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Penry Ann Cockrum of Sesser

  • Penry Ann Cockrum

    Penry Ann Cockrum

updated: 8/28/2017 6:01 PM

Penry Ann Cockrum, 73, of Sesser, formerly of Benton, gently and quietly left this earth on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Penry was born Oct. 18, 1943, in Herrin to Maurice H. "Smokey" and Patricia Ann Chapman Poulson. She was their only child.

She graduated from Benton Consolidated High School in the Class of 1961. These were some of her favorite people, and she never missed a class reunion as well as staying in touch with her classmates.

Penry attended Gradwohl School of Technology in 1962 in St. Louis. She became a laboratory technician and worked in the blood banks of Good Samaritan Hospital in Mount Vernon and Franklin Hospital in Benton.

In 1987, Penry graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a degree in mortuary science. She owned and operated Poulson Funeral Home in Benton, along with her husband, Terry, from 1987 to 2007.

Penry was a member of First Christian Church, Illinois Funeral Directors Association, National Funeral Directors Association, Egyptian Funeral Directors Association and Business and Professional Women's Club of Benton.

She married her best friend and life partner, Terry K Cockrum of Sesser, on Oct. 10, 1987.

Penry and Terry enjoyed going out to eat, antiquing, being outdoors in their beloved Southern Illinois, and spending time with family and friends. They were excited to celebrate 30 years of marriage this October.

Penry loved and cherished her six children, Steffaney (Tom Welty) Seagle of Grand Detour, Jennifer (Christopher Lee) Pyle of St. Charles, Missouri, Jeffrey (Andrea) Seagle of Marion, Chris (Lee) Cockrum of Baltimore, Craig (Chrissy Boyd) Cockrum of Sesser and Vickie Cockrum of St. Charles, Missouri.

All who knew Penry remember her by her great laugh, joy for life, matter-of-factness and kindness given to thousands of friends and families in her professional and personal life. There were always two or three extra spots at the table during the holidays for those she knew had nowhere else to go.

Penry always said she loved being a funeral director because it was the last nice thing she could do for someone.

She was giving and generous beyond measure -- from crocheted afghans to homemade photo albums to beautifully crafted beaded bracelets. She loved creating things. But, more importantly, she loved giving them away.

Penry also loved her grandchildren, all of whom referred to her as their Ooma. They are Andrew Dunbar of West Frankfort, Derek Pyle of Miami, Samantha Cockrum of Harrisburg, Jordan Pyle of Philadelphia, Haley Cockrum of Germany, Lance Cockrum of San Diego, California, and Madison Bean of Marion.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and first husband, Charles "Chuck" Seagle.

A Celebration of Life open house will be from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, in Leffler (formerly Poulson's) Funeral Home, 401 E. Main St., in Benton. A reception will follow from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the VFW in Sesser. All are encouraged to attend this informal gathering to remember and celebrate Penry, Terry and their family.

Interment will be at a later date in Horse Prairie Cemetery in Sesser.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Second Chance Rescue of Franklin County or Horse Prairie Cemetery and will be accepted at Leffler Funeral Home, 401 E. Main St., Benton, IL 62812.

To leave online condolences for the family or share memories of Penry, visit

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