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William Bryant “Sonny” Jeffers passed peacefully with his family by his side on July 22, 2018. A celebration of his life will be held at First Baptist Church at 4:00 pm on Saturday, August 4, with visitation from 1-4 pm that day. His longtime friend and pastor, Randy Mullinax will be officiating. A private burial will be held at a later date.
He was born on April 21, 1934 to Lavena (Perkins) and Bill Jeffers in Providence, KY. He attended grade and high school in Mt. Carmel, graduating from MCHS in 1952. He especially enjoyed the “Class of 52” monthly lunches, even until his last days.
On August 8, 1954, Sonny married Mary Lou Meritt, the love of his life and partner for almost 64 years. After graduating from Southern Illinois University in 1956 with a degree in Business Administration, he was drafted into the Army. From 1956-1958 he was stationed in Texas where he had many great experiences, especially since Elvis was also there at the same time. His strong patriotic feelings were reflected in his love of the flag.
Returning to Mt. Carmel, he and Mary Lou both started their teaching careers and found that one of them was much more suited than the other for that profession. After a year of teaching and coaching in St. Francisville, Bryant began his career in business.
In 1964, Bryant and Charlie Tate purchased the Charles L. Miller Insurance Agency. He continued the agency and Now Realty following Charlie’s retirement with his daughter, Melanie. He sold the business in 2001 to First Bank and retired from there in 2007. His favorite part of his day was starting with coffee at the “round table” at Hadley’s’ and later Hogg Heaven and McDonalds.
Bryant was very involved in the community, both formally and informally. He was a past member of Kiwanis, Shriners, Area Industrial Development and Chamber of Commerce. But he most enjoyed giving back in informal ways by passing out ice scrapers during the first snow of the season, spraying weeds down Cherry Street or College Drive and passing out lemonade on the hottest days of summer.
As a lifelong member of First Baptist Church, his involvement extended from Sunday school teacher in the 1960s and deacon for four decades to greeter and leader of the Koinonia Youth Group in the 1970s and 1980s. After his retirement, he was a member of the Baptist State Association Disaster Relief Team.
Football was always his favorite sport--whether it was playing for MCHS in high school, serving as a high school football referee, watching his grandsons play football, cooking breakfast for the team on game day or watching football with his grandson. He was a devoted Aces Fan.
In addition to his wife, Mary Lou, his children are here to honor and remember him: Jaleigh (Mike) White, Melanie (Dino) Gavanes and Brad (Carolyn) Jeffers. He is also survived by his sister Barb “Bobbie” (Bob) Brewer, grandchildren Beau (Amanda) Singer, Zach (Karen) Singer, Katina (Eric) Czachorski, Dakota (Alisha) White, Madison White and Kain, Gabby, Luke and Josiah Jeffers as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
A special thanks goes to Dr. Jennings and his staff and the entire staff of Wabash General Hospital for their devoted care to him through his many ailments. In his last days he was blessed to be cared for by very special home health caregivers and the team at Oakview Heights.
To continue his legacy of caring for others, memorials may be made to The Food Pantry at First Baptist Church, 130 W 6th St., Mt. Carmel, IL 62863.
Condolences may be made online at www.short-cunninghamfh.com
Short-Cunningham Funeral Home is honored to serve the Jeffers’ family.
Food Pantry at First Baptist Church
130 W 6th Street, Mt. Carmel IL 62863