Pontiac Chapel

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Saturday, December 9, 1939 - Saturday, July 22, 2017

Barbara Sharon Harston, 77, of Pontiac, IL passed away at 9:31 pm on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at her home in Pontiac.

All services will be private. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Pontiac Public Library. Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Pontiac is handling arrangements for the family.

She was born on December 9, 1939 in Pontiac, IL a daughter of Roy and Marjorie (Klein) Stamps Fitzgerald. Barbara was educated in the Pontiac schools graduating from Pontiac High School. She went on to attend Bradley University in Peoria, where she received her Bachelor’s in Science for Accounting. Barbara was a longtime resident of Pontiac and married Edmund Harston, of Witt, IL, on May 7, 1965 in Pontiac, IL. She used her degree to work at Pontiac Correctional Center in the business division followed by the Illinois Farm Bureau, where she worked for eighteen years until her retirement.

Barbara was an avid reader, enjoyed gardening and crossword puzzles. She was not just a wife and mother, but a best friend and confidant to her husband and children, always teaching them to do and be their very best.

She is survived by her husband, Edmund, of 52 years; their three children: Peggy (Dale) Graham of Harper Woods, MI, Brian (Mary) Harston of Midland, MI, and Chris (Philene) Harston of Plainfield, IL; seven grandchildren: Sarah, Mikayla, Kevin, Maggie, Madison, Lauren and Jason.

Barbara was preceded in death by her parents.

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Monday, November 14, 1921 - Monday, July 24, 2017

Sarah "Sally" Phillips 95, of Pontiac, II passed away peacefully at 7:30 am on Monday, July 24, 2017 at Tjardes Health Care Center of Evenglow Lodge in Pontiac.

She was born November 14, 1921 in Myrtle, Illinois, the daughter of Conrad and Katherine (Humburg) lls. In 1913 her parents immigrated here from Walter, Russia with great determination to become successful farmers.   She grew up a farmer's daughter in the German Valley, Illinois area with her seven siblings. She explained it was love at first sight when she met and then shortly after, married Webster E. Phillips on September 28, 1946, in Chicago. They were able to celebrate 65 wedding anniversaries before he preceded her in death on May 18, 2012. She was also preceded in death by her beloved daughter, Martha K. Bedford on July 21, 2016, as well as her parents, her four brothers: John, George, Theodore and Joseph lls and three sisters: Amy Ruter, Margaret Gardner and Marie Kerchner. Surviving is her son Webster P. Phillips (Kelvin Pollard) of Baltimore, MD; son-in-law, Jack Bedford of Springfield; granddaughter, Sharri (Robert) Pfaff of Pontiac; great grandchildren, Justine Pfaff of Normal, Madison Pfaff and Conrad Pfaff of Pontiac; sister-in-law Doris lls, Lena, IL; brother-in-law’s: Cletus (Connie) Phillips, Camano Island WA, Wayne Phillips, Yuma, AZ and many nieces and nephews.

Sally was a homemaker and supported her husband through various career paths that led them in different areas of Illinois through the earlier years of their marriage. In 1965, they relocated to Pontiac because they were wanting to live closer to Webster's new job at the Pontiac Correctional Center. They loved this community. Here she became a member of the First United Methodist Church and was active in the Women's Society for Christian Service. She was also a member of the Pontiac Women's Club, The Pontiac Elks Club, Bridge Club and Dance Club. Together with her husband, they were office holders of the local AARP, and helped organize the first showbus. She enjoyed baking delicious pies and cakes, gardening and canning, playing cards and games, sewing, quilting and visiting with neighbors, especially the kids that grew up around her on South Mill Street. She will be remembered as a devoted Wife, loving Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother.

Her funeral will be held at 2:00 pm on Thursday, July 27, 2017 at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Pontiac with Rev. Gretchen Stinebaugh officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the services at the funeral home. Burial will follow services at Patty Cemetery in rural Pontiac. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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Friday, May 21, 1937 - Monday, July 17, 2017

Patricia A. Martin 80 of Pontiac, IL. died Monday July 17, 2017 at 12:15AM at Good Samaritan Home, Pontiac, IL.

Her memorial mass will be held at a later date at St. Mary’s Church Pontiac, IL. with Fr. David Sabel officiating.  A visitation will be held on Thursday July 20, 2017 from 5:00-7:00PM at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home Pontiac, IL. with the rosary being recited at 4:30PM.  Cremation rites will be accorded following the visitation. Memorials in Patricia’s name may be made to her family or St. Mary’s Church.

