"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Celebration of Life

The Celebration of Life:

Kerry Franke passed away with grace and dignity in her home embraced by the love and support of her family on September 21, 2015 at 57 years old.  Kerry’s infectious smile, energy, and passion for life and goodness touched many throughout her entire lifetime.  Her kind spirit embraced all who were fortunate enough to cross paths with her.  Her light shone brightly even more so over the past seven years.  Kerry defied the odds, turning a bleak cancer diagnosis into an amazing journey of life and joy.    

Kerry was born in Springfield where she grew and thrived with her parents and three siblings.  She felt blessed to have grown up in a neighborhood full of families and children who would eventually become lifelong friends.  After graduating Springfield High School in 1976, Kerry began her life as wife and mother.  She was married to Larry Franke from September of 1977 until 2006.  Living in Springfield as well as Petersburg, she embraced her role as mother, teacher, artist, and quilter.  Her creative vision and talented skills made turning everything she touched into a “Kerry-fied masterpiece” best described by comforts, beauty and her amazing style.  Kerry’s passion and deepest love was for her children and during this journey she also felt extremely blessed to embrace the love of her grandchildren and closest friends.  Her boyfriend Shawn McKinney of 5 years also brought adventure, creative accomplishments and fulfilled a comfort and joy during her most difficult years.

Kerry worked as an Early Childhood Aide in the PORTA School District.  She was a member of United Methodist Church, Springfield Rotary Club, The Springfield Historical Society, as well as many volunteer efforts with Petersburg Historical Society, New Salem and Clayville. She attended Lincoln Land Community College and retired in 2015 from her position as Credit Manager at US Electric.  Kerry fulfilled a 20 year dream remodeling a storefront in downtown Petersburg to open a quilt shop, offering sewing lessons and custom quilting services while supporting local artists.

Kerry was preceded in death by her grandparents Carl and Caroline Ahrens of Springfield and Albert and Cora Johnson of Indian Point and Athens, Illinois.  She was most recently preceded in death by her beloved parents, Allen and Lois Ahrens.  She is survived by daughter Jessica Skaaren (Cory) of Phoenix, AZ., Jaclyn Franke (daughter Trinity) of Springfield, Jenelle Collins (Chris) of Ashland, and Joshua Franke (Katie) of Chatham (sons Myles and Nolan). Kerry was the sister of Terry Ahrens (Judy), Todd Ahrens (Margaret), and Barb Brewer (Brian).   She was passionate about her family and kept contact with her own cousins, aunts and uncles, embracing her role as Aunt Kerry to many nieces and nephews, as well as great nieces and nephews.  She was a good steward to her family and faith, as well as her friends and community.  Kerry encouraged all to embrace those you love, celebrate life, and believe there is good in the world.  

With deepest love and respect,
{The J's} Jessica, Jaclyn, Jenelle and Josh

Kerry's children, Jessica, Jaclyn, Jenelle and Josh will be hosting a Celebration of Life in honor of their Mother's wishes on Tuesday, September 29th at The Farm open house from 5:00pm - 8:00pm. 

21648 Old Farm Avenue
Peterburg, IL 62675


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  2. I didn't know her that well, but Kerry was a lovely person. She endured her awful disease with grace and dignity. I'm very sorry for your loss and pray your family finds peace and comfort that she is free at last. From Sue Kessler, SHS class of 76.

  3. Jenelle, I am so sad to hear this. I kno how close u were to her and words can't express how much my heart breaks for u. Prayers sent up for u and the family during this difficult time

  4. What a great Mother and Friend you had. She is SO proud of you all. We are keeping you in our thoughts.
    Pete and Judy Olesen

  5. My prayers for comfort and peace to the family. She will be missed by so many. She was a beautiful lady and so proud of her children and grandchildren. God Bless You all.


  7. My deepest sympathy to the family . Did`nt know your Mom very well but she was such a sweet person .

  8. Jackie, my thoughts and prayers are with you. It was an honor to know your mom. She was such a strong woman and I will never forget her. I think of her every time I see Sam's quilt. Rock on beautiful angel, I'll miss you.

  9. We are beyond words to express the sadness we feel with Kerry's passing. She fought this disease as no one ever has, and was one of the kindest and most cheerful persons we've ever known. May she rest in peace.

    With Sincerest Sympathy,

    The Smith Family

  10. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm a stage 4 cancer patient and really appreciate your blog. Your Mom's courage and ability to fight for seven years is an inspiration. I only hope that I can fight with the same dignity and fortitude and make as many happy memories along the way as she did for her family. I'm sure she is very proud of her children and can rest peacefully now. With sympathy, Sally Mandel


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