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Lillian E. Smith

May 12, 1926 ~ May 23, 2018 (age 92)

KEWANEE – Lillian E. Smith, 92, of Kewanee, formerly of Coal Valley, died at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at Royal Oaks Care Center in Kewanee.

Lillian’s wish was to have her body donated to science and a memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, June 21 at the First United Methodist Church in Kewanee. Rev. Martin Gutzmer will officiate. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials may be directed to the Literacy Outreach Program at BHE, East Moline Christian School or to the First United Methodist Church. Rux Funeral Home in Kewanee is in charge of arrangements.

She was born May 12, 1926 in Viola, IL, the daughter of Lawrence and Susanna (Leinbach) Smith. She was married in 1950 and later divorced. Survivors include her two daughters, Marina (Stephen) Payne of Elmhurst, IL and Rebecca (Timothy) Shaw of Niles, MI, a brother, Eugene (Wanda) Smith of New Boston, IL, a sister, June McMillen of Normal, IL and several nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, a brother, Edwin Smith, two nephews and a great niece.

Lillian attended Monmouth College and was the first woman to receive a degree in physics when she graduated in 1950. She had lived in Coal Valley for 38 years and had been a math and science teacher at East Moline Christian School for 11 years. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Kewanee and enjoyed bible study. She also enjoyed reading astrophysics books and autobiographies, playing bingo, doing cryptogram puzzles, following politics and researching genealogy.  

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