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Verna's Story

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erna Van Winkle Cenatiempo, age 94, died March 7, 2015, in Wolf Point, Mont., where she had been living with her daughter. Since November 2008, she resided in the nursing home there. She was born in Broughton to William and Josephine Van Winkle. Her parents died when she was five years old and she was separated from her two younger siblings, brother Gene and baby sister Helen. She went to live with her grandmother, Sarah Van Winkle until her grandmother's death and then she lived with her uncle and aunt, Hershel and Gladys Van Winkle until she left for college. From her happy time living with Hershel and Gladys' family, she became very close to her cousins, Ted and Phil and thought of them as brothers. She graduated from high school at age 15 and completed two years of college by age 17. She then taught in a one-room school house where her first teaching contract included a stipulation that she would chop wood for the heating stove. Her children were impressed by this fact but not as much as by stories of her riding a horse to school and being able to outrun all of the boys. She moved to St. Louis during World War II and later married a veteran of that war, Charles Cenatiempo. They had three children, Mike, Louise and Bill and raised their family in St. Louis. She was a highly intelligent woman who remained dedicated to education throughout her life. After her husband's death in 1980, she returned to college to complete her bachelor's degree in early childhood education. She later developed an interest in genealogy research and traced her ancestors in Southern Illinois. She is survived by her three children; five grandchildren (a sixth is deceased); three great-grandchildren; her beloved sister, Helen Van Winkle Allen; cousins, Ted (Betty) and Phil (Nancy) Van Winkle; and many nieces and nephews who knew her as “Aunt Bo.” She was a naturally gracious lady and a gentle soul. Gholson Funeral Home in McLeansboro provided the obituary information.
Published on  April 27, 2015
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