School 12

Gwendolyn J. (Craven) Blais

February 5, 1933 ~ October 31, 2019 (age 86)

Obituary Image


Gwen J. Blais, 86, of Ophiem, IL died Thursday October 31, 2019 at Heartland Health Care Center in Galesburg. Services are 10:30 a.m. Monday November 4, 2019 at First Lutheran Church in Sherrard. Burial is in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Ophiem. Visitation is 2-5 p.m. Sunday at Peterson Wallin Knox Funeral Home in Alpha. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be left to the AlWood Elementary School Library or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Online condolences may be left at

She was born February 5, 1933 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Melvern and Nora Hagen Craven. In her formative years, she lived with her maternal grandparents: Frank and Gertrude Hagen.

Gwen earned her AA from Black Hawk College, AB from Augustana and her MA from Western Illinois University where she was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society. She was united in marriage to Clyde F. Blais August 25, 1951 in Moline. He died in 2009.

Gwen taught English and art at Sherrard Sr. and Jr. High school, retiring in 1994. During those years, she taught part time at Black Hawk and Augustana Colleges. She completed her student teaching and after retirement, subbed at Rock Island High School. She was involved in interdenominational ministry for many years. She was involved in all the arts, sewing, writing, and was trained as a Master Gardener. Gwen enjoyed watching all sports, especially Grand Tour Cyling, and she would have watched paint dry if it was a competition.

She was a member of the Grace Lutheran Church in Ophiem.

Survivors include one daughter: Kerryn L. (Chris) Brandt of Clare, Iowa; one son, William E. (Dr. Jane Kotecki) Blais of Rockford, IL; 7 grandchildren: T. Aaron Numkena; Lehi Numkena; Sara Wolf; Nathan (Shannon) Numkena; Stefani (Jason) Warrant; Celestina Edelman; Zane Edelman; 9 great grandchildren: Austin D-W., Breanne, Austin W, Tynan, Gage, Dallas W., Victoria, Ronan, Colton, Bronwyn, and Anevay; one sister and brother-in-law: Judy and Jim Scott of Lone Tree, Iowa; many nieces and nephews; five cousins who grew up together; childhood family friend, Art Wheatley of Marion, Iowa; personal friend Gregor Franz, several plants, animals and former students of Sherrard, especially the Class of 1979.     

Gwen was preceded in death by Grandma and Grandpa Hagen: her parents, Alfred and Nora Hill; Aunt Edith and Aunt Daisy; and one beloved brother: Lowell Craven. May they rest in Peace.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gwendolyn J. (Craven) Blais, please visit our floral store.

 Service Program


November 3, 2019

2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Peterson Wallin Knox Funeral Home Alpha
111 S. 1st Street
Alpha, IL 61413

November 4, 2019

10:30 AM to TBD
First Lutheran Church in Sherrard
3117 175th Ave
Sherrard, IL 61281

November 4, 2019

Grace Lutheran Cemetery

Ophiem, IL


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856

AlWood Elementary School Library
101 E A St,, Alpha IL 61413

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