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December 7, 1942 ~ November 29, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old
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Suellyn Lindsey Garner was born on December 7, 1942 in Richland County, IL to Charles H. and Lucile Wiles Lindsey (Cooley). She grew up in Cisne, IL and graduated from Cisne High School in 1959. At age 16, she enrolled at Eastern Illinois University as a Music Education major and stayed on to complete a Master of Arts degree in Music History and Theory. She was a graduate assistant and assistant director of The Easternaires, a song and dance group that was invited by the USO to perform on military bases on the Caribbean for six weeks. During summers, she was a counselor for music and recreation camps and for two years, co-director of them. In 1964, she moved to Franklin Park, IL and became a full-time pianist in the music department at East Leyden High School. The next year, she was hired as the assistant choral director.
On June 12, 1966, she married Donald Paul Garner, a speech professor at EIU. They lived in Charleston all their married lives. Suellyn taught music at Charleston Junior High School in 1966. She then established a piano studio from 1967-74 and taught night classes at Lake Land College. From 1974-76, she returned to Charleston Junior High as the music teacher. 1979-80 found her substituting in EIU’s music department. In 1981, she wrote a grant and became the director of ABE, Arts in Basic Education. After the ABE program she worked as assistant principal at Jefferson Elementary School and then principal at Carl Sandburg Elementary in Charleston. Since retiring she has volunteered throughout the community with the Charleston Food Pantry, the Welcome Center and Tarble Arts Center at EIU, and most recently with CASA as an advocate for children in the foster system. She was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Charleston as occasional pianist, choir member, and all-around volunteer. She has shared her musical talents with the community since arriving in Charleston in 1959.
Suellyn was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, Donald P. Garner; mother, Lucile Cooley; brother, Dan Lindsey; sister-in-law Joanna Lindsey; and sister-in-law Oralene Lindsey. She is survived by her sons, Josh Garner (Dedre) and Dirk Garner (Zarina); and four grandchildren, Aidan, MacKenzie, Logan, and Pearce; and her brother Ronald Lindsey.
Funeral services will be conducted at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at Adams Funeral Chapel with Reverend Mary E. Wright officiating. Burial will follow in Roselawn Cemetery, Charleston, IL. Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. prior to the service on Tuesday at Adams Funeral Chapel, 2330 Shawnee Drive, Charleston, IL.
To view the full obituary, send a condolence message, light a candle, or post photos, please visit www.adamsfuneralchapel.com. Adams Funeral Chapel, 2330 Shawnee Dr., Charleston, IL is in charge of the arrangements.