Obituaries, June 21, 2024

Written on 06/21/2024

Wanda J. (DeWitt) Johns

Wanda J. (DeWitt) Johns, 98, Kokomo, passed away at 10:07 a.m. Monday, June 17, 2024, at her home. She was born May 20, 1926, in Howard County to Thamer E. and Della E. DeWitt.

Wanda was a 1944 Union Township High School graduate and attended Indiana Business College. Always a loving homemaker, she also worked for Delco Electronics for 23 years and as church secretary for 10 years at Oakford Baptist, later Crossroads Community Church, where she was a member for 73 years.

Wanda was a strong woman of faith and had a true love of life. Her greatest love was for her family. She always gave the strongest hugs. She was so sweet natured and loved by all. Still an avid Cubs fan today, she began listening to Cubs games at the age of 10 years old while lying in front of the radio keeping stats. In addition to the Cubs, she enjoyed the Indiana Pacers, IU and Purdue sports, as well as sewing and spending time at the lake with her family.

She is survived by her children, Janet (Charles) Lambert, Jo “Jody” (Larry) Goodrich, and Jerald “Jerry” (Cheryl) Johns; grandchildren, Alan (Tammie) Lambert, Cynthia (Gregory) Harden, Cara (Sean) Keay, Brenton (Becca) Goodrich, Shane (Chasity) Goodrich, Rodney Goodrich, Amber Haynes and fiancé Kory Green, Tiffany (Dustin) Burkhardt, and Danny (Jenny) Johns; 16 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Leonard Johns, Russell Cessna, and Marvin Wood; a son, Danny Joe Johns; two sisters; and one brother.

The family wishes to thank Aunt Ilene “Ann” Kirkpatrick, Travis and Crystal Gibson, and Merry Griggs, for their loving care of Wanda.

Funeral services celebrating Wanda’s life will be at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, June 22, 2024, at Crossroads Community Church, 4254 S 00 EW, Kokomo, with Pastor Jeff Harlow Officiating. Burial will follow in Sharpsville Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family from 11:00 a.m. until service time Saturday at the church. Shirley & Stout Funeral Home & Crematory is assisting the family with arrangements. Messages of condolence may be left at

Marilyn Fay Hughes

Marilyn Fay Hughes, 88, of Kokomo, Indiana, passed away June 19, 2024, at her home. She was born on April 12, 1936, in Elwood, IN, the daughter of Charles W. and Deloris Faucett (Welch). In 1954, she married Cecil Hughes who preceded her in death in 2012.

Marilyn graduated from Kokomo High School. She loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She also loved gardening and her pet cats. Marilyn was a NASCAR fan.

Surviving relatives include four sons, Michael Hughes (Gloria) of Cordele, GA; Timothy Hughes of Kokomo, IN; David Hughes (Sheila) of Kokomo, IN; Rich Hughes (Sandy) of Kokomo, IN; 19 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren; sister, Pat Miller of Kokomo, IN and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, two sons Allen and Donald Hughes, sister Judy Wilson and brother Dave Faucett.

Visitation will be 4:00 - 7:00 PM Monday, June 24, 2024, at Ellers Mortuary. Funeral services 1:30 PM Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at Ellers Mortuary 725 S. Main Street, Kokomo, Indiana 46901. Burial will follow at Albright Cemetery, Kokomo, Indiana. Share a memory with the family at

George Fredrick Wilkins

George Fredrick Wilkins, known affectionately as Rick to his friends and family, passed away peacefully on June 19, 2024, just two days shy of his 52nd birthday. Born on June 21, 1972, in Neptune, New Jersey, Rick was a beacon of love and generosity throughout his life, touching the hearts of all who knew him.

Rick spent his childhood in Neptune where he developed a profound love for animals, especially horses. His compassionate spirit was evident even from a young age. As he grew, so did his desire to serve, leading him to become a dedicated Volunteer Fireman—a role in which he found great purpose and satisfaction.

