DOW - Diane Stumpe died July 6, 2021. She was 70 years old.
Diane Lee McDaniel Bensen was born December 22, 1950, in Chicago, Illinois to Virginia Cozart McDaniel and Roland McDaniel. She was later adopted by Roy Bensen.
She grew up in the Chicago area and attended Willow Brook High School in Villa Park, IL, where she graduated in 1968. After high school, Diane attended Illinois State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In the spring of her freshman year, she met fellow freshman Louis Stumpe, III, at a lake party. That night, Louis wrote in his diary, “Tonight, I met the girl I’m going to marry.”
Those words rang true: they graduated in 1972 and were married the following week, on June 17, 1972.
After graduation, they moved to Dow, IL, where they lived and worked on the Stumpe family farm. A city girl, Diane embraced her new farm life and jumped in both feet. She did everything from help milk cows to pick produce. She did not know how to cook at first, and was taught to cook by her mother-in-law, Evelyn Stumpe. Later, Diane became famed for her cooking and meals.
She was an active participant in her local community, where her interests were varied and diverse. In 1978, she went back to school at SIUE, where she earned a master’s degree in social work. In the mid-1980s she worked at Agri-Solutions, where she earned a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade and became a commodities broker.
In 1993 she founded the Christian Co-op, a non-profit charity that helped the victims of the 1993 flood. Christian Co-op grew into a larger organization that helped hundreds of people over the years in Jersey County and Beyond.
In 1995, she founded Nature KiSt, a natural food and nutrition store, the first of its kind in the tri-county area. There had never been anything like it in Jersey and the surrounding counties, and Diane developed a loyal clientele. She immersed herself in the world of natural health and remedies, and people came from miles around for her advice. She sold Nature KiSt in 2020.
She was elected to the Jersey County Board, where she served a four-year term, from 2002 to 2006.
Diane was a devout Christian and an active member of the Christian community. She and her family attended Charity Christian Center, now Life Church X. Diane prepared and delivered meals for the church’s monthly senior dinners. For many years, Diane and Lou participated in Basket of Hope mission trips to Kenya, where they ministered to women, helped organize women’s leadership conferences, and helped build schools.
When they were younger, Diane and Lou were avid members of the Grand Squares, a square-dancing group in Jersey County. Diane was a 4-H leader and an active personal Christian minister for her church.
Diane and Lou had four children: Christina, Suzanna, Julianna, and Louis.
She was preceded in death by her adopted father, Roy Bensen; her biological father, Roland McDaniel; her brother, Rusty McDaniel; her brother, Roy Bensen, Jr.; and her grandson, Jared Louis LaPlant.
She is survived by her mother, Virginia Bensen of Villa Park, IL; her sister Pat Eastman of Tampa, FL; her sister and brother-in-law Joyce and Ward Pemberton of Chicago; her sister and brother-in-law Laura and Ron Nork of Villa Park, IL; her husband, Louis Stumpe, III of Dow; her daughter and son-in-law, Christina and Danny Blakely of Whispering Pines, NC; her daughter and son-in-law Suzanna and Keith Waters of Highland, IL; her daughter and son-in-law Julianna and Jeremy LaPlant of Dow; and her son and daughter-in-law Louis and Jennifer Stumpe of Dow; her grandchildren, Vaughn, Gavin, and Kai Blakely; Greg Epperheimer; Aaron and Amber Waters; Tabitha Cartwright; Jay, Josie, and Jerra LaPlant; Alexis and Kortney Stumpe; as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Visitation is Wednesday, July 14 from 4 – 8 pm at Life Church X in Jerseyville. The funeral service is Thursday, July 15 at 10 a.m. at Life Church X with a celebration of life immediately following at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Basket of Hope, Inc., and Got Faith Ministry.
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