Rory) O'Connell, Jered (McKenzie) Thorp, Emily (Jason) Plourde, Kira (Gabrial) van Rossum, Sarah (Steve) Kaminsky and Doug (Emily) Lewis; eight great-grandchildren; three sisters, Andrea Miller of Winston-Salem, N.C., Ruth Lutz of Dewey and Norma Wedekind of Raymond; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Carl E.; three sisters, Evalyn, Mary Alice Moberly and Sarah Jackson; and son-in-law, Charles van Rossum.
Ernest lived and thrived on the farm. He attended Thorp Grade School, Wapella High School Class of 1939, Illinois State Normal University for two years and then graduated from the University of Illinois in 1943.
Ernest obtained his private pilot's license in 1941.
He served in the Army Air Forces (1943-1945) as a B-17 pilot. He was shot down over the North Sea and was a POW for nine months.
Upon coming home, he joined his brother and father in the family seed business, Thorp Seed Company. He retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a captain.
His community involvement included the Methodist Churches of Prairie Center and Clinton. He was proud to become a certified lay leader of the church and served on district and conference boards of the United Methodist Church.
He served on the Wapella School Board and was able to give all 5 of his children their high school diplomas.
Other involvements included being a director of First National Bank of Clinton, the Masonic Orders, Kiwanis, Farm Bureau, DeWitt County Housing Authority, DeWitt County Building Commission, DeWitt County Conservation Board, DeWitt County Co-op and the Clinton YMCA.
Ernest was an active member of the International Flying Farmers and served through the executive offices.
He received great satisfaction in speaking publicly about his World War II experiences. His passions were flying (accumulating over 7,000 hours over 70 years), reading, trees, birds and his beloved Chicago Cubs baseball team. Numerous people had their first airplane ride with Ernest as a pilot.
Ernest was known about town for his 1977 White Ford LTD station wagon that he drove until 2014. Whether it be driving to the post office or busting snow drifts, it was special to him in many ways.
Ernest was recognized by the community for his philanthropic gifts.
Ernest's life was based on his faith, his love of family, flying and community. A man who made a difference to many, in many different ways. "He was just a boy that wanted to be home on the farm."
Online condolences may be made at

Friday, February 3, 2017

Robert Makemson - Anchor Lodge

Robert MakemsonRobert Makemson, 78, of Danville passed away on January 27, 2017 peacefully at his home. 
He was born on February 27, 1938 in Vermilion County, IL the son of Ray and Nellie (Morrow) Makemson. He married Judith Sands on March 1, 1959 in Danville, IL. They shared 57 years of marriage and she survives. 

Bob will be deeply missed by his wife, Judy, children; Bill (Teresa) Makemson of Danville, Lora (Tom) Reynolds of Danville and David (Lisa) Makemson of Danville, brother, Bart (Angie) Makemson of Danville, twelve grandchildren, thirteen great grandchildren and special friend, Ron Mockbee. 
He was preceded in death by his parents, three sisters, one brother, two grandsons and special friends, Delores Curry and John Hoover. 

Bob was a truck driver for Hires Trucking Co. for 12 years, then drove for McCartin McCauliffe Construction for 13 years before retiring in 1992. He was the caretaker of Bethel Cemetery in Blount Township for over 60 years and the road commissioner for 4 years. Bob was a Cub Scout leader, 32nd degree mason of Anchor Lodge #980 and a member of CrossRoads Christian Church. He loved hunting, fishing, gardening, camping and most of all watching his grandchildren and great grandchildren play sports. 

A celebration of Bob’s life will be on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 10:00 AM at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Danville with Miles Clark officiating. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 from 4:00-8:00 PM at the funeral home. He will be laid to rest at Bethel Cemetery. Memorials can be made in care of his wife Judy. Please join Bob’s family in sharing photos and memories on his tribute wall at
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