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

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tisdale, Illini Bump off WIldcats

What? Northwestern was in the top 25? That can't happen for long, so the Illini brought reality down on the Wildcats last night 89-83.

Mike Tisdale came around with 11 for 14 FG, leading the Illini with a career high 31 points and 11 rebounds. The game was nip and tuck.

Anyone up for the Wildcats hosting the Illini in Evanston? 1/23/10 7PM at Welsh Ryan

Saturday, December 26, 2009 Mourns the Passing of Daryl Lane

Daryl Lane, 92 of Wapella has passed away. Our condolences to the Lane and Karr families.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Great Moments in Kenny and Dolly Dole Out Christmas

Here's a retread from 2006

This album from 1984, when Kenny & Dolly worked together to bring a very Merry Christmas to their many fans. Kenny and Dolly look very merry indeed in this album cover.

Here's a little story I found about Kenny

I remember the day I first met Kenny Rogers like it was yesterday. I arrived to take Kenny from a large meeting of corporate executives to his press interviews on behalf of Dole Pineapple. I slipped in the door, intending to stay in the back until Kenny was ready to go. Kenny saw me come in, stopped the meeting with the Dole CEO and approached to shake my hand, "I'm Kenny Rogers." This was just one example of the way Kenny Rogers treated everyone with respect and made them feel that they mattered. He sent a powerful message that he valued others, from CEOs to press assistants.

Here's a clip from Kenny & Dolly singing "Winter Wonderland". Merry Christmas to All you good people from Wapella from Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and the entire staff of Dole Pineapple and

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

MXMAS: Thats Motorcross for Christmas

Back in the day, Glen Ellyn’s Jim Lambert was a frequent visitor to the motorcross track in Wapella. Jim tells fine tales of traveling to the village brotherly love and even coming back with some hardware from a race or two. Jim is seen pictured below - #767 actually and he’s in a nice spot in the race.

Jim is having a tough bout right now and is in the hospital today fighting away just like he fought in his Motorcross day in Jimtown. The staff at wishes Jim and his family all the best at Christmas and knows that the same fighting spirit that he showed in Wapella will prevail.

Godspeed Jim Lambert! Note: also pictured below is a recent snapshot of Jim in a Billy Jack hat.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Good Day For A Long Tall Glass of Leo Sayer

Big Tip of the Rock and Roll Glass to AJW who just purchased a (disputably short) copy of The Very Best of Leo Sayer. Sayer has been on the charts in the UK for 4 decades now, with his good time rock and roll (maybe not for his good hair and good looks).

Sayer hit the USA with a few hits and the steely determination to make it big back in 1973 prompting one Wildcat now living in Downer's Grove to shoot with

Just purchased and not just because of Leo’s hair or his fabulous shoes. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, When I Need You, More Than I Can Say…… doesn’t get any better.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Pride of New Athens Illinois: Congratulations Dorrel Norman Elvert "Whitey" Herzog

The Hall of Fame welcomes the great one, Whitey Herzog. Here's Whitey in action:

“I just got 45 games dumber.”
— Herzog after Bruce Sutter signed with the Atlanta Braves after the 1984 season.

“The Yankees have got (Rich) Gossage and (Sparky) Lyle. We’ve got Hungo, Mungo, the Duck and the Bird.”
— When Herzog’s Royals met the Yankees in the 1978 playoffs, the Yankees had a more high-priced and effective bullpen than the Royals’ four of Al Hrabosky, Steve Mingori, Marty Pattin and Doug Bird.

“We need three kinds of pitching — lefthanded, righthanded and relief.”
— Discussing some of the bad pitching staffs he had to endure in his several managerial stops, notably the 1973 Texas Rangers.

“Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it.”
— Thankful for all he’s received since he played his last big-league game in 1963.

“People said I had my own type of baseball, ‘Whiteyball.’ I don’t know about that. But I knew we were going to run. I knew we had to run.”
— On his championship teams featuring a running game designed for spacious Busch Stadium and its artificial turf.

“If I would say who taught me the most, it would be Casey Stengel. He told me things about fundamentals that I had never heard before.”
— Herzog on the New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame manager.

“I knew the first time I didn’t win, I was going to get fired.”
— Talking about his days in Kansas City when he was not in favor with owner Ewing Kauffman. When Herzog’s Royals finished three games off the pace in 1979 after three straight division titles, he was dismissed.

“Where the hell you been? I got trades to make.”
— Herzog to a Post-Dispatch reporter in December 1980, in a Dallas hotel lobby. Herzog, who had just taken over as the Cardinals’ general manager, either acquired or sent away 25 players in the next four days at baseball’s winter meetings. “Everybody thought I was crazy.”

“He’s another Baby Ruth.”
— Analysis of the June 1984 day in Chicago when Cubs second baseman Ryan Sandberg hit two home runs off relief ace Bruce Sutter in the same game.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Return of Really Stupid Music Video

There was something quite naive about the early 1980's MTV music video and the idea that a slopped together video recording with dubbed over vocals would somehow change the music world. Also, half-dressed women show up for no apparent reason. Come on, who actually though ZZ Top would be more appealing visually than on record?

The music world didn't change all that much, though movies and TV went to shorter cuts, punchier gags, and lower production values/stripped down performances. Night Ranger with Sister Christian, Survivor, The Bangles all were video hits that may have stalled (even quicker) without video.

Butch Walker is the busiest guy in show business producing hits, promoting shows, and even performing himself. I can't grip whether this video is a parody or he actually thinks it is profound to do a voice over saying

I don't want to drive around
And listen to your burned CD's
Through your sh***y car speakers
Of every band you think you've discovered
It's just gonna make me feel insecure

I'll go with a parody, but the song is still catchy, and the video is ridiculously amusing.
Rock on Butch Walker (who looks like he might be from Waynesville) with "The Weight of Her"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hog City Will Not Sleep Till There is Bovine Justice

I hereby pledge the full faith and resources of to stop this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Clinton Police Department is seeking the public's help investigating a burglary to a local business.

According to the Department, Toohill Beef located at 600 East Van Buren Street was burglarized some time on November 20
th. Officers indicate the owner of the business discovered that a person or persons had broken out a window on the south side of the business. The suspect(s) then entered the business and made off with some choice and prime meat products, a cell phone, and an undisclosed amount of cash. The burglary is believed to have occurred late on November 19th or early on November 20th.

If you have any information regarding these crimes or any other crimes please call Clinton Crime Stoppers at 935-3333. Callers remain anonymous and will receive a cash reward up to $1,000 for any information leading to an arrest.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mean Woman on Friday Afternoon

Enjoy a Mean Woman with Eric Clapton and Carl Perkins from an old HBO special. 2X the Guitar Power. Perkins costume and haircut is pure Hog City. Clapton looks like he has been watching Miami Vice.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11/11 Veterans Saluted

As always salutes those who served the country in military service. Here's a piece from the Clinton Public, re-arranging a celebration in honor of 2 regiments from DeWitt County. Waving the flag high today.

