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Local Obituaries

Larry Lee Paxton

Larry Lee Paxton, age 88 of Rock Falls, died Monday, November 20, 2017 at his home.


Larry was born on August 21, 1929 in Prophetstown, the son of Charles and Sylvia (Eggert) Paxton. He was a United States Army Veteran and served in the Korean War. He farmed in the Prophetstown area from 1975-2000 and also was employed by Northwestern Steel and Wire from 1956-200. Larry was a member of the Prophetstown American Legion and St. Catherine Catholic Church in Prophetstown.


He is survived by his son Kevin Paxton of Austin, Texas; one sister, Burdetta Siefken of Prophetstown; two brothers, Arlo (Pauline) Paxton of Stockton and Lester Paxton of SC; and one grandson, Joshua Paxton.


He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Steve Paxton; four brothers, Darrell, Warren, Norman and Clifford Paxton; and special friend, Doris Keefer.


A graveside service with full military honors will be held on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 11:00 A.M. at Riverside Cemetery in Prophetstown. Arrangements have been completed with the McDonald Funeral Home and Crematory in Prophetstown.


For online condolences, please visit:


Dr. Robert Sherman "Bob" Gomsrud


 Dr. Robert Sherman “Bob” Gomsrud, passed away on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at home at the age of 95.


Robert was born on April 18, 1922 at the Catholic Hospital in Duluth, MN. His parents were Theodore Melvin and Ida Theodora (Morreim) Gomsrud, both deceased. One sister, Ruth of California, deceased. He married Lila E. Lang on July 20, 1946 in Milwaukee, WI at St. Marcus Lutheran Church. They enjoyed 71 years together. Bob served in the U.S. Army during WWII for 4 and a 1/2 years in the medical dental laboratory Branch, 5th service command. Bob’s educational history covered two Bachelor’s Degrees, Administrative Master’s Degree and a Doctorate Degree, all focusing on Vocational Technical in the secondary education area. Bob was named “Teacher of the Year” in 1967 in the state of Minnesota. Bob was the major Builder and Director of the Whiteside Area Vocational Center for twenty years. He was an American Legion member and officer for 70 years; Sauk Valley Chamber of Commerce President of 1983; Sterling Kiwanis local officer and L.T. Governor; Masonic Lodge of Glenwood, MN for 65 years including the Fargo, N.D. Shrine; the Sauk Valley Family Award to the Gomsrud’s in 2014; Sterling/Rock Falls Board Chairman and Sunday Nite Club; Sterling/Rock Falls Chamber Awards August 31, 1987 to be “Bob Gomsrud Day” by Mayor Bill Durham; 30 years as Boy Scouts of America merit badge advisor. Bob received 1956 the Ford Motor Co. Industrial Crafts memorial award. Bob was appointed member of Illinois State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation in 1978. During Bob’s life, he was honored with many citations regarding community relations. Bob was proud to be 100% Norwegian.


Survivors include his wife, Lila; his daughter, Ann (Loren) Beswick of Sterling; three grandchildren, Andy (Anna) Beswick of Coal Valley, IL and their three children, Ava, Eli and Dax, Kjerstin (Corbin) Milbrath of Iowa City, IA and Sarah Beswick of Sterling.


Bob was preceded in death by his son, Theodore David Gomsrud, November 1999, his mother in 1968, his father in 1974 and his sister in 2008.


A memorial service will be held on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 11:00 A.M. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sterling with Reverend Brandon Nelson, officiating. A gathering of family and friends will follow the memorial service with a luncheon. Committal services will be at the Graceland Cemetery in Albert Lea, MN on Friday, December 1, 2017 at 12:00 P.M.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sterling. For online condolences, please visit:

Jack W. Radke


 Jack W. Radke, 85 of Sterling, died Sunday, November 19, 2017 at his home.