Patricia was born on May 21, 1937 in Chicago, IL., a daughter of Felix and Sylvia (Polifka) Kurecki. Survivors include: one daughter: Amber (Paul) Hernandez of Gridley, IL; five grandchildren: Pamela, Michael, Kimberly, Kyle and Kale; one brother: Ralph (Vera) Kurecki of Chicago, Il.  Patricia was preceded in death by one daughter: Deborah Bauder, one brother: Donald and two sisters: Paulette and Dorothy.

Patricia was educated in Catholic schools in Chicago.  She was a certified nursing assistant and had retired from Evenglow Lodge. She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church-Pontiac, IL.


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Wednesday, February 6, 1924 - Friday, July 14, 2017

Rubye Russell (née Simpson), of Pontiac, IL went to be with her Lord on Friday, July 14, 2017. She was 93 years old.


Rubye is survived by her loving husband of 64 years, George; children, Donna Diehl (Jimmy) of Bloomington, IL, Wesley Russell (Connie) of Joliet, IL, Daniel Russell (Joni) of Pontiac, IL; 5 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; 3 great-great-grandchildren; one brother, Julian Simpson (Christine) of Lexington, KY. Her brother, Woodson Simpson and her parents, Hedger and Myrtle Simpson, preceded her in death.


Rubye was born on February 6, 1924, in Maud, KY to Hedger and Myrtle Simpson. She married George Russell on June 6, 1953 at the Methodist Church, Mackville, KY. Rubye graduated from Asbury College, Wilmore, KY in 1947, returning later to do some graduate work. Upon graduation she worked as Song Evangelist and Youth Worker. She also worked as a substitute teacher.


After marriage she and her husband pastored several churches in Kentucky until moving to Illinois where they continued as pastors. She also attended Garrett Theological Seminary. She served as pastor for several local churches at Verona, Mazon, New Salem and Odell, IL. From 1993-1996 Rubye served as the first Chaplain at Evenglow Lodge in Pontiac, IL retiring in 1996. After retirement she continued to volunteer at Evenglow and Woodridge Retirement homes, Livingston County Food Pantry, as well as preaching at local churches as needed. In 2014 Rubye and George received the Pontiac Citizen of the Year Award and Pontiac Volunteer Award in 2016.


Rubye and George were members of NOMADS, a volunteer organization of the United Methodist Church, serving people, day care centers and churches. Rubye participated in 36 projects in Florida and Alaska and 10 projects at Evenglow Lodge. She also served on mission trips to McCurdy School in New Mexico and in Mexico. From 1999 to 2014 they used their skills making life a little better for many people.

One of her churches said of Rubye, “She walked in love for God and for others.”


A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, July 23 at 3:00 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Pontiac, with a reception to follow in the Fellowship Hall. Pastor Tom Goodell and Rev. Gretchen Stinebaugh will officiate the ceremony. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Rubye’s life. In lieu of flowers preferred memorials may be to the Pontiac United Methodist Church, Livingston County Food Pantry, Evenglow Lodge, and United Methodist NOMADS, P.O. Box 3508 Shawnee KS 66203.

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Friday, February 24, 1961 - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Charles R. “Randy” McWhorter, 56 of Pontiac, IL. died Wednesday June 28, 2017 at 6:00AM at OSF St. James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center, Pontiac, IL.

His funeral will be held on Monday July 3, 2017 at 12:00 Noon at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home, Pontiac, IL. with Rev. David Heath officiating.  Cremation rites will be accorded after services.  Inurnment will be in Patty Cemetery at a later date.  A visitation will be held on Monday from 10:00am until the hour of services at the funeral home.  Memorials in Randy’s name may be made to the family or Livingston County Humane Society.

Randy was born on February 24, 1961 in Pontiac, IL., a son of Charles Roy and Karen Ruth (Jones) McWhorter.  He married Connie Cole on August 29, 2001 in Pontiac.  She survives in Pontiac, IL.  also surviving is his mother: Karen Houchin of Colfax, IL; one brother: Steve (Sue) McWhorter of Colfax, IL; one sister: Sherry Sparks of Portland, OR; one step-son: Travis Salvator of Pontiac, IL; many nieces and nephews and his dog Charlie. Randy was preceded in death by his father.

Randy was educated in Pontiac schools.

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Saturday, October 1, 1932 - Saturday, June 24, 2017

Donovan Francis Gardner, 84, of Bloomington passed away peacefully Saturday, June 24, 2017 at Heritage Health in Bloomington.