September 1, 1864


The following are the proceedings of a public meeting held in Clinton on the 26th of August 1864.

On motion, Col. J. J. KELLY was appointed Chairman, and H. S. GREENE, Secretary.

Whereas, The citizens of DeWitt county in extending a reception to the returned members of the 41st Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, on the 25th inst., and which reception was intended for all returned soldiers, unintentionally omitted to tender a formal invitation to the members of the 20th Regiment and other volunteers, and

Whereas, It is the desire of the people to manifest their regard for all our brave soldiers alike. Therefore be it

Resolved, That a public dinner be tendered by the citizens of DeWitt county to the 20th and 41st Regiments, and that all the gallant men who are or have been in the service of the United States, be cordially invited to attend.

Resolved, That said dinner be given at Clinton, at the hour of 2 o'clock, on the 9th day of September next.

Resolved, That Col. J. J. Kelly be a committee of one, to procure speakers.

Resolved, The Chairman appoint a committee of six persons to make arrangements for said dinner.

The Chairman therefore appointed the following persons to constitute said committee: John P. Mitchell, M. A. Morris, H. G. Tyler, William Haynie, R. H. Wheeler and F. E. Morgan.

Resolved, That the following named persons be a committee on finance: Barzilla Campbell, James DeLand and W. B. Smith of Clintonia; W. Y. McCord, of Santa Anna; W. H. Lafferty, of Rutledge; John Johnson, of Wilson; I. F. Emery, of Wapella; Wm. Robb, of Waynesville; Jacob Swigart, of DeWitt; G. B. Lemon, of Harp; J. R. Hall, of Barnett; W. H. Martin, of Nixon; I. Davenport, of Creek; Jonah Lingal, of Texas; J. A. Kinley, of Tunbridge.

Resolved, That the ladies of the county be earnestly requested to cooperate with the managing committee above named, in furthering the objects of this meeting, and that said committee take steps to secure the aid of the ladies of the county.

Resolved, That Captains North, Dannison and Harrell, and Lieut. Kelly, and all the other returned officers, be requested to procure the attendance of their respective commands, and of all who have at any time served the Nation as American soldiers.

Resolved, That the above proceedings be published in the CLINTON PUBLIC.

J. J. Kelly, Ch'mn
H. S. Greene, Sec'y

September 1, 1864

Arrangements for the Soldiers' Dinner.

The following committees have been appointed:
On Flags and Banners— N. E. Wheeler.
On Vocal Music— W. B. Smith, M. M. DeLevis and A. M. Werner.
On Provisions and tables:

Mrs. M. Danison Mrs. H. Crossley
Mrs. B. Campbell Mrs. J. Conklin
Mrs. R. R. Crang Mrs. J. H. Hill
Mrs. D. Crang Mrs. D. Hall
Mrs. Geo. Armstrong Mrs. N. W. Smith
Mrs. Joel Wilson Mrs. W. Catterlin
Mrs. J. E. Wightman Mrs. O. F. Morrison
Mrs. Ab. Phares Mrs. M. M. DeLevis
Mrs. E. Orahood Mrs. T. S. Dickerson
Mrs. O. Lakin Mrs. Wm. Bishop
Mrs. M. Donahue Mrs. C. P. Ford
Mrs. Wm. Clagg, Jr. Mrs. G. F. Phillips
Mrs. F. H. Bogar Mrs. Stevens
Mrs. J. B. Hunt Mrs. J. Lisenby
Mrs. R. Phares Mrs. S. Smith
Mrs. J. Wightwick Mrs. E. Kent
Mrs. Dr. Wright Mrs. J. J. Kelly
Mrs. L. D. Hovey Mrs. A. Argo
Mrs. I. N. Coltrin Mrs. Richards
Mrs. S. Edmiston Mrs. R. H. Wheeler
Mrs. M. Mohrle Mrs. M. A. Morris
Mrs. L. S. McGraw Mrs. Dr. Edmiston

The lady committee is expected to have the exclusive charge of the tables, provisions and all the arrangements of the same, before and during the Dinner. They are requested to wear a narrow blue ribbon as a distinguishing badge.

Citizens of the town and county are expected to deliver their contributions of provisions to the committee of arrangements, who will be found at the Jewelry store of R. H. Wheeler, and at the Fair Grounds after 8 o'clock on the morning of Friday.

The procession will form on the East side of the Court House, at 10 o'clock a.m., under direction of Jas. DeLand, Chief Marshal.

Monday, November 9, 2009 Mourns the Passing of James Roy Troxel

James Roy (Dugan) Troxel, 78, of rural Dewitt died Thursday, Oct. 29, at St. John's Hospital, Springfield. Cremation rites were accorded at Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton.
Dugan was the son of Jay and Nellie Crum Troxel of Troxel Brothers Grocery in Wapella. He was a graduate of Wapella High School Class of 1949.
He married Shirley Ann Reynolds in Decatur, Oct. 19, 1968. She survives along with a daughter, Tawnya Fogarty, Chattanooga, Tenn; a stepson, Rick Reynolds, Wapella (WHS 80) and a sister, Iona (Vincent) Murphy (WHS 45), Wapella. His parents, two brothers, Eugene (who taught and coached at Wapella High) and Dean Troxel, a son, Terry Joe Troxel and a stepson, Larry Reynolds Jr preceded him in death.
He was a tool maker for R.W. Corp. for 42years and a retired member of I.A.M. He was an avid motorcycle rider, fisherman and camper.

Our condolences to the Troxel and Reynolds families.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wapella Man Honored

Dennis "Black Jack" Toohill has been honored for his work in the field of Health Care. Toohill (WHS '82) went to Peoria for the award, where he was feted at a tradeshow. The Board of Wapella Historians has officially seconded this honor with the coveted Noveau Nomme de Guerre, Black Jack.

Panatagraph Story Below

CNA's honored

BLOOMINGTON - Hannah O'Neil and Dennis Toohill, certified nursing assistants at Heritage Manor, Bloomington, were nominated for the Illinois Health Care Association CNA of the Year award. Each was presented with a certificate of achievement during the recent 59th annual IHCA Convention and Tradeshow in Peoria.

O'Neil has worked at the nursing home for six years and is described as a hard worker who exhibits a positive attitude, promotes teamwork, is an excellent advocate for the residents and a mentor for new employees.

