Cover photo for Betty Jean Kehias's Obituary
Betty Jean Kehias Profile Photo

Betty Jean Kehias

September 29, 1928 — September 30, 2023

Betty Jean Kehias

Betty Jean Kehias, 95, passed away peacefully Saturday (Sept. 30) at Carle BroMenn Medical Center, Normal.

She is survived by son Jimmy (Becky) Kehias, Bloomington; daughters, Melissa (Greg) Locke, Kalamazoo, MI; Jonell, Bloomington; Betsy (Bill) Rayner, New Orleans, LA; Sue Kehias (Jason), Oak Park; her nine grandchildren, Greg Jr., Billy Locke, Nell, Kelly, Billy Rayner, Patrick, Andy, Mary Louise, Roy; and great-grandchildren Camille, Adell, Florence, Fiona and Alexander. She was preceded in death by husband, James. 

Jean was born on Sept. 29, 1928 in Pana to John (Red) and Nelle Gaines. In 1955 she married James Kehias Sr., also of Pana. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kentucky.

After marriage Jean followed her husband to many locations including Murfreesboro, Tenn., Burlington, Iowa and spent summers at Fort Benning, Georgia before settling in Normal in 1968. Jean lived at her home on Gladys Drive for 55 years, where neighbors became family and always looked out for each other.   

Jean spent the majority of her time raising her five children and taking care of her parents as they aged. She was a devoted daughter and mother, and always sentimental about her Pana roots, where her father owned the Tex & Gaines Furniture Store and her father-in-law owned George’s Candy Shop.

Jean enjoyed traveling with her family, and had many fond memories of cruises and countries visited including the Bahamas, Greece, Ireland, Italy and she especially enjoyed her trip to England on the Concorde.

Some of her favorite trips were attending Bowl Games when her beloved Notre Dame football team played.  Her love of all things Notre Dame often caused three of her children to claim she favored the Notre Dame graduates in the family. Although she denied having favorites, that statement is still disputed at family get-togethers.   

There will be no burial service as Jean chose to enroll in the body donor program for medical research and educational institutions of Illinois. Her Mass of Resurrection will be at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at St. Patrick Catholic Church of Merna in Bloomington with Father Dustin Schultz officiating. The family will receive friends immediately following Mass in the church's Shamrock Hall. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to St. Patrick Catholic Church of Merna. 

The family would like to thank her Gladys Drive neighbors, Carle BroMenn Hospice and especially Sandra, Elora, Sara and Marcia of Synergy HomeCare for their exceptional and compassionate care.








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Past Services

Mass of Resurrection

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Starts at 11:00am (Central time)

St. Patrick Catholic Church of Merna

1001 N Towanda Barnes Rd, Bloomington, IL 61705

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