A Celebration of Life service and reception will be held on Sunday, July 2, 2017, at the First United Methodist Church in Pontiac at 3 p.m. with Pastor Tom Goodell officiating. Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Pontiac is handling the arrangements.


Donovan was born on October 1, 1932 at home to Francis Raymond and Hazel Blair Gardner of Toledo, Illinois.  He graduated from Cumberland County High School in 1950. On July 5, 1952 Donovan married Barbara Anne Dey at Greenville, Illinois. Donovan and Barb had three children, Brian (Trish) of Moscow,ID, Timothy, and Todd (Sarah) of Melbourne, Australia. Barbara passed away in 1990. Donovan married Carol Rickgauer Shaffer on December 30, 1996. Donovan accepted with open arms Carol’s three children Julie (Nicolas) Houzeau, Mons, Belgium; Kelley (Kent) Erhardt, St. Charles, MO; and Dyke (Kendra) Shaffer, Farmer City, IL. Together there are seven grandchildren who were the light of Don’s life. Donovan was preceded in death by his parents, wife Barbara, and son Timothy.


In 1952 he joined the US Air Force serving at stations in the US and in French Morocco. He left active duty in 1956 with the rank of Buck Sergeant. 

Donovan and Barbara came to Pontiac in 1960 when Donovan became President & CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. In 1962 he was named Administrator of Evenglow Lodge. A position he held for over 20 years. He furthered his career as a United Methodist Senior Living Consultant traveling and working to improve care facilities across the US as well as in Kazakhstan and Cuba. This work earned him respect in the nursing home industry. As he moved into retirement Donovan returned to Evenglow as a member of the Board. One of the accomplishments during Donovan’s tenure was the creation of the Memory Care Building, Evenglow Inn. For two years he again served as the Interim President & CEO of Evenglow. 


He was active in the United Methodist Church serving on the Conference Council on Ministries and the District Committee on Nominations. He served on the Illinois Great Rivers Conference Board of Trustees, the Personnel Committee and as a lay delegate.


Don and his sons became involved in the Boy Scouts. Don took on a leadership role becoming Scoutmaster of Pontiac Troop 175 for several years and being actively involved in the W.D. Boyce Council. His devotion to scouting lasted the rest of his life. During these years he discovered a passion for outdoor sports including camping, backpacking, bicycling and canoeing. A passion he shared with friends and family. He enjoyed tennis and basketball.

He was appointed to the Illinois State Health Facilities Planning Board by the governor. He participated in local government as a member of the Livingston County Board, Livingston County Historical Society and most recently the Pontiac City Council. He played a key role in developing Pontiac’s Route 66 attractions and was instrumental in securing the historic Strevell House. He created the ‘32ers Club’ for local men born in 1932.

Donovan’s many years of giving to others through his profession and his spirit of volunteerism in his church and community will remain as an example to all.


Memorials may be made in Don’s name to the Evenglow Lodge, 215 E. Washington St. Pontiac, IL 61764, the Pontiac First United Methodist Church, 219 N. Chicago St., Pontiac, IL 61764, or to the charity of your choice.

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Monday, January 24, 1949 - Monday, June 26, 2017

Michelle A. Ocean, 68, of Pontiac, IL passed away at 9:28 pm on Monday, June 26, 2017 at OSF St. James – John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac, IL.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pontiac, IL on Saturday, July 1, 2017 with Father Adam Cesarek officiating. A visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Friday, June 30, 2017 at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home. A rosary will be recited Friday at 4:30 pm at the funeral home. Burial will follow services at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Cullom, IL. Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Michelle was born January 24, 1949 in Pontiac, IL a daughter of Donald and Mary R. “Jean” (Kerrins) McCaughey. She married Daniel Ocean on August 25, 1973 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pontiac, IL. He survives.

She was educated in the Pontiac schools and went on to study education at Winston Churchill Junior College in Pontiac, IL. Michelle then went to Des Moines Area Community College for her Hotel Restaurant Management degree. She ran a catering business, J and M Catering, for many years. Michelle also did a correspondent class from Minnesota to receive her Certified Dietary Management (CDM) degree. She went on to work as the Dining Services Supervisor at Meadows Mennonite Home in rural Chenoa for fourteen years.

Michelle was a devout member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pontiac, IL, making sure she always attended mass. Michelle enjoyed life and loved her Lord and was proud to be Irish.

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Monday, January 18, 1960 - Monday, June 19, 2017

Richard Joe Kridner, 57 or rural Cornell, IL. died Monday June 19, 2017 at 12:04PM at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington, IL.