Toohill, formerly a business manager, went back to school to obtain his CNA certificate and became a licensed nursing home administrator. He is described as a team player whose goal is to improve the lives of all residents.


Way to go Black Jack!

Update: Happy 45th Birthday Black Jack!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Taylorville Man Defeated in Big Election

Jon Corzine, a 1965 graduate of Taylorville High School has been defeated in New Jersey's gubernatorial election, by a man named Chris Chritie, who kind of looks like former pro-wrestler Paul Christy, show at left with his manager Miss Bunny Love. Paul and Miss Bunny were known as the Bonny and Clyde of Pro Wrestling, (though I am not sure of the outlaw reference, would that be better as Bunny and Clyde?).

Paul and Miss Bunny are first-ever husband and wife team to be honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club. It's the pinnacle of a whirlwind career that has brought Christy money, fame -- and love.

Paul went to Mt Carmel High School on Chicago's South Side, the same high school as Donovan McNabb, Antoine Walker and Denny McClain, before taking up a career in the square circle.

Reflecting on a career spanning more than three decades led Christy to recently write a book, The Many Faces of Paul Christy. It's the story of Christy's life as he wrestled with the ups and downs of the mat game. He can't wait for this year's Cauliflower Alley Club ceremony to swap stories with fans, family, and friends alike.

To order a copy of The Many Faces of Paul Christy, please call 1-888-280-7715.

Jon Corzine (who kind of looks like DePaul Blue Demon and Chicago Bull Dave Corzine) g
rew up on a small family farm in Willey Station, Illinois and near Taylorville. After completing high school at Taylorville High School where he had been the football quarterback and basketball captain he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, and graduated in 1969, earning Phi Beta Kappa honors. While in college, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and served from 1969 until 1975, attaining the rank of sergeant. In 1970 he enrolled in the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, from which he received a Master of Business Administration degree in 1973.

Friday, October 30, 2009

More Pies: C'Mon Phillies, Serve it up to the Yankees

Nothing better in October than not having a horse in the race for the World Series. I have really enjoyed the first 2 games pitting the Yankee's vs. the Phillies. Well played, competitive, and looking like the two best teams in baseball, its worth watching for the sake of being a good sportsman.

To more juvenile things, the Yankees are incredibly irritating with such a bunch of buffoons for fans that the entire rest of the country including Queens, Brooklyn, and 1/2 of Manhattan should be rooting against the Bronx Bombers. The Phillies are no prize either, with images of Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams still in my head from 20 years ago, but they do not have a supine press cheering for them either (Joe Buck and Tim McCarver aside..they have been at the top of their game).

I'll pull for the Phillies to serve up some Humble Pie to the Yanks, and start it off right here with some Humble Pie featuring Steve Marriott and company doing Eddie Cochrane's "C'Mon Everybody". Two points for the second (I think lead) guitarist on this cut.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pie-splattered comedian Soupy Sales dies at 83

Soupy Sales, a pioneer of slapstick television comedy who once estimated he had taken 20,000 pies in the face, died on Thursday night in a New York hospice, the Detroit Free Press reported. He was 83.

Born Milton Supman in Franklinton, North Carolina, Sales began his TV career in Detroit in 1953 as the host of the goofball "Lunch with Soupy," a half-hour show that featured a cast of imagined characters including a dog named White Fang, who communicated through a string of guttural noises.

Sales also conjured up Hippy the Hippo, Willy the Worm and Black Tooth, a sloppily affectionate dog -- characters that carried over to a late-night comedy-variety show, "Soupy's On," which aired five nights a week in Detroit in the 1950s.

The program, which aired on ABC-owned affiliate Channel 7, broke new ground in the pre-civil rights era by regularly featuring some of the top black jazz performers of the 1950s, including Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.

Sales left Detroit in 1959 for an ABC-affiliate in Los Angeles and later hosted nationally syndicated children's shows in New York and Los Angeles.

He stirred up a hornet's nest with his show on New York's WNEW-TV in the mid-60s by asking kids to go into Mommy's purse, pull out the paper money and mail it to him at the station.

He was suspended for that stunt but reinstated after huge demonstrations in front of the New York studio.

The comedian never lost his contempt for TV executives, contending they had ruined television. He has said most station managers wouldn't "know a tap dancer from a trombone player" and their main contribution to TV was "getting drunk on their six-martini lunches," the Free Press reported.

Sales, survived by his wife, Trudy, and two sons, Hunt and Tony, had been in ill health for several years.

Here's Soup doing his Hi-Energy Rock and Roll Shtick Hit "The Mouse"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 Mourns the Passing of June Thomas

June Harmon Thomas, 103, of Clinton died 4:30 a.m. Monday (Oct. 19, 2009) in Manor Court, Clinton. Services will be 11 a.m. Friday in Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, with the Revs. Leah Pogemiller, Burt McIntosh and C. Don Ferrill officiating. Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. Burial will be in Clinton Mausoleum. Memorials: Clinton United Methodist Church, Cancer Fund, Diabetes Foundation or donor's choice. June was born June 5, 1906, in Crookston, Minn., the son of H.D.K. and Alice E. McKinney Thomas. He was a member of Clinton United Methodist Church and DeWitt County Farm Bureau. He was a retired farmer and leader of the Tabor Young Farmers 4-H Club for many years. He married Helen L. Burwell on Aug. 4, 1932, in Waynesville. She preceded him in death Dec. 20, 1992.

Surviving are his children, Robert J. (Barbara) Thomas and Ronald D. (Jane Ann) Thomas, all of Clinton; Reva K. Stillman of Frankfort; Rachel L. (Lester) Woolridge of Clinton; grandchildren, Kathy Lynn Sullivan; Karen Ann Ferguson; Kristy Jean Aikin; Karol Lee Wilson; Bradley Dean Thomas (WHS '81); Sarah K. Holt (WHS '83); Bruce E. Thomas (WHS '90); Susan R. Thomas (WHS '92); Michael A. Stillman; Bryan D. Stillman; Todd A. Stillman; Angela L. Adducci; Becky Ann Perry; Rodney L. Woolridge; Randy T. Woolridge; step-great-grandchldren, Eric Sullivan; Blake Holt; Brooke Holt; and 20 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; son-in-law, Jerry A. Stillman; grandson, Mark A. Stillman; brother, John Thomas.

Online guest book at www. Obituaries.asp

Mr. Thomas will be sadly missed by the residents of the Village of Wapella, where his family spent many years. Our condolences to the Thomas, Stillman and Woolridge families.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Policy Violation...Sort of Cute Joke Published

"American Indians Work to Break Stereotypes at Pow Wow"--headline, Jackson (Mich.) Citizen-Patriot, Oct. 19
Step 1: Cancel Powwow

Monday, October 19, 2009 Mourns the Passing of Darline Lane

Darline M. Lane, 76, of Wapella died at 12:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 17, 2009) at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington.

