News and Observations from Wapella, Illinois: Home of the Wildcats.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011 Mourns the Passing of Anna Martha Matheny

Anna Martha Matheny, 89, Wapella, died at 12:20 a.m. Tuesday (Nov. 29, 2011) at Manor Court, Clinton.

Her funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, with Tim Barbee officiating. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery, Clinton. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to American Cancer Society or Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

She was born Aug. 14, 1922, at Weldon, to Lawrence and Mildred Gibson Long.

Surviving are her children, Jack E. (Joan) Morris, Clinton; Marvin (Linda Hardesty) Morris, Wapella; Allen (Della) Morris, Clinton; and Linda (Fritz) Jackson, Wapella; 12 grandchildren; and 26 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, three grandsons and one sister, Twila West. Our condolences to the the Morris family, and all of Anna-Martha's relatives.

Saturday, November 12, 2011 Mourns the Passing of Dorothy Cisco

Dorothy Jane Cisco, 89, Maroa, died at 6:15 a.m. Thursday (Nov. 10, 2011) at Manor Court, Clinton.

Her funeral will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, with Tim Barbee officiating. Burial will be in Maroa Cemetery, Maroa. Friends may call from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to Wapella Christian Church.

Dorothy was born Sept. 19, 1922, at Maroa, daughter of Derrick and Bertha Ferree Braden. She married Wayne Thrift in 1941. He passed away in 1944. She later married Herbert Lyle Cisco on June 5, 1948, in Clinton. He passed away Dec. 8, 2003.

Dorothy had a great sense of humor, loved life and cherished her friendships.
Her church was very important to her and her main topic of conversation was her nieces and nephews who she loved dearly. Those nieces and nephews remaining are Bill Schroeder, Franklin Park; Robert Braden and Steve Braden, both of Maroa; Russel Hawks, Metamora; Ron Braden, Maroa; Mary Gualano, Estero, Fla.; Charlotte Crabtree, Decatur; Ruth Ann Wilson, Clinton; and Margaret Jane VonBoeckman, Peoria; and a special cousin, Jerry Cisco, Waynesville.

She was preceded in death by her parents; four brothers; two sisters; nephew, Dick Schroeder; and niece, Jane Blanchard.

She was a member of Wapella Christian Church.

She was a retired employee of Ace Hardware, Clinton, and former employee of General Telephone Co. and Thorp Seed Co.

Dorothy Cisco was a great neighbor and friend to many in the village of Wapella. She will be sadly missed. Our condolences to the Cisco family.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

RIP Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier, one of the all time great boxers and athletes, and tonics to the hype of professional sports, has died at age 67. Frazier had one of the all-time great rivalries with Muhammed Ali, which brought on some tough reactions

As usual, Ali didn't miss a chance to verbally attack his foe in the days leading to the bout. This time it was worse than ever: He gave Frazier the nickname "Gorilla", called him ignorant and mocked him because of his ghetto slang. Frazier reciprocated with untypically bellicose statements: "I want to hurt him. I don't want to knock him out. I want to take his heart out."

Good obituary lifted here.

Joe Frazier, the heavyweight boxing champion who in 1971 became the first fighter to defeat Muhammad Ali, then lost two epic rematches including a ferocious battle known as the "Thrilla in Manila," died Monday night. He was 67.

Smokin' Joe, as he was known, died in Philadelphia, said his manager, Leslie Wolff. He had liver cancer.

It was a golden age of heavyweight boxing in the 1970s, when fight fans filled massive arenas and boosted the sport's television ratings to watch the likes of Ali and Frazier and George Foreman, Jerry Quarry and Ken Norton.

Photos: Joe Frazier through the years

In his 37 professional fights, Frazier won 32 times — 27 by knockout — and lost only four, with one draw. But he never really accepted his 1-2 record against Ali.

"I whupped him three times," Frazier said many times over the years.

They met for the first time on March 8, 1971, in New York's Madison Square Garden, with each fighter guaranteed $2.5 million. Ali, then 31-0, had been stripped of his heavyweight titles when, as Cassius Clay, he refused to be inducted into the military after being drafted for the Vietnam War. Frazier, at 26-0, had captured the title of undisputed heavyweight champion in 1970 with a technical knockout of Jimmy Ellis.

It was a brutal battle, rated by many as the "fight of the century" and considered the best boxing match of all time at any weight. When Frazier knocked Ali down in the 15th and final round and won on points, both received rave reviews for their performances. Both also went immediately to the hospital.

Before they could be paired again in the ring, Frazier defended his title four times, most notably on Jan. 22, 1973, against Foreman in Kingston, Jamaica.

Even the burly, fearsome-looking Foreman, who was 4 inches taller, admitted that the thought of getting into the ring with the brawling fireplug Frazier frightened him.

"Every time he swung at me," Foreman said, "it scared five years out of my life."

Nevertheless, in the second round, Foreman caught Frazier with a right uppercut that sent the fighter from Philadelphia to the canvas.

Sitting ringside for the boxing telecast was announcer Howard Cosell, by now internationally known for his boisterous and opinionated broadcast style. When Frazier, the champion, hit the deck, Cosell stole the moment and the show with his dramatic bellowing of the call:


It was as if he was calling an airplane crash rather than a boxing match. It not only stuck with Frazier, who got to his feet too late to avoid being counted out, but it is a mocking call to this day among boxing fans for all such spectacular knockdowns.