The Wilkins family mourns the loss of a son, a brother, and an uncle. Rick was predeceased by his father, George R. Wilkins, but leaves behind his beloved mother, Maralena McCoy, and his brothers, Steve and Tommy Stackhouse. His absence will also be deeply felt by his host of nieces, nephews, and other family members, who will miss his thoughtful presence at family gatherings. Rick will be missed deeply by his fur baby Bella, and waiting on him is Fasa.

Rick's life was a testament to his loving, generous, and thoughtful nature. He was the kind of person who would go out of his way to help a friend, a neighbor, or even a stranger. His selflessness was most vividly displayed through his work as a Volunteer Fireman, where he put his own life at risk to protect the lives and properties of others.

In Kokomo, Indiana, where Rick spent his final years, he became known for his big heart and his unwavering commitment to helping people. He was a man who led by example, inspiring others to be kind and to give back to their community.

His passion for animals remained a significant part of his life. Rick could often be found spending time with horses, caring for them with the same love and attention that he gave to all living creatures. His gentle demeanor and kind eyes made him a favorite among the animals he cherished so dearly.

Rick's legacy is one of love and service. His actions spoke louder than words, demonstrating his belief that the best way to live is to give. He will be remembered as someone who made the world a better place simply by being in it.

As we say goodbye to Rick, we celebrate the life he lived and the countless ways he enriched the lives of others. His memory will live on in the hearts of those he touched with his kindness and in the stories that will be told of his generosity and thoughtfulness.

The Wilkins family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to the community of Kokomo for their support during this difficult time. Rick's life was a beautiful journey of giving, and it is with both sadness and pride that we honor his memory.

George Fredrick "Rick" Wilkins will be missed, but his spirit of love and generosity will forever be a guiding light for all who knew him.

Friends may visit with the family from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, June 24, 2024, at Kokomo Zion Church, 5051 E. 400 N. Kokomo. A Celebration of life will take place following visitation at the church with Pastor Keith Chanley. City of Firsts Cremation and Funeral Services by Rose and Geiger was entrusted with handling the arrangements.

Sara Jo Everling

Sara Jo Everling, age 65, of Tipton, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at Harbour Manor Health and Living in Noblesville, IN, after an extended illness. She was born on January 6, 1959, to her parents, Frank Everling and Nedra (Grey) Everling.

Sara graduated from Tipton High School in the Class of 1977. She was a young mother, and dedicated herself early in her life to working hard to make the best life she could for herself and her son. It wasn’t easy, but her determination carried her through. Nursing proved to be the right career path for Sara. Her caring heart really showed through her work. She was an amazing advocate for her patients, and prided herself on making sure their needs were met. Through the years, Sara worked for Tipton Nursing Home, Arcadia Children's Home for over 20 years, and Harbour Manor in Noblesville for the last 17 years.

In Sara’s spare time you may have found her reading a good book, whipping up a sweet treat, hanging out with one of her dear girlfriends, relaxing in the sun, or watching a movie in her recliner. She always kept a very tidy home and had an open-door policy for her friends and family. Everyone who really knew Sara appreciated her no nonsense approach to life. You never had to wonder where you stood with her. She’d just tell you unapologetically what was up; there was never any red tape to get through. If she was your friend, she was your friend for life and someone who could always be counted on. Her sarcasm was all her own, and maybe her greatest coping mechanism. She had a gift for saying the most inappropriate thing at the most inappropriate time, and often had everyone around her cracking up laughing.

Sara was goal oriented, and always had something she was working toward. She was responsible and organized. This carried over in her interaction with her grandchildren. She loved talking to them, figuring out what they were up to, and encouraging them to do their best in whatever they were doing. She loved each of them with all her heart; being “grandma” gave her a lot of joy! She gave all the kids a special nickname, sang many made up songs with silly lyrics if they needed cheering up, and enjoyed many ice cream outings with them. She made every Christmas memorable! She’d search high and low to find the most amazing unique gifts. She would also make each grandkid their very own cake, sausage bread, and bag of goodies that was just for them. She definitely took the time to make each of them feel special, and their time with her will be treasured throughout their lives.