Her memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at the VFW Post 4168 in Clinton. Carmody-Flynn Williamsburg Funeral Home, Bloomington, is in charge of arrangements.

Memorials may be made to the VFW Post 4168 Ladies Auxiliary.

Darline was born May 11, 1933, in Los BaƱos, the daughter of Frank and Dorothy Russell Smith. She married Mark W. Lane on Dec. 3, 1967. He survives.

Also surviving are her children, Robert (Debby), Washington state; William, Wapella; Jonni (WHS '74), Bloomington; Tracy (Bill), Washington state; and Lon (WHS '77), Wapella; her grandchildren, Cara, John, Heather, Nick, Gary, Rusty, Billy, Natalie, Lynn (WHS '90), Jason (WHS '92), John, Brandon, Mark, Tim and Kevin; 12 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Barbara Herrick and Colleen Sullivan, both of California; and her father-in-law, Daryl E. Lane, Wapella.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Kathleen; and her mother-in-law, Dorothy A. Lane.

Darline was the former owner of Computer Solutions in Wapella. She was a lifetime member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary and was very active with the ASPCA when she lived in California. Darline loved Harleys, crafting, shopping, computers, her kitties, Sugar and her coffee.

Our condolences to the Lane, Stamps, and Karr families.

Friday, October 16, 2009

An Evening with Brooks Robinson

Just got this invitation in the mail. Looks great. When I read that Ross Grimsley was going to be there, I bought my ticket. Anyone want to carpool in a 1977 Ford Granada from Wapella to Baltimore for this one?

Babe Ruth Museum Annual Gala
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
October 26th, 2009

The Babe Ruth Museum’s annual gala celebrates a significant figure or crowning achievement in Maryland sports history. The 2009 event, “An Evening with Brooks,” will celebrate legendary Baltimore Orioles third baseman and National Baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson.

The evening at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall will begin with a VIP/Cocktail reception, followed by a program honoring Robinson. The event will include tributes to Robinson from some special guests, heavy passed hors d'oeuvres, food stations, an open premium bar and silent auction.

Known as “The Human Vacuum Cleaner,” Robinson established a standard of excellence for modern-day third basemen. He played 23 seasons for the Orioles, setting Major League career records for games, putouts, assists, chances, double plays and fielding percentage. A clutch hitter, Robinson totaled 268 career home runs, at one time an American League record for third basemen. Robinson earned the league's MVP Award in 1964 and the World Series MVP in 1970, when he hit .429 and made a collection of defensive gems.

He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 after receiving 344 votes of 374 cast (91.98%) and was named as the third baseman for the Rawlings 50th Anniversary All-Time Gold Glove Team. He won 16 Gold Gloves over his career.

The event benefits The Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation. In addition, $5.00 from each ticket sold will be donated to the American Cancer Society in honor of Brooks & Constance Robinson.

VIP/Cocktail Reception
6:00pm to 7:30pm

7:30pm to 9:30pm

VIP/Cocktail Reception & Program: $105.00
Program only: $55.00

Our VIP Guests
Baseball Hall of Fame, 2007
Baseball Hall of Fame, 1996

Baseball Hall of Fame, 1990
Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1975
Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1968
Basketball Hall of Fame, 1988


(President, Baseball Hall of Fame)
(Composer of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy")

And Some Rock for a Wet Friday

Here is a new supergroup, Tinted Windows, starring a guy from Rockford on drums.

Two points if you can identify the rest of the band members, and yes one of them is a former teen star.

Firefighting in Wapella

Here is a good shot from the Pantagraph from a recent fire in Wapella.

Sorry to hear about the Fire. Are those Wapella Volunteers fighting the fire?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two Points if you Can Identify

I never really thought I needed one of these till recently when I started to install a canvas roof on my kids' playhouse.

Two points if you can identify this tool. My guess is over 50% of the population of Wapella has two or more of these benchmounted presses, or if not, they would like to.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Posting the Post Office: DeWitt County Goes to Town

If you were going to sell one of the largest office buildings in the world, who would you call? Well, the US General Accounting Office played it smart and called DeWitt County's own Harlan Powers to drum up bids for the old Chicago Post Office on Van Buren.

That's Harlan with Liverpool developer Bill Davies, looking rather stoic (despite my 9th cousin's best efforts) as pictured in the Chicago Tribune this morning.

The building is simply huge, 14 stories straddling the Eisenhower (Congress) Expressway (I-290) on one of the major entrances to the Loop. I think this is Martin Auction services doing the auction here, or else someone of great wisdom just pulled in some locals to make the sale . No job is too big for the good people from Martin's, no job.

NBC says the $40 Million sale may not be going through, but there may be a $4 Million bond in play on this one. Could it be that Martin's will have to drum up some more interest?

A couple of questions linger...

1) How much could Martin's drum up for the Wapella post office? Would celebrity appearances by Kent Harris or Goldie Hedrick increase the price?

2) When was the last time Harlan Powers put on a tuxedo? Was it for an auction or another procedure?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 Mourns the Passing of Raymond Gee

Raymond Gee, who grew up as Raymond "Rick" Brown, the son of Larry Brown, in Wapella has tragically died in Beason Illinois. As I recall my classmate and double desk partner in grade school, Ricky Brown, was a good natured, friendly and helpful Wildcat, who enjoyed a good laugh with the other members of the Class of 82. Always giving 110% in PE and Noontime Sports, Ricky was well liked for his Wildcat spirit and humor.

I did not keep contact with Ricky's after Wapella Junior High, but Ricky's obituary tells a fitting story:
RIP Rick Brown.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Get Marooned...Go Apple...Go Pork..

Tired of the fast paced lifestyle in Wapella? This weekend, enjoy the simple life in Clinton, Illinois, the seat of DeWitt County, the site of the annual Apple and Pork Festival.

Read More Here about the happening at the CH Moore Estate

Here is the Apple and Pork Facebook Page

Sounds like great fun. Can we get a full report from the Rover?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 Mourns the Passing of Lynette Whitted

Elizabeth "Lynette" Whitted, 68, of LeRoy, passed away at 9:40 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 19, 2009) at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.

Her funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Calvert-Belangee-Bruce Funeral Home, LeRoy, with Father Patrick Henehan officiating. Burial will be in Oak Grove Cemetery, LeRoy. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. today at the funeral home. A rosary service will be at 3:30 p.m. today at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the Illinois Spina Bifida Association.

Lynette was born Aug. 1, 1941, at Decatur, a daughter of Harry G. and Evelyn Dash Morgan. She married Ben Whitted on June 20, 1958, in Clinton.

