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In Memory of Barbara Kay (Kerley) Niehls

It is sad to announce that Barbara Kay Niehls, 73, (ex Class of 1963) of Jacksonville died Friday, May 5, 2017, surrounded by her family at the home of her daughter.

She was born September 1, 1943, the daughter of Roy Sr. and Bernice Warnaka Kerley. She married Kenneth L. Niehls on November 11, 1962, in Jacksonville and he preceded her in death on July 7, 2012.

She is survived by one daughter, Cheryl (James) Stratton of South Jacksonville; two granddaughters, Stacey (Michael) Helmich and Laurie (Daniel) Mattes, both of Jacksonville; five great-grandsons, Eli, Ezekiel and Everett Helmich and Waylon and Henry Mattes; and two sisters, Shirley (John) Baird of Santa Monica, California, and Francie Chute of Owasso, Oklahoma. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; two brothers and two sisters, Roy Kerley Jr. (surviving wife, Meryl of Cypress), Marjorie Ryan, and Dale Kerley and Mary Elizabeth Kerley, both in infancy.

Mrs. Niehls devoted her life to caring for others. She was a member of Westfair Baptist Church and enjoyed doing crafts and visiting with friends. Her house was open to everyone, and no one left without a hug. Most of all, she enjoyed being with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home in Jacksonville, with the Rev. Andy Chute officiating. Burial will follow at Diamond Grove Cemetery. The family will meet friends from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Memorials are suggested to the Jacksonville Deaf Bible Church. Condolences may be left online at buchanancody.com.

In Memory of James Bonds

James D. “Jim” Bonds, 84, of Jacksonville passed away Sunday evening, May 7, 2017, at Scott County Nursing Center in Winchester.

He was born September 13, 1932, in Scott County, the son of James D. and Oma Brewer Bonds. He married Betty McDannald on June 13, 1953, in Chapin, and she preceded him in death on June 1, 1986.

He is survived by one son, James (Janice) Bonds of Winchester; one daughter, Susan Smith of St. Louis; five grandchildren, Ally Smith, Andy Smith, Jamie Roe, Jennilee Bonds and Jessie Bonds; and three great-grandchildren, Isabella Llewellyn, Taj Roe and Calum Roe. He was preceded in death by one sister, Mildred Ann Bonds, in infancy.

Mr. Bonds served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. He graduated from Illinois College and was a teacher and coach for many years at the Illinois School for the Deaf, where he coached football, basketball and track. He was inducted into the Illinois Coaches Hall of Fame and the Illinois College Athletic Hall of Fame and was awarded the National Football Coach of the Year in the 1960s. He was a crop adjuster for Hartford Insurance Company for many years. He was an active member of Ducks Unlimited and enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing cards.

A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13, 2017, at Williamson Funeral Home in Jacksonville with burial at Chapin Cemetery. The family will meet friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. Memorials are suggested to Ducks Unlimited or the Illinois School for the Deaf Football Program. Condolences may be left online at www.airsman-hires.com.

Did You Know?

ASL painted image by Angela (Gargac) Botz ’85
Saturday, April 15, 2017 is the National ASL Day! A day of observance celebrating American Sign Language. Yay!! 
On April 15, 1817, the first school for the deaf in the United States opened. Students gathered there over the years and at subsequent deaf schools across our nation. The children intermingled Native American Signs, French Sign Language, and Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language. This process brought forth modern American Sign Language.
Support and believe in our deaf children acquiring sign language as to become successful. And also offers optimal opportunities for academic and social success, and thus both should be part of their language-rich and fully accessible environment.
We want you to join ISDAA and honor 200 years of our unique heritage in ASL, and open opportunities for our community across the country through this holiday and always! 

Angela Botz, our new ISDAA Public Relations

ISDAA is pleased to welcome Angela Botz as our Public Relations.

Angela (Gargac) Botz, ’85 is a leader, mentor, civil rights advocate and civil liberties. She is committed to her community, both state and national and the people around her. Botz has years of experience in leadership skills/development, value-based decision making, and mentoring. She is a Community Outreach Coordinator, Civil Rights Advocate and also coordinate Deaf Services at IMPACT Center for Independent Living in Alton, IL. She is involved in numerous of committees and boards including the Land of Lincoln Advisory Board of Alton and the Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation – District 5 Representative. She plans to continue to build a professional and positive image and brand for the deaf and hard of hearing community by assisting the community though self-advocate awareness, political empowerment, cultural preservation and disability awareness for equality so our community will continue to be the driving force to empower younger generation in our society.

She is exciting to be the Public Relations (PR) for ISDAA and to keep people informed.
Botz is known for her bubbly personality, optimistic attitude, and her undeniable passion for fighting for civil and disability rights. Her interests include painting, traveling, graphic design and spending time with her family and friends.

In Memory of Wallace Jeffers

Wallace T. Jeffers
August 04, 1933 – March 11, 2017
ATTENDED ISD – 10/01/1984 TO 02/28/1995


Monday, Mar 20, 2017
10:30 AM-11:30 AM

Funeral Service

Monday, Mar 20, 2017
11:30 AM


Wallace T. Jeffers, 83, of Jacksonville, IL died Saturday, March 11, 2017, at Prairie Village Healthcare Center in Jacksonville.

He was born August 4, 1933 in East St. Louis, IL.  He married Catherine Mitchell on March 17, 1957 and she preceded him in death on April 22, 1998.  He later married Ophelia Olive Jackson on September 30, 2000 and she survives.

He is also survived by eight step children, William Leon Mitchell Sr. of Jacksonville, James Daugherty (wife, Connie) of Bolingbrook, Sylvia Jackson of Chicago, Rodney Jackson (wife, Lynn) of University Park, Vicki LeMay of Los Angeles, CA, Susan Carter (husband, Michael) of Plano, TX, Leslie Norton of Springfield, and Billie Jean Jackson (husband, Chris Cathcart) of Los Angeles, CA and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

Wallace was a retired master sergeant with the US Air Force having served his country for 20 ½ years during both the Korean and Vietnam wars.  He formerly worked as a heavy equipment operator for Freesen, Inc. and later owned and operated Jeffers Moving and Storage for over 10 years.  He was then employed 10 years at the Illinois School for the Deaf prior to his retirement.

A dedicated community servant, Wallace served 12 years on the Jacksonville City Council as an alderman from the 3rd and 4th wards.  He was instrumental in the creation and design of the State of Illinois Retired Military license plate, now available to retired veterans to recognize their service.  He also served as a mentor for a young man at Lincoln’s Challenge in Rantoul.

He was a devoted member of Mt. Emory Baptist Church in Jacksonville where he served as a trustee and deacon.  In addition, he formerly served on the Salvation Army Board of Directors and as a volunteer with Big Brother-Big Sister.  He was a life member of Jacksonville Amvets Post #100 and the Springfield American Legion Post.

Funeral services will be held 11:30 am, Monday, March 20, 2017, at Mt. Emory Baptist Church in Jacksonville with burial and military rites at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield.  The family will meet friends at the church from 10:30 am Monday until the time of services.  In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are suggested to Mt. Emory Baptist Church.  The Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home in Jacksonville is in charge of the arrangements.  Condolences may be sent online at www.buchanancody.com.