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MORTON – Jeannette A. “Jan” Smith, 88, of Morton, passed away surrounded by her loving family on Saturday, March 11, 2023.
She was born on November 2, 1934, in East Peoria to Irvin and Elizabeth (Kuhar) Donath.
Jan is survived by her husband, Edward “Pete” Smith of Morton; son Michael (Barb) Smith of Morton; daughters, Cindy (Greg) James of Dunlap and Susan Irwin of Morton; 7 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and brother, Jerry (Rita) Donath of East Peoria.
She graduated 2nd in her class from East Peoria High School in 1952. After graduation from high school, she enrolled at Bradley University and was a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. During this time, she worked part time at the Commercial National Bank, as secretary to the Building Manager. In that capacity, she also received scholarships to Bradley.
It was also during this period in 1954, when she met a young sailor, who was home on leave from the Navy. Pete and Jan dated exclusively during the short time he had left on his leave. This was followed by 10 months of letters while Pete’s ship was in Korea. His discharge was followed immediately with their engagement. They were married on April 16th of 1955 in Peoria and enjoyed a total of 68 years together.
After her children were all in school, Jan continued her education toward the goal of being a school teacher.
She went to Illinois Central College where she obtained an Associate’s degree in the Arts and Sciences in 1971.
She went back to Bradley University, was a member of the Dean’s List, and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and graduated Summa in 1975.
She also authored two books. One was a children’s book titled Journey to the Unwritten. This was written for the age level of her 4th grade class. The second book was titled Fruit of the Womb. In her preface to this book, Jan wrote, "I assimilated excerpts from the lives of men and women, who in society's terms today would have been eligible for destruction through abortion."
In 1980, she left her teaching career, and founded the Family Resources Center which provided free-loan re- sources that teach reverence for God's precious gift of life. Jan felt that education was the key to a generous, caring society where every life is held sacred. She promoted the center in many ways including full page ads four times a vear in the Peoria Journal Star. She also wrote and published a 30/40-page quarterly newspaper titled the Family Resources Center News which had a national circulation. While she was Director of the Center Bishop John Meyers acknowledged her efforts by awarding her the Pere Marquette Award and a Papal Honor Award. She served as director of the Center over 35 years as a volunteer until the Center closed during the Covid Crisis.
God gifted her with many talents, but she excelled most as a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and lam certain that she is continuing to look after all of those she loved.
Services will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church in Morton at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 16, 2023, with Pastor Jeff Anderson officiating. Visitation will be from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Thursday, prior to the service at the church. Burial will be at a later date in Roberts Cemetery in Morton.
Memorials may be made to Bethel Lutheran School, 325 E. Queenwood Rd., Morton, IL 61550 or Missionaries of Charity, 506 Hancock St., Peoria, IL 61603.
Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Morton is handling arrangements.
To leave an online condolence for the family, visit www.knappjohnson.com.
Thursday, March 16, 2023
10:00 - 10:45am (Central time)
Thursday, March 16, 2023
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
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