Surviving is her husband, Ben Whitted, LeRoy; mother, Evelyn Morgan, Normal; two sons, Andy WHS 77 (Etta WHS 77) Whitted, Clinton, and Gene WHS 79 (Mary WHS 79) Whitted, Wapella; daughter, Stephanie (Kyle) Bazzell, Mooresville, N.C.; seven grandchildren, Nathan (Natalie) Whitted; Brandon (Brie) Whitted; Jordan (Courtney) Whitted; Brittnay Whitted (Jeremy Haag); Neil (Breanna Douglas) Whitted; Ross Whitted; and Chase Bazzell; one great-granddaughter, Celia Whitted; one brother, H. Glen (Bonnie) Morgan, Collinsville; and two sisters, Marilyn Pennypacker, Hopedale, and Rachel (Bud) Blickensderfer, Bowling Green, Ohio.

She was preceded in death by a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Whitted; father, Harry G. Morgan; and brother, Ronald Morgan.

Lynette was the office manager for Dr. Greg Randolph and Associates, Bloomington. She was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Wapella, and a member of the LeRoy Country Club.

She was an avid NASCAR fan.

Lynette was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and will be deeply missed by all. Ben and Lynette were longtime residents of Wapella.

please fill in the WHS dates for the grandchildren if you have them

Monday, September 21, 2009 Mourns the Passing of Lynette Whitted

It is with great sorrow that we report the news that Lynette Whitted has been killed in a motorcycle accident. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Calvert-Belangee-Bruce Funeral Home in LeRoy. Lynette Whitted, wife of Ben Whitted, was a long time resident of Wapella, and a outstanding member of the community.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Decatur: The New Hollywood

If you're like me, (and who isn't these days) , nothing makes you want to see a movie like a familiar setting. That's why I chose to line up for any movie shot in Decatur, Illinois, including The Informant starring Matt Damon. Damon plays Mark Whitacre, an executive at Archer Daniels Midland, caught up in a string of Federal Investigations, strategic leaks, and alleged corporate scandal.

Whitacre was a piece of work, and spent a significant amount of time in Mowequa. The movie made by the director of Oceans 11, promises to be amusing as well as informative.

A few questions...

1) Any locals appearing as extras in the show?
2) Will the austere Decatur Club, habitat of ADM Execs be revealed?
3) What other movie stars have portrayed Central Illinois characters?
4) What other movies have been filmed in Decatur?

Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze, the acclaimed dancer and actor has died at age 57, after a heroic battle with pancreatic cancer. Swayze, best known in Wapella for his lead role in the 1984 movie Grandview USA, set in Pontiac, Illinois, was a multi-talented performer, suceeding in action movies like Red Dawn (another Wapella favorite), high energy musicals (which should be banned in Wapella) Dirty Dancing, and romantic tearjerkers (can't get enough of it) Ghost.

A likable, self-depreciating (despite being named People's Sexiest Man Alive) all-purpose star, Swayze was married his wife Lisa from 1975 till his recent death. RIP Patrick Swayze, a class act.

Here's Swayze cutting it up with Chris Farley, both great dancers. HT Jason Karr

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11/01 Wapella Remembers Those Who Fell

It was 8 years ago today that New York City, Washington DC and the United States in general came under a massive terrorist attack. It was a mess but the country has been relatively safe from terrorism since then, due to the hard work of our armed forces and law enforcement officials everywhere. Thanks for that.

So how about a moment of it....but how do you celebrate the USA better than with what is best about it? What is it that says down but not out? You guessed it, with some Rock and Roll from Jerry Lee Lewis, Keith Richards, and Gary Busey. These three have all had a few toasts in their day, and look to be having a good time playing Jerry Lee's "High School Confidential" Check out Gary Busey dance moves, he can really go.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Kind Word in the Pantagraph

Original Here HT BEP

Over the years, my wife and I have enjoyed attending various festivals and fairs throughout Central Illinois. As the weather cools and fall approaches, we look forward once again to visiting the upcoming Apple 'N Pork Festival in Clinton.

This year we're feeling a certain sadness because of the passing of Roland Schumaker late last winter. Roland was a true ambassador of good will and one we always hoped to see and visit with during the festival.

I'm sure the traditional ham, beans, and cornbread will be served again this year, but I, along with Roland's young daughter wonder, "Who will cook the hams?"

The Apple 'N Pork Festival will never be quite the same without Roland's special touch.

James VanHook


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Everyone to Heyworth at Once

Go Go Wildcats, March up 51; Over 136 or any method necessary to make it to the All-Wildcat Reunion at the Heyworth Legion Hall.

Come one, Come all, this is a big one. Everyone is invited. No ticket, no problem (or there might be a problem, but whatever, you can play Joker Poker in the Lounge and make a guest appearance after dinner)

It's Tonight in Heyworth where the Wildcats Roar

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Spam Attack. Fight Back with Stillman

Sorry team, suffered a massive spam attack associated with the Gmail outage. It is back now. Comments, minus about 100 Chinese Character spams are restored.

The only way to fight this? Posting videos from nephews of a Wapella residents, such as Mike Stillman singing about his former Governor, Rod Blagojevich. Not sure it will be effective, but worth a try.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You Busy May 30, 2010?

It's never too early to prepare for some Rock and Roll, and where better than Wapella to get ready for a Rock Fest in Heyworth?
41 years Heyworth rocked (like it always does) but this time a whole slew of musical legends were in town for a major rock festival.
From The Movie "Incident at Kickapoo Creek" Website
The Incident at Kickapoo Creek, is probably the most successful rock and roll festival you have never heard of. It is also one of the most mysterious and scandalous festivals in rock and roll history. What people do remember about the rock fest is the promoter, L. David Lewis who disappeared shortly after the festival was over, leaving his farm, his family, and a warrant for his arrest. The festival cash (in sleeping bags) disappeared approximately the same time.
Among the 60-odd bands and acts on the roster: B.B. King, Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, Canned Heat, Country Joe & The Fish, Genesis, REO Speedwagon, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Music mogul Irving Azoff was an 18 year old college student responsible for lining up the talent for the outlawed rock festival. Azoff is featured in the documentary as well as BB King and Ted Nugent among the numerous interviews of people who reflect on their experiences at the festival.
Sounds like fun, and who but our commenters would be able to put on a revival? This would be quite a show, as many of the above acts are still alive. I can't imagine it would cause much of a commotion, as Hog City has been pretty quiet on Village politics lately. What do you say about Wapella Rocks?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 Mourns the Passing of Willard Horsman

Willard Paul Horsman, 102, Bloomington, passed away Monday (Aug. 17, 2009) at Martin Health Center, Bloomington.

