Cover photo for Rebecca Cerven's Obituary
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1946 Rebecca 2023

Rebecca Cerven

November 20, 1946 — March 30, 2023

CARTERVILLE – Rebecca “Becky” Cerven, 76, passed away on Thursday, March 30, 2023 at Evelyn's House in Saint Louis, MO.

Becky was born on November 20, 1946 in Urbana, Illinois to James and Wilma (Jennings) McGhee. Becky married James Cerven on January 29, 1972 in Normal, Illinois.

Becky had a variety of careers in her life, working as an educator, forensic scientist, and a medical researcher before her retirement in 2001 from the SIU School of Medicine. Although she loved science, her family was her true passion and calling. She was a remarkable woman of faith who never met a stranger. Despite a long history of chronic and, many times, life-threatening illnesses, she found joy in the miracle of life and the blessings she was able to enjoy in her family and friendships. Her indomitable spirit was coupled with a kind heart and generosity, giving of her time and attention to those who needed it. She was a prayer warrior whose prayers will be a blessing to those of us who knew her for years to come. Her humor never failed, coupling the promises of God in Psalm 91 with comic clippings declaring “I shall muddle through!” and Mary Engelbreit quotes such as “She who laughs, lasts!” She will be remembered for her sense of fun and silliness, including, among other things, naming her flowers and garden critters, throwing over the top tea parties, talking tough in board games, instigating whip cream pie fights, and turning folding laundry into an epic battle of projectile socks. She did not fear death, as she had faced it before and her faith in Christ showed her a bright future beyond. She looked forward to reuniting with those of us that might share that faith in time.

Becky is survived by her husband of 51 years, Jim; sons, Todd (Marie) Cerven of Haymarket, VA and David Cerven of Maplewood, MO; three grandchildren, Alaina, Mara and Elliana Cerven; siblings, Karen (George) Jay of Pana, IL; James “Jim Bob” (Brenda) McGhee, Jr of Dix, IL, Susan Grucza of Champaign, IL, John (Tammi) McGhee of Mt Vernon, IL, and Jacque (Kenneth) Orf of St. Charles, MO; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

A Celebration of Becky’s Life will be held at 3:00pm on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at Lakeland Baptist Church in Carbondale with Pastor Phil Nelson officiating. Visitation will be from 1:30pm until 3:00pm on Saturday at the church. Immediately following the service, a meal and time to share memories and fellowship will be held at the Newman Center in Carbondale.

Memorials may be made in Becky’s name to the Survivor Empowerment Center ( and Good Samaritan Ministries (

Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale assisted the family with arrangements. To leave a story or memory of Becky visit

To order memorial trees in memory of Rebecca Cerven, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, April 22, 2023

1:30 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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