Lynda Kay Fishel née Warfel, 84, of Arcola, passed away at 11:55 a.m. on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at Carriage Crossing Senior Living in Arcola, surrounded by her family and prayer.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, November 26, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Arcola. Burial will follow in the Arcola Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 4–7 p.m. Saturday, November 25, at the Edwards Funeral Home, 221 East Main St., Arcola.
Lynda was born on August 2, 1939, in Tolono. She was the daughter of Orville Herman “Hank” and Adeline Josephine (Hinton) Warfel. She married John Virgil “Jack” Fishel Jr. on December 27, 1958, in Arcola. He passed away on January 17, 2023.
Survivors include five children, John Virgil Fishel, III and his wife Loretta of Arcola, Jeff Fishel and his wife Toni of Arcola, Jim Fishel and his wife Chris of Arcola, Amy Jo Mueller and her husband Bob of Belleville, and Allison Keller and her husband Brett of Bloomington; 18 grandchildren; 13 great grandchildren; one brother, Linden Warfel and his wife Kay of Tolono; three half siblings, Vikki Hemrich her husband Dave, and Chris Clementz and his wife Paula and the late Charles “Chuck” Clementz.
She was preceded in death by her dearly loved husband; parents; and in-laws.
Lynda’s educational journey included attending Unity High School where she was later inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Alumni. She further pursued her academic goals at Gulfport College in Mississippi and later attended SIU in Carbondale.
Lynda’s passion for public service was evident throughout her career. In 1991, she was appointed as the Mayor of Arcola, a position she embraced with utmost dedication and commitment. Her exceptional leadership skills and tireless efforts to improve the lives of Arcola residents led to her election for two four-year terms in 1993 and 1997. During her tenure as Mayor, Lynda played a pivotal role in the development and growth of the city. She was most proud of securing a sustainable water source for Arcola. She actively participated in the Central Illinois Municipal Officials Association (CIMOA), where she served as president at one point, further highlighting her influence in shaping regional policies. In the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, Arcola had regional and international draw with its tourism and commerce. During her tenure as mayor, she worked to promote Arcola as a destination for tourists from all over the world. Sister cities in both Mexico and Japan were established.
Beyond her role as Mayor, Lynda was deeply involved in various community projects. She played an instrumental role in the establishment of the original Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district and the expansion of the industrial park in Arcola — projects that have had a lasting impact on the growth of the city. Her commitment to progress and relentless advocacy for her community made her an excellent leader. She actively contributed to several organizations, leaving a lasting mark on their progress. As a member of the Arcola Chamber, she worked diligently to foster collaboration among local businesses and drive economic development. She was integrally involved in the bustling days of Arcola’s downtown tourism and commerce industry. She enjoyed owning and operating the dress shop, The Tailored Lady, in the Arcola Emporium. Furthermore, Lynda held significant positions on influential boards such as the Arcola School Board, Parkland College Board, First Mid Bank Board, Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center Board, and the Arcola Public Library Board. Her guidance and expertise played an integral role in shaping the policies and initiatives of these esteemed institutions.
Lynda found comfort in various activities that enriched her life and those around her. She was a Master Gardener, and her garden reflected her personality: abundant, approachable, always a show-stopper. Vibrant flowers and flourishing plants were a testament to her skill and dedication to nature. She often shared clippings of flowers and herbs from her yard with friends. Fresh flowers could always be found in her home throughout the year. Lynda’s desire to protect wildlife extended beyond her home in Arcola as she volunteered with an organization focused on rescuing sea turtles during her time in Puerto Vallarta.
To know Lynda was to be drawn by her warm and loving personality. She brought joy to countless lives through her role as a devoted mother and grandmother. One of her greatest enjoyments in life was being a football mom, where she could cheer on her loved ones. Lynda’s nurturing spirit extended beyond her immediate family and into the community through her love language — food. She delighted in caring for others by sharing meals and providing comfort through the art of cooking. Whether a well-executed gourmet dinner or comfort food at a tailgate, Lynda always added extra love as the main ingredient. Capable of dazzling a crowd with her culinary skills, her gift of cooking was best expressed at large family gatherings with the perennial favorites of strawberry jam, home-baked bread, macaroni and cheese and cookies… lots and lots of cookies! (Especially chocolate chip!)
The name “Lynda” means “beautiful” in Spanish. Our Lynda had quite a way of making things around her beautiful. As one of her beloved bonus sons, Bernie Moran shared, “Some of us have the gift of laughter and sharing that laughter. Some have grace, and charm or wisdom. Some have incredible patience. Some have keen insight and the ability to find the best solution. Lynda’s gift was her way. That way included all of the above. She had a way that made you feel loved and appreciated just by being around her.”
Along with their deep love of family time and football, Jack and Lynda both enjoyed sharing coffee in the mornings, tea on the patio in the afternoons and sunsets in the evenings. They shared a love of listening to music and dancing. We take comfort in thoughts of them once again sharing sips and smiles as they dance through the golden streets of heaven together with a stunning sunset in the background.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Arcola Foundation in memory of Lynda Fishel and may be mailed to: Arcola Foundation, P.O. Box 100, Arcola, IL 61910.