Visitation will be from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday at Kibler-Smith Memorial Home, Bloomington. His funeral will begin at 2 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. The Rev. Molly Ward and Deacon Bruce DeGooyer will officiate. Entombment will be at Park Hill Mausoleum, Bloomington.

Those desiring may make contributions to Martin Health Center, 2025 E. Lincoln St., Bloomington, IL 61701 or to St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Bloomington, in Willard's memory.

Willard was born July 5, 1907, in Fisher, a son of Jessie L. and Anna Tyas Horsman.

He graduated from Fisher High School in 1925 and managed several Western Union Telegraph offices in Illinois and Wisconsin until 1927 when he came to Bloomington. In February of that year, he joined the Daily Pantagraph circulation department prior to its consolidation with the Daily Bulletin. While with The Pantagraph, Willard was the city circulation manager, circulation manager and later became the general manager until he retired on Dec. 31, 1972

Horsman managed the lucrative and competitive Wapella market for the Pantgraph in the 1950's.

He was a member of Park United Methodist Church; Masonic Lodge 43 and the Bloomington Consistory; a 50-plus year member of the Young Men's Club; and a member of the transportation committee of the Association of Commerce and had been chairman for several years. Willard was the executive director of Bloomington Unlimited from 1973 to 1977.

On July 8, 1928, he married Faye I. Steele in Fisher. She preceded him in death on July 1, 2002.

Willard is survived by son, Allan Horsman, Bloomington, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Faye; and two brothers, Ray and Clarence Horsman.

Willard's family would like to thank the staff at Martin Health Center for all of the care and kindness they gave to Willard during his stay there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

RIP Les Paul 1915-2009

Les Paul, ace guitarist, has died at age 94.

I'd call him the Master of the Telecaster, but he played a Gibson, well, he didn't just play a Gibson, he invented most of the important parts of the Gibson, resulting in the Gibson Les Paul. Sort of like a Sam Browne Belt or a Ralph Lauren Polo, it took a full name, in this case Les Paul to let on to the genius of this man and his instrument.

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Ace Frehely, and Peter Frampton all swore by it. Chuck Berry, BB King, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, Eddie Van Halen, Keith Richards and about 25% of the market used one most of the time. But Les not only could do the engineering work, he could also play in a variety of styles enjoyed by everyone from fans of music raning from Big Band, to Country and Western, and Heavy Metal. Jimmy Page shares the rare distintion of having a double named guitar manufactured, the Gibson Les Paul Jimmy Page, apt for its double necked force.

Still playing in a jazz club in New York City only a few weeks ago, Les enjoyed the audience much like the audience enjoyed his music. At 94, Les had seen a garage industry become an international force, and established a universal figure for popular music.

RIP Les Paul.

Second Chance: Coming Soon to a Legion Hall near You

There deadline has passed, but Wildcats are granted a reprieve.

Maybe there was a band named Second Chance that played at prom or something, or one of Clem Toohill's pet dogs in the 1970's, insert your own joke here, either way you win.....there is a Second Chance to get registered for the massive WHS Reunion to be held in Heyworth (where else?).

Here is the tipoff

The Wapella Wildcats are headed to Heyworth in what promises to be a barnburner of a WHS Reunion. Saturday September 5, 2009 at the high respectable American Legion Hall in Heyworth Illinois a convocation like no other will be held.

Starts at 5PM
Ends at ??? (always a big draw)

Appetizers, Tea and Lemonade will be provided.

There will be drinking, dancing and fighting, so come prepared for at least 2 out of the 3.

If you click on the picture you will get a larger image. Or just click here.

You should then be able to print out a full color flyer to be strategically placed at all 9 Wapella businesses. How about the Churches as well?

Here are some contacts, representing some of the biggest names in WHS Alumni today.

Class of 1969
Chris Thorp - (217) 781-2829 email -
Class of 1970
Steve Schmid - (309) 824-4156 email -
Class of 1971
Judy (Schmid) Mowery - (309) 473-2078 email -
Class of 1972
Mike Colliver - (309) 473-2229 email -
Class of 1973
Patty (Ritter) Rich - (309) 838-5005
Class of 1974
Jackie (Sapp) Palmer - (309) 378-2524
Class of 1975
Tammy (Colliver) Doner - (309) 473-3606 email -
Linda (Reynolds) Whitaker - (309) 821-9631 email -
Class of 1976
Cindy (Shoemaker) White - (217) 949-4981 email -
Nancy (Duncan) Witten - (309) 261-0054 email -
Class of 1977
Karen (Ledbetter) Underwood - (217) 935-3005
email -
Cheryl Reynolds - (217) 935-5469 email -
Class of 1978
Etta (Duncan) Whitted - (217) 935-9161 email -
Class of 1979
Brenda (Colliver) Underwood - (309) 473-2190
email -
Elizabeth (Holland) Lord - (217) 935-8756 email -

All are welcome. Note to Brenda and EEP are you looking for contacts for 1980+? I think our loyal readers can provide.

Saturday, August 8, 2009 Mourns the Passing of Msgr. Thomas Maloney

Monsignor Thomas W. Maloney, 73, Lexington, died at 3:09 a.m. Friday (Aug. 7, 2009) at his home.

His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Bloomington, with the Most Rev. Daniel Jenky, bishop of Peoria, presiding. Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, Bloomington. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Bloomington. Memorials may be made to a charity of the donor's choice. Carmody-Flynn Williamsburg Funeral Home, Bloomington, is in charge of arrangements.

Father Maloney was born March 13, 1936, in Bloomington, the son of Thomas William and Fauntella Rose Brannan Maloney.

He is survived by three sisters, Mary Jean Kraft, Normal; Louise Ralph, Springfield; and Marjorie Handley, Decatur. Uncle Tom has 19 nieces and nephews, 65 great-nieces and nephews and a host of exceptional and very faithful friends, including many relatives in the greater Wapella area.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two nieces and two brothers-in-law.

Father Tom graduated from St. Benedict's College in Atchison, Kan. He was a teacher, principal and superintendent of schools and served six years in the National Guard before entering the seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Atchison, Kan.

After his ordination to the priesthood in 1967, he served as an assistant priest for the Diocese of Peoria at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria, St. Patrick's in Ottawa, St. Monica's in East Peoria and Epiphany in Normal.

Father Maloney was assigned as the pastor of St. Mary's in Lexington and St. Joseph in Chenoa in 1976. He also served as the chaplain for Central Catholic High School for 14 years. He was later appointed pastor of Epiphany Parish in Normal and served there until his retirement in 2002 due to poor health. Mourns the Passing of Earl Angel

Earl Lee Angel, 74, Wapella, died at 2:19 a.m. Wednesday (Aug. 5, 2009) at BroMenn Regional Medical Center, Normal.