Simply stated, short of driving out of Tipton, (she only drove out of Tipton to go to work, and that made her nervous), Sara would do anything to help anybody. She sometimes could be head strong and gruff; but that was usually because she was tired from working so hard. You could rely on Sara to be real, show her transparency, and even share her struggles in the hope of encouraging others. Anyone who knew her would tell you that she adored her son, was beyond proud of her grandchildren, and had a very loyal heart for her family and friends. She will be truly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her!

Those left to carry on Sara’s legacy of love are her son, Brandon Everling (Nicki); grandchildren, Keagan Everling (Gracie), Kadan Everling, Kelyn Everling, Kayden Chesshir, Addyson Chesshir, Jordynn Penley; great grandchildren, Britton Everling; siblings, Susie Grubb, Frankie Everling, Rory Everling (Sharon), Mike Everling, Greg Everling (Nita); as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Sara was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Nedra Everling; boyfriend, Jose Martinez; sisters, Julie Brannum and Vicky Watts.

A funeral service celebrating Sara’s life will be held on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, at 7:00 PM at Taylor & Cowan Funeral Home, located at 314 N. Main St. in Tipton with Pastor Joe Brock officiating. Visitation for family and friends will be held from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM prior to the service at the funeral home.

Taylor & Cowan Funeral Home is honored to serve the Everling family in their time of need.

Rita Marie Walters

Rita Marie Walters, 78, of Kokomo, Indiana, passed away June 19, 2024. She was born on December 31, 1945, in Kokomo, Indiana, the daughter of James Lindley Sr. and Marjorie (Pearcy) Lindley.

A 1964 graduate of Northwestern High School, Rita retired from Delco Electronics after many years of employment and was a member of UAW 292.

A farm girl at heart, she shared many stories of growing up with her brothers and sisters on the family farm in Ervin Township. One that stood out was winning an onion-eating contest (you ate them like apples) while others provided a glimpse of daily life in a large farm family. She carried the faith and values she learned as a child into adult life, shoring them up with a love of the Indiana countryside and a strong belief in the value of hard work. She was deeply committed to her roles of wife, mother, and grandmother and loved to be involved however she could. She was a leader for both Brownies and Cub Scouts. She was a big supporter of youth sports, encouraging her kids to participate year-round, and especially enjoyed running the concession stand at Northwestern’s ball diamonds for several summers. Later, she volunteered at Howard Elementary, relishing the opportunity to be around children again. She also volunteered at Hillsdale UMC alongside her sister, Karen.

She had a surprising sense of humor that was revealed in unexpected ways. Whether it was getting into character at Halloween or making some unusual cakes for parties with her co-workers, she found ways to make her work at Delco more enjoyable. She was fascinated by television shows where she could watch how medical procedures were done or learn more about other places. She dreamed of adventures and exploring the U.S. and the world. She encouraged her children and grandchildren to read & learn and to see & experience all that was out there while still embracing Howard County as home.

Rita is survived by her children - Rhonda Walters, Rodney and Debbie Walters, and Regina Walters - her grandchildren - Justin Walters, Jon Walters, and James Walters - and her former husband, Randy Walters. Other surviving relatives include - Bonnie Butler, Pat and Andy Anderson, Audrey Burkhalter, Jim and Linda Lindley, Keith and Pam Lindley, and numerous nieces and nephews as well as her former in-laws - Mike and Peggy Walters and their family.

Rita was preceded in death by her parents - Jim and Marjorie Lindley, her sister - Karen Jarrett, her brothers-in-law - Fred Jarrett and Ed Burkhalter, her infant granddaughter - Courtney Walters, and her former father- and mother-in-law - Donald “Pete” and Bonnie Walters.

Rita’s children would like to thank their father, Randy Walters, for all the care and assistance he provided during Rita’s last years. We are also thankful for the many caring professionals at Five Star Residences of Northwoods, Community Howard, Sycamore Village Care Center, and Paradigm Health.

Rita Marie, a beloved pearl of great price.

Dates and times for the visitation and funeral will be announced at a later date.