DU QUOIN - Joseph Thomas "Red" Vancil, 83, passed away at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb.
20, 2010, in Marshall Browning Hospital in Du Quoin.
Joe was a retired welder and pipefitter. Joe attended grade school in De Soto and
graduated from Sparta High School in 1945. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church in
Du Quoin since 1957. He was a member of Du Quoin American Legion and a life member of Du
Quoin VFW. He was a U.S. Army/Air Force veteran of World War II serving as a finance clerk
in Italy with the 529th Air Service Group.
He was the last living survivor of Centralia No. 5 Mine Disaster of March 25, 1947. On
that date, he was 20 years old and the youngest among the survivors. His father, Joe H.
Vancil, and an uncle, Desmond "Dude" Vancil, both natives of Du Quoin, worked at
Centralia No. 5 and died in the explosion. On Palm Sunday, March 23, 1997, almost 50 years
to the date after the mine disaster, Joe Vancil returned to Centralia for a memorial
service to commemorate the tragedy and to praise his fellow workers at No. 5.
He was born Feb. 7, 1927, in Herrin, the son of Joe Henry and Carrie (Warren) Vancil.
He married Emma Jean Falkenheim on Nov. 20, 1948, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in
Sparta, and she survives. On their 50th wedding anniversary, they celebrated by taking all
of their children and grandchildren to Hot Springs, Ark., for a vacation where Joe and
Jean spent their honeymoon.
He is survived by his wife of Du Quoin; two daughters, Kathy Vancil and husband, Ed
Rollberg, of Cordova, Tenn., and Carol Jean Vancil of Cordova, Tenn.; one son, Steven
Joseph Vancil and wife, Marjorie, of Broken Arrow, Okla.; three grandchildren, Sara
Rollberg of Cordova, Tenn., Angela Novak and husband, Sean, of Tulsa, Okla., and Aaron
"A.J." Vancil of Broken Arrow, Okla.; and two great-great-grandsons, Patrick and
He was preceded in death by his parents; two half sisters, Wilma and Virginia and a half
Memorial services will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, in First Presbyterian
Church at Du Quoin, with the Rev. Tim Scroggins officiating. Burial will be in Sunset
Memorial Park in Du Quoin.
Military graveside rites will be by Du Quoin VFW and American Legion.
Friends may make memorials to First Presbyterian Church of Du Quoin, and they will be
accepted at the funeral home.
Searby Funeral Home in Du Quoin is in charge of arrangements.
For more information or to sign the memorial guest register, visit
Published in The Southern Illinoisan on February 22, 2010
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