His funeral will be at 11 a.m. today at Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, with J. Kent Hickerson officiating. Burial will be in Oak Park Cemetery, Clinton. Visitation was Thursday.

Memorials may be made to Earl Lee Angel Memorial Fund.

He was born Sept. 4, 1934, at Sterling, son of Winford Carl and Helen McQuality Angel. He married Leona I. Crutcher on April 28, 1972, at Lincoln.

Surviving are his wife, Leona I. Angel, Wapella; five children, Rick L. (Beverly) Angel, Clinton; Linda (Brian) Diskin, Fithian; Mike (Maddie) Angel, Farmer City; Deanna (Russell) Moore, Atlanta; and Mark (Kim) Mills, Clinton; three siblings, Gary (Doris) Angel, Andover; and Diann (Jim) Perring and Nancy (Dick) Baldwin, both of Clinton; 12 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, one sister and one great-grandchild.

He worked at Revere Copper & Brass Inc., Clinton, for 27 years and then he worked at Olin Fabricated Metals as an inspector until he retired. He later owned and operated Earl's Stump Removal.

Earl enjoyed fishing, hunting and woodworking.

All flags 1/2 mast please for U.S. Army veteran of the Korean conflict, Earl Angel. Mourns the Passing of Robert E. Ishmael

One of the Grand Gentlemen of Wapella has passed.

Robert Edward Ishmael, 84, Wapella, died at 1:15 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 6, 2009) at Veterans Administration Illiana Health Care System, Danville.

A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Wapella, with the Rev. Patrick Henehan officiating. Burial will be at St. Patrick's Cemetery, Wapella, with military honors. Visitation will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton. Memorials may be made to DeWitt County Friendship Center, American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity or a charity of the donor's choice.

He was born Dec. 16, 1924, in Springfield, son of John Edward and Blanche Ray Ishmael. He married Helen Delores "Fat" Gahr on May 16, 1946, in Springfield. Helen passed away Aug. 10, 1994.

Survivors include his children, Jerry (Lynette) Ishmael, Clinton; Rick (Rita) Ishmael, Wapella; Robin (Herb) Ringenbert, Normal; and Kathy (Roy) Walker, Wapella; nine grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

Robert was preceded in death by his parents; one son, David on Feb. 14, 1971; one grandchild, Robert Vandervort; one great-grandchild, Aaron Ishmael; and two brothers, Leo and Jerome.

He was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Wapella.

Robert was a carpenter for more than 50 years. He was a member of Amvets and VFW, Clinton; Eagles Lodge, Clinton; and the St. John's and St. Patrick's Catholic Church choir. He also was involved with the DeWitt County Habitat for Humanity, and at an age most people begin slowing down, became a long distance runner.

Bob Ishmael was a dedicated servant to the poor and sick, tirelessly volunteering his time and his resources to support the community at large. As much as anyone in Wapella, Bob made himself available for others when his many talents were needed. At the same time Bob was also the consummate gentleman, able historian, and a truly thoughtful person, indeed one of the great raconteurs of any age in Wapella.

All flags 1/2 mast please for US Army Air Corps Veteran of WWII, Bob Ishmael.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stories That Did Not Make The Cut

You and I both know that posts only the choicest stories about Wapella or not. Here are a few that got left on the cutting room floor, perhaps to be taken up at a later date

1) Your Beard is Weird: That Keith Hernandez sure looks like a lot like John Stossel. If Dennis Miller used Just For Men hair dye, he might get his edge back. Dennis Miller doesn't look that much like Hernandez or Stossel, but could fill in if needed.

2) Ivan Dixon directed quite a few Rockford Files (9) and Magnum PI's (13). I wonder if he was ever tempted to pull in his beloved Kinch character from Hogan's Heroes into a more modern setting like Trapper John, MD.

3) A big congrats to Nick Buraglio for winnning some sort of kickball championship in Champaign.

4) In this day and age, would anyone start up a catalog pickup/drop off store like Sears used to have in Clinton, near Daisy's Rooms? Was Daisy's Rooms convenient for Sears customers?

5) I bet the Van Dyke households were mayhem around holiday time after Jerry Van Dyke hit the big time with his character Luther in "Coach". Did Dick Van Dyke get a pre-nuptial agreement with Michelle Triola. For two points, who was Michelle's previous beau?

6) The Kickapoo conference was never that good, but pretty competitive. Did anyone there ever play football? Did anyone from Wapella play a college sport that they did not play in High School?

7) The Grand Hotel had sort of a relish tray that was not half bad. Sinorak is Karonis spelled backwards, Karonis being the last name of the owners.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Grand Hotel for the Summer

The Grand Hotel on Emerson in Bloomington was sort of a house, sort of a restuarant, and hardly anything like a hotel. There was nothing quite like it in Illinois (though Wisconsin is blanketed with this type of place). Pretty good chicken, relish plates, massive and toxic mixed drinks, worn out furnishings, dangerous parking lot...the Grand Hotel had it all.

The Grand Hotel also served as some kind of circus refuge, a hot topic of discussion among Wildcats recently, many of who have fond memories of carnival and circus life.

Here is a 1999 documentary from WILL-TV, which scratches the surface of the Circus in Bloomington.

Prairie Fire looks at Bloomington-Normal’s history as a winter training center for circus trapeze acts. Never-before-televised footage of the aerialists practicing and performing, obtained from rare personal collections and the circus collection at Illinois State University, brings the Prairie Fire story to life.

From the late 1800s to the 1960s, dozens of world-class circus aerialists trained in Bloomington-Normal during the off season. “It started out when several boys from the area ran off to join the circus,” said WILL-TV’s Ange Albsmeyer, producer of the story. In the winter, they’d come back to Illinois and train in ice houses, tying their trapezes to rafters and falling into sawdust on the floor beneath.
After a new YMCA was built in 1907, an increasing number of aerialists began practicing there. In return for being allowed to use the space, the trapeze artists would put on a circus each year in the facility and give the proceeds to the YMCA, said Steve Gossard, curator of ISU Circus Collections, who provided 8 millimeter film of the aerialists.

The story includes shots of Antoinette Concello, one of the first women to perfect the triple somersault, and her husband, Art, another key figure among aerialists. Others training in Bloomington-Normal included the Flying Wards. The Grand Hotel Restaurant now occupies the space where some of the Ward troupe once lived. A barn on Grove Street in Normal where the Flying Valentinos trained is also still standing.
The Flying Valentinos’ Cherie Valentine still lives in Bloomington and in an interview, gives a fascinating description of circus life. She became part of her family’s act at the age of 3 after her father had a heart attack.