Cremation rites will be accorded and a memorial service will be held on Friday June 23, 2017 at 11:00AM at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home, Pontiac, IL. with Rev. Janeen Tronc officiating. There will be no visitation. Memorials in Richard’s name may be made to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Richard was born on January 18, 1960 a son of Richard and Jessie (Thompson) Kridner. He married Amy Gourley on June 23, 1982 in Mirando City, TX. She survives in rural Cornell, Il. also surviving are: two sons: Richard Brian Kridner of Flanagan, IL and Adam Joe Kridner of Pontiac, IL; two brothers: Mike Kridner of Kentucky and Troy Pearson of Kansas; three sisters: Vicki Hall of Gillette, WY., Elizabeth Piper of Clinton, Il. and Kristi Bohm of Pontiac, IL.; his step-father: Dave Thompson of Gillette, WY.

Richard was educated in Cornell schools and had been employed at Interlake Steel for 25 years.

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Friday, May 14, 1926 - Friday, June 16, 2017


Betty Jean Edwards, 91, of Pontiac, passed away at 11:13 pm on Friday June 16, 2017 at The Pointe at Pontiac.

Her funeral will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday June 22, 2017 at the First United Methodist Church in Pontiac, Rev. Gretchen Stinebaugh will officiate, burial will follow in South Side Cemetery in Pontiac. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the church. Memorials in her name may be left to the First United Methodist Church or a Charity of the Donor’s Choice. Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Pontiac is handling the arrangements.

She was born in Pontiac on May 14, 1926 a daughter of Earl M. and Pearl C. (Erlandson) Duke, she married Raymond L. Edwards on February 12, 1945 in Springfield, IL, he preceded her in death on September 8, 1997. Survivors include two daughters: Marsha (Roger) Popp of Effingham, IL, Sandra (Bill) Humphries of Keller, TX; six grandchildren Jodee (Paul) Ritter of Pontiac, IL, Gina Popp of Altamont, IL, Jill (Larry) Adams of Effingham, IL, Melissa (Jeff) Tomlinson of Destin FL, Paul (Ashley) Humphries of Frisco TX, Chad (Kristin) Humphries of Pilot Point,TX; one step grandson: Steven R.(Tammy) Popp of North Richland Hills, TX; great grandchildren: Baylee and Taylor Ritter, Sam and Jack Mathesius, Landon, Alexandra, Beau and Cole Adams, Brittany, Sierra, and Jon “Jet” Tomlinson; Claire and Elle Humphries, Keaton Holsworth, Cort and Whitney Humphries; step great grandsons: Ryan and Nathan Popp; one sister: Lois James of Scottsdale, AZ. She was preceded in death by her parents, a brother: Glenn E. Duke. Her sister: Darlene Blair and her step granddaughter: Sherri L. Popp.

Betty was a graduate of Pontiac Township High School and was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Pontiac. She was a former member of the Owego Club, Women of the Moose and Graymont Card Club.


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Monday, October 11, 1937 - Friday, June 16, 2017

James “Jim” Kovach, 79, of Saunemin, passed away at 12:10 pm on Friday June 16, 2017 at Evenglow Lodge in Pontiac.

Funeral Services will be held at 12:00 pm on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at Calvert & Martin Funeral Home in Pontiac with Rev. Jane Bradford officiating. A visitation will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at the funeral home and one hour prior to the service on Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial will follow services at Sunnyslope Cemetery in Saunemin, IL.   Memorial contributions may be made to Saunemin United Methodist Church.

Jim was born in Cleveland, OH on October 11, 1937 a son of Michael and Rose (Zukovic) Kovach, he married Dorothy Malone on November 23, 1957 in Cleveland, OH, she survives.

He is also survived by three sons: Michael (Laura) Kovach of Saunemin, IL, Thomas “Tom” Kovach of Willoughby, OH, David (Kim) Kovach of Forrest, IL; one daughter Paula (James Robert) Kovach of Painesville, OH; seven grandchildren Melinda, Michael, Joey, Katie, Keira, Kaley and Karrisa; four great grandchildren: Morgan, Greyson, Andrew and Sonny; four brothers: Michael Kovach of OH, Thomas (Diane) Kovach of OH, Danny (Sue) Kovach of OH, Tim (Chris) Kovach of OH; one sister: Loretta (Reggie) Slater of OH. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Jim went to high school at Cleveland Trade. Jim served his country in the United States Air Force.

He worked at Caterpillar for over twenty years before retiring from the heat treat department.

Jim was a loving husband, dad, grandpa, great grandpa, brother, uncle, and friend who will be greatly missed.

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