Jack was born on March 27, 1932 in Elgin, the son of Walter and Hazel (Meline) Radke. He served in the United States Coast Guard in the 1950’s. Jack graduated from Elgin Community College and then attended Columbia College. He married Carol Massey on September 2, 1958 in Sterling. Jack worked for local radio stations, WSSQ, WJVM and WSDR, for more than 60 years until his retirement in spring of 2017. For many years, Jack looked forward to his annual trip with old friends to attend the Bix Beiderbecke Festival in the Quad Cities. He was a lifelong Chicago White Sox and Green Bay Packers Fan.


He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carol; his three sons, Stephen W. (D’Layne) Radke of Washington D.C., Jeffrey W. Radke of Milwaukee, WI and Gregory W. (Ivett) Radke of Carol Stream, IL; and two granddaughters, Eleanor Radke and Sydney Radke.


He was preceded in death by his parents.


A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 11:00 A.M. at the McDonald Funeral Home in Sterling, 505 1st Avenue. For online condolences, please visit:


Mary "Darlene" Kereven

She was born March, 16, 1920 in Harmon, Illinois the daughter of James Luther Hicks and Nancy Anna (Bowles) Hicks. She married Edwin Kereven in June of 1962. He preceded her in death in 1990. She was a hairdresser for many years, finally retiring in 2000 at the age of 80. She was a long time member of Wesley United Methodist Church, American Legion Auxiliary and VFW Auxiliary; and an avid bowler for many years.  She enjoyed gardening, birds and, most of all, her family.

She is survived by five children: Dorothy (Peter) Passantino of Warrenville, Robert (Jean) Morris of Naperville, James (Beverly) Morris of Byron, Susie(Ed) Cedro of Sterling and Rene Morris of Sterling: 13 grandchildren;  Michael Fell, David Fell, Matthew Passantino, Mark Morris, Heather Livengood, Jeffrey Cedro, Amy Roach, Deron Cedro, Amber Ramirez, Andrea Mallhi, Brian Morris, Stephen Morris and Dennis Morris; 27 great grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband; three sisters; Lera Owen, Pearl Charvat, Mildred Livingston, and one brother, Frank Hicks.


            Visitation will be Wednesday, November 22, 2017 from 10:00 – 11:00 AM at Wesley United Methodist Church, Sterling.  Funeral services will be at 11:00 AM at the church with Reverend Jeremiah Thompson officiating.  Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery, Sterling.  Arrangements were completed by the McDonald Funeral Home, Sterling.

Memorials have been established to Wesley United Methodist Church and Hospice of the Rock River Valley.

Online condolences may be sent to


Elmarene "Ellie" Thompson

Ellie was born April 6, 1925, in Summerville, KY, the daughter of George W. and Alice
(Elmore) Ratliff. She married Richard J. Thompson on December 26, 1945, in
Princeton, IL. He preceded her in death on August 19, 1984. Ellie and Dick farmed in
the Amboy area for almost 50 years. She lived in Dixon and Sterling since her
husbands passing. Ellie enjoyed many years of bowling with friends, country music,
some traveling, but most of all she loved being with her family.
She is survived by one son, David R. (Tiger) Thompson of Sterling; one daughter,
Susan (Delbert) Kessel of Amboy; four granddaughters, Johnna Thompson and Jennifer
Thompson, both of Dixon, Deanna (Darrin) Barlow and Chris (David) Schaver, both of
Amboy; seven great grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Breann Moyer, Drake and Dorian
Barlow, Alyx, Luke and Jake Schaver; three great great grandchildren, Gabriel, Julianna
and Aubrey Moyer; and two sisters, Wauneta Lang of Galva and Shirley Bornsheuer of
She was also preceded in death by; longtime friend Lester Blaine; four brothers, Harold,
George, Bob, and Ronald Ratliff; and one sister, Lula (Frank) Day.
Visitation will be from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., on Friday, November 24, 2017, at Preston-
Schilling Funeral Home, Dixon, followed by an 11:00 a.m., funeral service, at the funeral
home, with the Rev. David Schweppe, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Dixon,
officiating. Burial will be in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Dixon.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established.
Condolences may be sent to

Connie C. Jackson

Connie C. Jackson, age 60, of Lyndon, died Friday, November 17, 2017 at her home.