“Sometimes circus performers are seen as just entertainers, but in reality, they were professionals who worked hard at exhausting and dangerous jobs. They were extremely proud of their craft,” said Albsmeyer.
Bloomington-Normal’s ties to the circus continue with ISU’s Gamma Phi Circus, one of the largest collegiate circuses in the country.

Can one of our readers tell us, how do you contact a carnival to perform at the Cornbread and Bean Festival? How do you get the carnies to go away after the carnival is over?

I'll fix that video later, but here is the link to WILL Channel 12.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 Mourns the Passing of LeRoy Haynes

LeRoy Madison Haynes Jr., 87, LeRoy, died Friday (July 24, 2009) at home.

A graveside service and burial will be in Mausoleum Park Cemetery, Clinton, on Wednesday. At his request, he will be laid to rest in simple fashion and in joyful celebration for anticipated union with his Savior on judgment day.

Services are graciously being provided by Dave Pimm, owner, Veterans Burial and Cremation Service, Chicago. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to LeRoy Christian Church or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital at the family's request.

LeRoy was born Nov. 13, 1921, in Covington, La., the son of LeRoy M. Haynes Sr. and Annie Cecile Smith Haynes. He married Esther Mae Evans Pierce on Nov. 28, 1955 in Monahans, Texas.

To this union were added Thurman Clark Pierce, Martha Lynn Pierce and Roy Garland Haynes. After Esther's death, he married Martha Luella Sirens (Roy) Bleavins on Feb. 21, 1982, in LeRoy, and loved her children as his own.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Virginia Darniele; a brother, Ralph Haynes; his son, Thurman "Corky" Pierce; and both Esther Pierce and Martha Bleavins.

After serving in the U.S. Army, LeRoy graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1950. He retired from Texaco City Service Pipeline Co. He spent much of his early life in Louisiana and Texas, then Oklahoma; following the pipeline industry, he moved with his family to Illinois in 1971.

He was an avid reader and gardener, but most earnestly sought out the teachings of Christ as a fundamental Christian. His strong and ever-supportive companion in this endeavor was his beloved wife, Martha. He was an active member of the LeRoy Christian Church and for his church's love and support, eternally grateful.

He loved music and was a solo vocalist for his church and the community for many years.

LeRoy is survived by his a sister, Dorothy (William) Chmylak; his brothers Sidney and Robert Haynes; his daughter, Martha L. Haynes Bruton, San Angelo, Texas; son, R. Garland Haynes WHS '79, Valparaiso, Ind.; grandsons, Tyler P. Haynes and Bryce M. Haynes, Heyworth; and granddaughter, Tara L. Bruton, San Angelo, Texas.

He was also blessed and is survived by a wonderful extended family, including Clara L. Toohill WHS '79 Gresham, his former daughter-in-law; and stepchildren, Raymond (Caroline) Bleavins, Marietta (John) Ashworth, Karen VanNote and Diane (Pat) Pratt, and many wonderful stepgrandchildren and great-grandchildren, including one very special great-granddaughter, Kelly Davis.

LeRoy Haynes lived on 4th Street in Wapella for many years, where he was known for his kind hospitality, gentlemanly candor and support of community. All flag 1/2 mast please for US Army Veteran LeRoy Haynes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Voted Most Like a Wapella Native: Earl Weaver

After a thorough going over of Sports Illustrated's profile of Earl Weaver, the former Orioles skipper the Wapella Board of Historians voted Weaver the pro-sport manager most like a Wapella native. Profane, belligerent, crafty as a badger, and the winningest manager in baseball history, Weaver had it all. Weaver said in 1986, "On my tombstone just write, THE SOREST LOSER THAT EVER LIVED."

A few choice bits:

Weaver: [To his team at a closed-door meeting] You guys don't want to win bad enough! I never failed to get a guy in from third base with less than two outs!

Pitcher Dave McNally: Yeah, and you never played higher than Double A.

Weaver: And another thing, if you don't make the last out of the game, you never lose! I never made the last out.

[Pitcher Jim Palmer raises his hand.]

Weaver: What?

Palmer: We all know why you never made the last out, Earl.

Weaver: Why?

Palmer: Because they always pinch-hit for you.

Weaver: Aw, you ruined the mood, Palmer!


George Steinbrenner: Earl, what would you do if you're sitting in the hotel lobby at two in the morning and you see your ballplayers walking in?

Weaver: Well, is it a night game or a day game?

Steinbrenner: We played a night game.

Weaver: Two o'clock ain't that bad, George. You got a day game tomorrow? What do you got tomorrow?

Steinbrenner: We're playing an exhibition game in Columbus, Ohio.

Weaver: You've got to let them do something once in a while.

Steinbrenner: Would you come manage?

Weaver won the pennant one year by making only 167 pitching changes in 159 games. Another year he used only 12 pitchers in the entire season. The guy is truly an amazing mind and wordsmith as well.

Here's Earl as vulgar as he can be on video. Full warning Earl is really lit up.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Diamonds from Farmer City: Don and Mary Olson

From the Catholic Post

FARMER CITY — When Don Olson drove Mary Brown home on the rainy night they met as teenagers 77 years ago, his car got stuck in mud on the long lane leading to her parents’ farm house in rural Weldon.

“We walked the rest of the way,” recalls Don.

“Mom was still up,” said Mary, continuing the opening chapter of a remarkable love story.

“She was baking bread — oh, it smelled so good,” continued Mary, still enjoying its aroma eight decades later.

New love was also in the air that night.

Don would leave his car in the mud, walking all the way back to his parents’ home in town.

But he and Mary, now both 93, have been stuck on each other ever since.

On July 31, the couple will mark their 75th wedding anniversary, recalling the hot summer day in 1934 when they were married in the former St. Michael’s Church in Weldon.

The church has long since closed. There are no photographs from the occasion. Weddings were a lot simpler then, said Mary, noting the couple had to arrange to pick up the pastor, Father Flynn, from nearby Wapella.

What the wedding lacked in frills modern brides and grooms have come to expect, it more than made up in effectiveness. The Olsons are among the longest married couples in the Diocese of Peoria.

The Olsons still reside in the tidy, white ranch Farmer City home to which they retired 30 years ago after a career in farming and the raising of their two sons, Gene and Lawrence (Shorty!). A house blessing done as a welcome by Msgr. C. B. Motsett, former pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Farmer City, was apparently as powerful as the marriage blessing administered by Father Flynn.

Editor’s note — Readers wishing to send a note of congratulations to the Olsons may write to them at 512 E. Water St., Farmer City, 61842.

Congrats to Don and Mary and all the Olson family! Can anyone from the Olson family insert Cecil Brown into the above story?

Is St. Michaels still standing?

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