|Verna June Wessels, 87, of Knoxville, formerly of Rio, died at 6:25 p.m. on Sunday, February 21, 2010 at Knox County Nursing Home, Knoxville.
June was born on June 24, 1922 in Soperville, the daughter of Lionel and Mabel Johnson Ryan. She married William "Bill" H. Wessels on May 31, 1941 in St. Louis, MO. Bill preceded her in death on November 24, 2008. June was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.
Surviving June are 4 sons, William Lee (and Michelle) of Alexis, Gary B. of Galesburg, Rex E. of Knoxville, and Dale B. "Ben" of Crete; a daughter, Elaine (and Gene) Likes of Oneida; 21 grandchildren, 45 great grandchildren, and 15 great great grandchildren. Also surviving is a brother, Andy (and Rosie) Ryan of Galesburg; and a sister, Donna Lawson of Galesburg. June was preceded in death by a son, Terry Paul Wessels; 2 sisters, Maxine Hopping and Marjorie McKee.
June was a farm wife and homemaker at the family farm in rural Rio. She was a 4-H and FFA Mother and received "Mother of the Year in 1973." She ran the lunch room at the sale barns in Viola, East Galesburg and Heart of Illinois Arena in Peoria for many years. June and Bill prepared many miscellaneous catering events over the years in the area. She owned and raised many racehorses, especially thoroughbreds and was a member of the Illinois Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation.
She was very active in the Knox County Democratic Party, and served many terms as a precinct committeewoman in Rio Township. June attended many parades and campaign events with her many donkeys, supporting all democratic candidates. June was invited and attended three presidential inaugurations.
As an avid conservationist she received awards from the Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District for her pond which she and her family spent many hours enjoying. June was an enthusiastic gardener and enjoyed tending to all her beautiful flowers. She cared for many different types and unusual animals and birds, including donkeys, ostriches, and pet pigs. She was especially fond of collecting cardinals.
A funeral mass for June will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 25, 2010 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, with Msgr. Ernest Pizzamiglio officiating. Visitation will be Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at Watson Funeral Home with the rosary being prayed at 8 p.m. Burial will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Galesburg.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials may be made in care of the Wessels family for the Wessels agricultural memorial at Knox County Nursing Home. Expressions of sympathy may be made at www.watsonfh.net.