Paul Witherell

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Paul Burton Witherell, 82, of O’Fallon, IL, formerly of South Bend, IN, and many other towns of the northern Midwest, died peacefully Saturday, May 6, 2023, at his residence surrounded by his loved ones.

Paul was born August 29, 1940, in Ashtabula, OH. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1963 and was a three-time all-American and five-time Big 8 Conference champion swimmer. When he graduated he was considered the greatest swimmer in Cyclone history and held 5 school records. He worked as a Vice President for Quality Control and retired from Coachmen Industries of Middlebury, IN. Paul was of Finnish descent and loved being active outdoors and spending time in nature especially when it involved water. He taught his 3 children to swim, instilling a love of water that has been passed down to his grandchildren. In his later years, he loved nothing more than spending time with his family. Paul led an exemplary life, participating in rugby, cross-country skiing, and boating. The son of a carpenter, he hand-crafted his own sailboat and canoe.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Hugh “Toot” Burton and Helen Elizabeth, nee Kujula, Witherell; his twin brother, Hugh A. Witherell; and his sister, Susan R. Witherell.

Surviving are his wife of 26 years, Janice, nee Willcox, Witherell;
two sons, Michael (Cindy) Witherell and Jeffrey (Molly) Witherell;
one daughter, Laura (Bradley) Geppert;
one step-daughter, Amy (Tom) Grochowalski;
seven grandchildren, Jasper “Jed” Witherell, Rebecca “Ash”, Evelyne, and Caroline Witherell, and Jack, Bradley “Luke”, and Elena Geppert;
one nephew, Mark Klein;
and the mother of his children, Susan Witherell, nee Cosson.

Memorials may be made to St. John’s Community Care in Collinsville, IL or the Alzheimer’s Association. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation: Friends may visit from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25, 2023, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.

Funeral: Memorial services will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25, 2023, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, Pastor Brian Robison of St. Mark Lutheran Church officiating.

Private burial will be held at O’Fallon City Cemetery, O’Fallon, IL.


2 Comments on Paul Witherell

Mary J Cosson said : Guest Report May 23, 2023 at 12:55 PM

Dear Witherell Tribe We loved having Paul as part of our extended family. His joy in life, curiosity, life ethic, and tenacity were lessons for us all. He will be missed but a bit of him (and a lot in some cases) lives on. Hugs, George & Jody

  • New Braunfels
  • TX
Barbara Baldridge said : Guest Report May 21, 2023 at 7:38 AM

Jan, I’m sorry for your loss. I hope the good memories bring you peace and comfort.

  • Belleville
  • IL

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