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Connie Jean (Kerber) Baker
September 11, 1954 ~ February 4, 2024 (age 69) 69 Years Old
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CARTERVILLE – Connie Jean Baker, 69, passed away at her home on Sunday, February 4th, 2024, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was surrounded by family and will be missed more than words can convey.
Connie was born in Gibson City, Illinois, to Matt and Eleanor Kerber, and she was the 4th of six siblings. After graduating from Melvin-Sibley High School, Connie attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC), where she received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work.
The core of Connie’s professional career focused on helping children, youth and families struggling with mental health, addiction, behavior, poverty, and social integration issues. Connie worked at Franklin-Williamson Human Services and Jackson County Community Mental Health for several years. Connie then went on to work at SIUC, where she spent more than 20 years teaching social work. She continued to engage and mentor former students long after retirement.
Connie married Joe Baker on July 1st, 1978, and later gave birth to two sons, Andrew and Ryan Baker. Connie became a grandmother to five beautiful children. There was nothing she loved more than spending time with her children and grandchildren. The giggles she’d have with her grandchildren, even near the time of her passing, will be missed by all.
Connie also had a lifelong passion for antiques and vintage jewelry. After retiring from SIUC, Connie and Joe opened Rosebud Antiques on Herrin Road in Carterville, Illinois. She spent many, many hours patrolling estate sales, auctions, yard sales and all points in between to find items for the store. As her body began to fail, she moved her treasure hunting online, bidding on more auctions than can be counted. Her passion for interesting and rare items lasted through to the end.
Connie was active in the community, volunteering with the United Methodist Children’s Home, Shawnee Alliance for Seniors, the Department of Children and Family Services, among others. She was a vocal advocate for women’s rights and women’s health, as well.
Connie was a voracious reader and loved to travel. She was able to circle the globe, visiting Australia, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, Russia, and Scotland (among others). She had an amazing and broad set of friends, who provided comfort and support through challenging times.
Connie is survived by her husband, Joe; her two sons, Andrew and Ryan; her five wonderful grandchildren; her sisters, Mary Jane Nimmo and Cindy Busick; and her brothers, Greg and Tony Kerber.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Tom Kerber.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, February 17th at 6:00pm at the Carterville Community Center (120 N. Greenbriar Road, Carterville, IL 62918). Her final resting place will be Mount Hope Cemetery in Sibley, IL.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital (www.stjude.org), Hospice of Southern Illinois (https://hospice.org) or the Southern Illinois University Foundation (https://siuf.org/giving).
Riggin-Pillatsch & Burke Funeral Home in Carterville assisted the family with cremation services.