          Connie was born July 13, 1957 in Morrison the daughter of Ralph and Coletta (Wand) Koehn.  She married Merle Jackson in July of 1995 in Morrison and was employed at Sterling Medical Supplies for 26 years.

          Survivors include her husband of Lyndon; one daughter, Tiffany (Ron) Coleman of Prophetstown; one son, Shawn (Tina) Buckley of Annawan; one step daughter, Emily Jackson of Prophetstown; one step son, Joseph Jackson of Lyndon; five sisters, Shirley (Jim) Eads of Prophetstown, Maryann (Jerry) McClellan of Lyndon, Nancy Koehn of Rock Falls, Debbie (Ray) Imler of Petersburg, Iowa, and Margie Koehn of Rock Falls; two brothers, Donnie (Vicki) Koehn of Prophetstown and Gary Koehn of S.C.; eight grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.

          She was preceded in death by her parents and one nephew.

          Visitation will be Wednesday, November 22, 2017 from 12 – 2:00 PM at the McDonald Funeral Home, 46 Grove Street, Prophetstown.  Funeral services will be Wednesday at 2:00 PM at the funeral home.  Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery in Prophetstown.

          In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established.

          Online condolences may be sent to

Marjorie Stewart-Neilsen

Marjorie Stewart-Neilsen, passed away peacefully on November 18, 2017.

Marjorie Stewart-Nielsen was born in Carroll County on June 19, 1924 to Adam and Irene (Remrey) Yoeckel. On December 31, 1941 in Clinton, Iowa she married Eugene Stewart, who passed away on July 5, 1985. They had two sons, Larry and Ron. Larry Stewart passed away in 1995. On January 29, 2000 she married Duane Nielsen. She is also preceded in death by John Martin, who was a beloved family friend.

After 34 years of service with GE she retired but didn't slow down. She moved into several routes of volunteer work for Rock Falls. She was one of the co-founders of Whiteside County Jail ministry. She worked with several women in the Dixon Correctional center until they moved. She worked on various committees for the chamber, including the Rock falls Days Committee, several home town celebrations, fund raisers, and the River Chase committee.

Alongside her community she also was a life member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She served as unit president for three terms, district president for three terms and as 2nd division president. She was also secretary for many years for the Rock Falls Kiwanis Club. She volunteered for the hospice board and started a grief support group when there wasn't any.

Throughout her years devoting time to her community she was honored with several prestigious awards. She won the Shoulder to Wheel award, which she was most proud of. She also won the IL Governors First Lady award, Footsteps in the Sand award, The Stud Terkel award, The YWCA Crete Dillon Bowman award.

She shared her heart with the world and changed so many lives. However her greatest achievements in life were her family. She is survived by her husband Duane Nielsen; son, Ron Stewart; Grandsons: Jason and John; Granddaughters: Michelle and Marcia; step-daughter Shirley Rockwell; step-son Terry; Brothers: Adam, Edward, Myron, and Gene Yoeckel; Her sisters: Effie Drain, Arlene Crozier, Myrna Foley and Alice Basil; Her Great grandchildren and also her great-great grandchildren.

She was an amazing woman devoted to helping everyone in need and to her relationship with Jesus. She shared her love with people far and wide in different situations. She will be greatly missed and always remembered by her family and friends.  

Visitation will be held on Wednesday November 22, 2017 from 9 - 10:45 AM at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 501 8th Avenue in Rock Falls. The funeral will follow at 11 AM in the church with the Reverend Bree Truax officiating. Burial will conclude at Oak Knoll Memorial Park in Sterling.

Arrangements completed by McDonald Funeral Homes.

Memorials in her memory to Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church or the American Cancer Society.