Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

September 16, 2013

Family, friends say goodbye to Willow Long

EFFINGHAM — In a packed, tear-filled chapel, family and friends said one last goodbye to 7-year-old Willow Long.

More than 150 people gathered at First Baptist Church in Effingham, supporting the DeRyke and Long families as an entire community takes the first steps in trying to heal from the tragedy.

"We want to be reminded today that we are in a place of worship and that's what we do we worship our God, God who didn't create death but gave us a place to go," said the Rev. Dan Tarno of Grace Bible Fellowship Baptist Church in Canton, Texas, who opened the ceremony.

Family members acknowledged the acute loss everyone feels for Willow but also the power she had to unite her family and community.

"There was something that Willow not only looked for, but something Willow wanted to deliver, which was love," said one family member. "To be able to put a smile on mom's face, grandmother's face, dad's face, uncles, aunts, that's who she was. I know it's been a difficult time for not just family, but friends and those who looked for her but that (search) was put together, that love was driven for this angel."

Thomas Long, Willow's father, struggled to explain what his daughter means to him and the obvious impact she had on the community.

"I've thought and I've prayed and I've prayed and I've thought about what I could say about Willow and I realized that there's nothing that I can tell everyone here about Willow that you don't already know," he said. "She was wonderful and perfect, and we all loved her."

Long said he hoped his message to his daughter could be shared in the hearts of the community.

Text Only
Local News
  • 2 in court on meth charges Jackson Adams Daily News Two individuals arrested on methamphetamine charges in Shumway appeared in Effingham County Circuit Court Tuesday. Tara L. Devoe, 18, of Shumway and Nathaniel S. Sparks, 23, of Beecher City both appeared with counsel before a

    April 16, 2014

  • Effingham eager to attract Pinnacle TONY HUFFMAN Daily News Pinnacle Foods is considering an expansion its operation into the former Fedders building. The project will bring up to 25 full-time jobs to the area. The City of Effingham is looking to make that expansion more appetizing wit

    April 16, 2014

  • Dieterich school meals to cost more Jackson Adams Daily News DIETERICH -- Parents can expect to see some higher costs at Dieterich schools in the next school year. Dieterich Superintendent Carrie Jackson said one of the more notable changes in fees will be noticeable in school breakfas

    April 16, 2014

  • Cathy-beach closed.jpg Beach conditions worry EWA

    Effingham Water Authority is putting the operator of Lake Sara beach on notice after health code violations have kept the beach closed for the past couple of years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Soybeans favored over corn

    The United States Department of Agriculture is projecting that farmers nationwide will plant more acres of soybeans this year than ever before.

    April 15, 2014

  • Water service to be interrupted for some Effingham residents Tuesday

    Water service will be interrupted along the following streets, starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday to repair and replace water main valves.

    April 14, 2014

  • Grant to make Dieterich sidewalks more accessible

    A Dieterich pedestrian accessibility project will receive $800,000 as part of transportation grants being given throughout the state.

    April 13, 2014

  • Farming accident claims life

    A Mulberry Grove man was killed instantly Saturday when a tractor he was driving flipped over on him while working on his property.

    April 13, 2014

  • Hodge.jpg Drug enforcement focus of new ISP commander

    Illinois State Police  Zone 7 Investigations Interim Commander Kelly Hodge will now head two districts as commander of Effingham-based District 12 and Carmi-based 19.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nicole Dominique.jpeg Opinion: A pointed lesson

    Kids, gather around. I want to tell you a story about why you’re not being careful enough with knives.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.