After Foreman took Frazier's title away, Frazier fought Ali twice more, losing in a more subdued battle in the Garden in 1974, when Ali kept Frazier away more effectively with holding and clinching, and a year later, after Ali had gotten his title back by beating Foreman in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).

It was for this third match, on Oct. 1, 1975, in Quezon City, the Philippines, that Ali predicted he would have an easy time with Frazier. In the pre-fight promotions for what was dubbed the "Thrilla in Manila," Ali called Frazier an "Uncle Tom" and a "gorilla" and repeatedly ridiculed him. The fight was anything but easy, and Ali later likened it to being "the closest thing to dying." By the 14th round, both having hit and been hit too many times to count, Frazier's eyes were nearly swollen shut and he couldn't see Ali's punches, even though he had stood in and flailed away for several rounds right through his near-blindness.

Finally, after the 14th round, his veteran trainer, Eddie Futch, over loud protests from Frazier, threw in the towel to end the fight.

"Sit down, son," Futch told Frazier. "It's all over. Nobody will ever forget what you did here today."

Frazier and Ali had fought 41 rounds and served up a boxing trilogy for the ages.

Frazier fought only two more times. In 1976, he lost to Foreman in a fifth-round knockout, announced his retirement, then finished for good in 1981 after a 10-round draw with Floyd Cummings.

Joseph William Frazier was born Jan. 12, 1944, in Beaufort, S.C. He was the youngest of 12 surviving children of Rubin and Dolly Frazier and lived his early life on a farm, where his parents worked as sharecroppers.

He was inspired to think about being a boxer when somebody told him he was built like a young Joe Louis, and when he was 15, he moved north to Philadelphia to stay with relatives and find work. One of his first jobs was in a slaughterhouse, where he would pummel the hanging slabs of beef for exercise. Years later, Sylvester Stallone borrowed from that scene for his "Rocky" movies.

Frazier worked his way through the ranks of local Golden Gloves competition in Philadelphia and lost only once as an amateur, to Buster Mathis, who beat him out of the heavyweight spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo. But Mathis was injured before the Games, Frazier won the spot back and took home a gold medal.

After his boxing career ended, Frazier purchased a gym in Philadelphia, where he lived in his later years. Along the way, he sang with a group called the Knockouts and had a clothing brand, a restaurant and a limousine service. He dabbled in investments and real estate.

The tension between Ali and Frazier remained for decades. Frazier could not forget the taunts and the insults — Ali always said they were nothing more than fight promotion hype — and when Frazier was interviewed shortly after Ali, shaking and feeble from dementia and Parkinson's disease, lighted the torch to begin the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, he said he wished Ali had "fallen into the fire."

But in an interview in Jet magazine later that year, and in some subsequent interviews, an aging Frazier said he no longer held a grudge.

"It's like we were fighting the Vietnam War," he said. "We should meet and hug."

Frazier, who was divorced from his wife, Florence, is survived by 11 children. His son Marvis was a heavyweight contender in the 1980s, and daughter Jacqui Frazier-Lyde fought and lost to Ali's daughter Laila in 2001.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Mourns the Passing of Katie Marie Lord Floyd

Katie Marie (Lord) Floyd, 23, of Charleston, passed away Saturday, October 29, 2011 as a result of an automobile accident. The funeral service honoring her life will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, November 3, 2011 at Salisbury Church-Charleston Campus, 2350 Madison Avenue, Charleston, with Scott Sims and Bret Hammond officiating. Burial will follow in Fairview Cemetery, Kansas. Visitation will be Wednesday evening from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the church. Arrangements: Harper-Swickard. Memorials in her honor may be directed to: The Epilepsy Foundation, Salisbury Church, or the Kansas Christian Church-Building Fund.

Katie was born September 25, 1988 at Mattoon, daughter of Alan (WHS '71) and Lisa (Kirchner) Lord. She married Riley Nathaniel Floyd, November 7, 2009 at the Kansas Christian Church; he survives. Also surviving is their son: Braxton Floyd at home; her parents: Alan and Lisa Lord of Charleston; her mother-in-law: Patty Peterson and husband Randy of Mattoon; her father-in-law: Scott Floyd of Mattoon; one brother: Jason Lord of Charleston; maternal grandparents: Charles and Glynette Kirchner of Kansas; paternal grandmother: Bernadine Hickman Lord of Clinton, IL; maternal great-grandfather: Glenn Hutchison and wife Nancy of Paris; Riley's grandparents: Malcolm and Carol O'Neil of Mattoon and James Floyd of Mattoon; uncles and aunts: Kurt Kirchner and wife Tara of Kansas, Ronald Lord and wife Louann of Clinton, Mary Hurst and husband Gordon of Mattoon, Linda Wooldridge (WHS '74) and husband Rick of Clinton, Rick Lord (WHS '77) and wife Elizabeth nee Holland (WHS '79) of Clinton, and Mark Lord (WHS '79) of Clinton; brother-in-law: Tyler Floyd of Dallas, TX; and sister-in-law: Mackenzie Floyd of Bloomington, IL. She was preceded in death by her paternal grandfather: Richard (Dick) Lord (WHS '43); and maternal great-grandparents: George and Lucile Kirchner and Leah Hutchison.

Katie was employed by Kirchner Building Centers in Charleston and Mattoon. She attended Salisbury Church-Charleston Campus, and was a member of the Kansas Christian Church. She graduated from Lake Land College with a degree in Cosmetology. Katie enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, and being a devoted mother to Braxton.

Our condolences to the Floyd and Lord families. May she Rest in Peace.

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