February 13, 1940 to January 26, 2019

A born teacher

Bennie Carter, Jr—a man whose life revolved around teaching and family—passed away of congestive heart failure at Loyola Hospital, in Maywood, IL,  on Tuesday, January 26, his beloved wife of 46 years, Josie, daughter Ericka, and grandson Xavier by his side. He was seventy-eight.

A resident of Forest Park, IL, Bennie had a passion for teaching, sports, and fundraising for his alma mater, West Virginia State University. A member of the Chicago Board of Education for 34 years, he taught high-school biology, his profession until he retired in 2005. He also taught classes to inmates at Cook County Jail for ten years.

A love of learning

Bennie’s love of learning was instilled in his only child, Ericka, who says her dad “believed in education and encouraged me to get my degrees. He supported me in whatever I did.”

One of three sons, Bennie was born February 13, 1940, in St. Petersburg, FL, to Bennie Carter Sr. and Alice Griffin Carter. He and his brothers, Clarence and Ronald, grew up in a loving, rambunctious family in the town where Bennie came into the world. He later said that St. Petersburg was “the best city ever.”

After graduating from Gibbs High School, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and West Virginia State University, in Charleston, going on to earn a “Master’s in Education plus 40 hours,” as he liked to brag, from Governors State University in Chicago.

After joining the U.S. Army, he spent two years as a special intelligence officer, including one year in Frankfurt, Germany. Bennie married the girl of his dreams, Josie, on April 26, 1973.

Continue reading “BENNIE CARTER JR.”



August 7, 1962 to July 31, 2018

Editor’s Note: Christine passed away July 31, 2018 after bravely fighting cancer for three years. She was just 56. Born August 7, 1962 in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, she graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S in Engineering Physics, and from Loyola Marymount University with an MBA. After hiring on at Hughes Aircraft Company, she had a long career in South Bay aerospace, including infra-red airborne navigation, satellite technology, and unmanned aircraft at Hughes, Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman. In the course of her work, she got to experience a catapult launch off the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan near San Diego in 2014. Chris leaves her husband, Gary, Daisy the cat, and a very old Plecostomus (fish). Please make a donation to South Bay Wildlife Rehab, She Rocks KXLU at, or the USO. Funeral arrangements made by White & Day Mortuaries.

Gary Combs presented Christine’s eulogy at Palos Verdes Golf Club on Saturday, November 17, 2018.


By Gary Combs

“I stayed good at planning trips”

Chris experienced a catapult launch off an aircraft carrier

I met Chris at Hughes Aircraft around 1985. She was engaged at the time, but she broke up with her fiancé shortly after. She told me it was because he told her that her career didn’t matter. Almost as importantly, her cat didn’t like him. Her cat liked me, though. Over the Labor Day weekend in 1986, I planned a trip to Monterey Bay. The aquarium had just opened, so I booked a hotel, got tickets to the aquarium, and looked up other things for us to do while there. This was all before the Internet, so I used the old Auto Club tour book. Chris later told me that the fact that I had planned the trip, and that all she had to do was to go along, really impressed her. She said that was when she started to fall in love with me. So, I made darn sure that I stayed good at planning trips.

“We did a good amount of international travel”




October 9, 1942 to October 17, 2018

He sensed his calling

Teacher, youth counselor, and Baptist pastor, Charles Joseph Davis—a deeply religious man who sensed his calling at an early age—succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Wednesday, October 17, at his home in Woodstock, GA, his wife of 51 years, Ellen, at his side. He was 76.

Despite the serious role he assumed in life, Joe—as he preferred to be called—always had a twinkle in his blue eyes and a welcoming grin on his face. He adored people and was most at home ministering to those in need.

Refusing to take himself too seriously, on the other hand, he relished playing practical jokes on his family, friends and students.

A loving home

Continue reading “CHARLES JOSEPH DAVIS”



March 18, 1924 to July 5, 2018

Unquenchable faith in others 

Cletus E. Ballweg—a man who possessed a vigorous personality, joyful nature, and an unquenchable faith in others, especially family—died Thursday, July 5, 2018 at Otterbein Nursing Home in St. Marys, Ohio.

He was 94.

According to his grandson, a quote of writer Albert Pike’s perfectly fits his beloved grandfather: “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us: what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

One of six children, including two brothers and three sisters, Cletus was born March 18, 1924, in Shelby County, OH to Edward and Minnie (Townsend) Ballweg. He grew up on a dairy farm during the Great Depression and learned the value of hard work. Cletus would often recall how his father wouldn’t allow him to get a job until his younger brothers came of age and took over his work on the farm.

16 hour work days

Continue reading “CLETUS E. BALLWEG”



February 17, 1950 to February 15, 2018

A virtuoso entrepreneur

Donald (right) and his brother James

Donald Franklin Stevens—a virtuoso entrepreneur, passionate Dallas Cowboys fan, and devout Pentecostal Christian—passed away on Thursday, February 15, 2018, at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, CA.

Donald was just two days short of his 68th birthday when he transitioned to everlasting life.

A powerhouse when it came to business, Donald operated the fastest-growing Pepperidge Farms franchise in Southern California, later transitioning into a Food Distributorship, servicing Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties. He was equally known as a big-hearted philanthropist, especially when it came to his eight brothers and sisters.

“Donald helped every sibling who followed him to California,” his brother James Stevens said.  “He never made you feel like you were imposing after inviting you to live with him until you were ready to strike out own your own.”

Shared a four-bedroom “shotgun” house


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