Frank & Bright Funeral Home

Beth VanMatre

Oct 3rd, 1948 - Dec 1st, 2023

     Elizabeth “Beth” VanMatre, age 75, of Cisne, Illinois, passed away Friday evening, December 1, 2023, at Deaconess Midtown Hospital in Evansville, Indiana.

     Beth was born October 3, 1948, in Richland County, the daughter of Norvon and Vena (Shipley) Fisher.  She married Billy Harmon VanMatre on February 26, 1972, and they shared 38 wedding anniversaries together.  Billy passed away June 29, 2010.

     Beth's life was a beautiful tapestry woven with threads of compassion, kindness, and an unwavering love for both people and animals.  As a dedicated wildlife rehabilitator, she extended her nurturing touch to creatures of all kinds, from raccoons and squirrels to even skunks, with a special devotion to the vulnerable babies. Her heartfelt commitment earned her an affectionate nickname—“Possum Lady.”  In recent years she still shared her home with some pretty special companions—her dog and birds.

     Her love for music was a melody that echoed throughout her life.  Beth found joy in singing and playing the piano, expressing her deep faith through music in the churches she attended.  She and Billy also participated in other area opry music gatherings.  She was both a great cook and a spectacular baker, whose award-winning creations filled tables at flea markets and craft shows that she and Billy frequented.  One of her most cherished legacies will be the treasured time she spent with her grandchildren who developed the skills and knack Beth taught to them while demonstrating how to make some of those countless delicious pies and breads.

     Beth's generosity knew no bounds.  She discovered beauty and gifted her spirit in the simple pleasures of life—through her love of flowers, her value of God’s smallest of creatures, and her musical praise—all while making time for precious and forever-remembered moments with her children and grandchildren.

     She is survived by her children: David (Sharon) VanMatre of Wynoose, Oakie (Regina) VanMatre of Olney, Joyce Denoncour of Flora, Betty (Smitty) Smith of Grayville, Charlotte Prieur of Fort Smith, Arkansas, Carl VanMatre of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Debbie (Craig) Fickas of Cisne; 16 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; 5 great-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and a special friend: Jim Brassie of Olney.  She was preceded in passing by her parents; husband; a daughter: Janice VanMatre; a granddaughter: Paige Hahn; 2 sisters: Karon McVaigh and Lois Eckiss; a brother: J.C. Fisher; and 2 nephews: David and Brad Eckiss.

     A funeral ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, December 7, 2023, at Frank & Bright Funeral Home in Flora.  Burial will follow at Willow Branch Cemetery, Rinard.  Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m Thursday at the funeral home.  Memorial donations are suggested to Hope Ministries in Geff, and these will be accepted through the funeral home.  To share a condolence or memory, visit: