CHENOA — An Arrowsmith couple killed Sunday in a car accident were remembered Monday as hardworking, family-centered people who were assets to the community.
Eldon Kaeb, 52, and his wife, Stephanie Kaeb, 45, were pronounced dead at the scene of a two-vehicle accident near Chenoa that was reported about 9:15 p.m. Sunday, said McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling. The couple farmed and had nine children, Kimmerling said in a news release.
“Preliminary information indicates that they had recently departed a family gathering and were heading to Wisconsin when the incident occurred,” she said.
Kimmerling said the accident involved an automobile and a semitrailer truck near the intersection of McLean County Road 3360 East and U.S. 24 just west of Weston. Kimmerling said the Kaeb vehicle was northbound on 3360 East when it collided with the westbound semi.
The couple, who were found trapped in the automobile, were pronounced dead at 11:31 p.m. at the scene. Autopsies are scheduled for today.
The driver of the truck was not injured, Kimmerling said.
The Chenoa and Colfax police departments, Illinois State Police and Chenoa and Fairbury fire departments all assisted at the scene.
The Kaebs had a grain and dairy farm, and Eldon Kaeb also worked at Bellflower Feed Mill until he had to quit about three years ago so he could focus on the farm, said mill owner Dennis McCormick. He was a dependable, hard worker who was quiet but friendly and could find the positive side of any situation, McCormick said.
“He felt God had a plan for his life,” McCormick said. “Some days would be great and some wouldn’t, but you get through it.”
Stephanie Kaeb was the more jovial and outgoing of the two, McCormick said.
He recalled visiting the Kaeb farm once and seeing her and the children working in the garden. The children were assigned their own rows of potatoes to tend, harvest and store, he said.
He remembered her saying: “I want to make sure my kids know where food comes from. Things don’t just pop up out of the ground. You have to work for them.”
McCormick called the couple “a loss for the community.”