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Marilyn J. Smith

July 15, 1934 September 18, 2021
Marilyn J. Smith
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Obituary for Marilyn J. Smith

Marilyn J. Smith passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 18,2021 at Heritage Health Care in Chillicothe. Previously Marilyn had lived at Galena Park Terrace in Peoria Heights and at Lake Bracken in Galesburg for over 50 years.
Marilyn was born on July 15,1934 in Galesburg to Rollo E. and Maggie Morss Brown. She was the 8th of 10 children and loved being in a large family, 9 girls and 1 boy!
During her youth she was active in the Youth Group at the First Christian Church. Her parents gave her the responsibility to chaperone her younger sister, Patty and her older boyfriend Bill during these events. Eventually Bill brought his best friend to the Youth Group and before long Allan was smitten with Marilyn!
In November 1949 Marilyn became extremely ill while babysitting and was rushed to the emergency room. The doctors quickly diagnosed her with the polio virus thus transporting her to OSF in Peoria, via a hearse (they didn’t want the risk of exposure in an ambulance!) Marilyn recalled that the polio-stricken children, of all ages, were housed below the morgue as way to quarantine the patients. A fond memory that she recalled was listening to a young doctor whistle happy tunes up and down the halls while on his rounds. Dr. Robert Hart was a favorite visitor! Her parents and younger sisters visited often and soon learned how to assist in her care as the expectation was to return home, in a wheelchair.
Allan was granted permission by her parents to visit Marilyn. They had car dates to Hunt’s for a tenderloin or to Fondulac Drive Lookout Point to enjoy the river view. There were many occasions that Al was scolded by the Nuns as he had kept her out too late!
In 1952 Marilyn graduated from Galesburg High School. That fall she was accepted to attend U of I and adapted to dorm life with other paraplegics. She marveled at their strength as they “motored” around the campus. However, at the completion of her freshman year she and Allan switched their collegiate plans to marriage.
On June 27,1953 they were married at First Christina Church. Allan went to work for the family business while Marilyn quickly adapted to being a housewife, then a full-time mother to 4 children. At a young age she taught her children “to be her legs” helping around the house. They were taught how to jump rope, hopscotch, tap dance and play baseball all while sitting in her wheelchair!
As her children grew older, Marilyn began working side by side with Allan at Western Zero Locker, Ice Plant and then Ice Plant Components. In 1988 she received an award from the Pilot Club of Knox County, Professional Woman of the Year. She was also active with the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois and President for the Chapter from 2000 to 2002.
However, Marilyn was still yearning to drive a car and continue her independence. On their 25th wedding anniversary Allan surprised her with a car complete with hand controls! This new freedom allowed them to travel throughout the states to visit family, friends and business connections. She drove her 3 young grandsons to Michigan to visit Allan, while on a jobsite and the adventure they had! However, her most independent journey was in 1979 when she drove to O’Hare Airport and met her sister Patty for coffee. Then boarded a non-stop flight to Greece to meet Allan! Boy, was HER father livid when he heard of this trip. Yet, her adult children saw this as the strength and independence she repeatedly demonstrated.
Marilyn had a strong faith in God, never questioning his plans for her. She survived 2 house fires. In 1947, she carried her 3-year-old nephew out of his parent’s home. Then in 1964 she hustled her 4 children up the icy driveway of the Lake Bracken home to safety, while Allan was out of town on business. In 1986, the home elevator collapsed leaving her with multiple fractures and months in bed to recover, A post-polio survivor of 71 years as well as a COVID survivor, she showed her strong desire to overcome those pandemics. She was diagnosed with dementia close to 15 years ago and the last few months the disease rapidly progressed.
She endured the loss of her parents, as well as 7 sisters, 7 brother in-laws, 1 brother and her only sister in -law most recently. A grandson, Ted L. Tinkham passed away on December 18, 1998. However, her greatest loss was that of her husband of almost 65 years, Allan on June 5, 2018. He had been her full-time caretaker and always so proud her accomplishments and independence.
Marilyn is survived by her sister, Patricia Smead of Palatine Illinois, brother-in-law Jim Greene in Nampa, Idaho and brother and sister-in-law Walter and Rennie Smith of Vero Beach, Florida. Her four children: Frances Tinkham of Peoria, Joyce and Joe Glawe of Peoria, Allan and Virginia Smith of Rock Port Texas and Richard and Chelsea Smith of Bozeman Montana. As well as her grandchildren, Christopher and Matthew Tinkham, Justin and Sarah Bertness Glawe, Jillian and Tom McKenna, Dakota and Corie Smith, Savanna Smith, Rolland and Amanda Sellers-Smith, and Douglas Smith. One great grandson Jakob TInkham, 2 great grandchildren due this year and a multitude of nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank First Christian Church for the weekly Scripture Reading materials. The Transition Hospice Program for their comfort care these past few months. But most importantly, the dedicated and caring staff, activity team and even the housekeeping members at Heritage. They were met with an unusual challenge in caring for our Mother yet they met those needs with compassionate care, for that we are so grateful.
Memorials may be made to First Christin Church in Galesburg or Rock Church in East Peoria; A celebration of her remarkable life will be held at a later date.
Friends and family may sign the online guestbook by logging onto www.wrightandsalmon.com.

Previous Events

Visitation

Saturday

9

Oct

9:30 AM 10/9/2021 9:30:00 AM - 11:00 AM 10/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
Rock Church

1081 Upper Spring Bay Rd
East Peoria, IL 61611

Rock Church
1081 Upper Spring Bay Rd East Peoria 61611 IL
United States

Memorial Service

Saturday

9

Oct

11:00 AM 10/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
Rock Church

1081 Upper Spring Bay Rd
East Peoria, IL 61611

Rock Church
1081 Upper Spring Bay Rd East Peoria 61611 IL
United States
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