On the evening of Sept. 24, 2022, Viola Evelyn Benson gained her angel wings passing away peacefully of natural causes. Viola was being visited and comforted by family members at the Eastside Nursing Home in Pittsfield, IL at the time of her passing. Viola was only 2 weeks short of being 95 years old.
Viola was born in the town of Griggsville, IL on Oct. 10, 1927. She was the youngest of six children of Wesley Philip Waite and Edna Viola Bartlett.
Her life growing up was difficult, but somewhat typical of self-sufficient farmers where the entire family worked long hours in the fields using horse-drawn equipment, cared for the livestock which they later butchered for food, and grew their own vegetables. She reminisced that they first had electricity when she was in 6th grade to replace the kerosine lamps and lanterns. Then the telephone box arrived on a party line with 10 other people with a ring of one long and two short rings. But the family also made time for fun like swimming, wading, playing cards, sledding, and listening to the radio. And yes, she walked 1 ½ miles to the Teneriffe School regardless of the weather.
As an adult, it became very apparent that she had a true passion for being a caregiver. Viola worked 25 years at the Illini Community Hospital, and about 13 of those years as a Licensed Practical Nurse on the Floor as well as in the Emergency Room. She was very conscientious in serving her patients with dignity, respect and true compassion. So many people were blessed by her touch. It was not about the 25 years of service, but about the difference she made during those years by stepping into people’s lives. Even at the age of 82 she was hired to provide home care service for a gentleman over 90 years old. After retiring from Illini Hospital, she worked at her son Richard’s business, Sidwell Insurance & Realty for ten years.
Viola was preceded in death by Parents: Wesley Phillip Waite and Edna Viola Bartlett; Brothers: Paul Junior Waite (2008), Kyle Wesley Waite (2008), Ralph Eugene Waite (2015), Sister: Helen Maxine Waite (1942); Husbands: Marvin Sidwell (1981), John Benson (1992), Albert Orr (1982); Sons: Richard Sidwell (2022), Lewis Orr (2003); Grandsons: Joseph Sidwell (2021) and Bradley Sidwell (1974).
Viola is survived by her Sister Margaret Louise Opoien, Son John (Alma) Sidwell, 6 Grandsons: Tony (Patricia) Sidwell, Brice (Tawnya) Sidwell, Jason (Carla) Sidwell, David (Angie) Guthrie, Albert Orr, Nick Sidwell, Granddaughter: Julia Sidwell, 16 Great- Grandchildren, 6 Great-Great Grandchildren, Daughters-in-law: Alma Sidwell, LuAnna Sidwell, Marilyn Brooks, Theresa Sidwell; Stepdaughter: Madelyn Orr
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, September 30, 2022 at the Airsman-Hires Funeral Home in Pittsfield. Visitation with the family will be held on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be in Hinman Cemetery. Memorials can be made to Hinman Cemetery, an organization to which Viola personally devoted many hours over her lifetime and is the resting place for nearly all of her immediate family. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.airsman-hires.com.