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Maurice James Smith

PEORIA - Maurice James Smith, 94, of Peoria died at 11:35 a.m. Thursday, July 19, 2012, at Order of St. Francis Hospital, following a brief illness.

He was attended in his passing by his daughters.

He was born July 23, 1917, in Minier to Leon and Pearl (Berry) Smith. Maurice met Josephine Brunner on a blind date in 1936. They married on July 31, 1937, and would have celebrated 75 years of marriage later this month.

Surviving Dad are his five children, Marcia (the late John) Riddle of Peoria, James (Corinne) Smith of Peoria, Tricia Smith of Champaign, Michael (Janice) of Champaign and Maurice (Marcia) of Madison, Wis.

He was preceded in death by two brothers and a sister, and is survived by sisters, Irma (the late Lloyd) Troyer of Park Forest, Patricia of Bloomington and brothers, Jack of Normal and Richard of North Hollywood, Calif. Grandpa has 18 grandchildren, the Rev. Derek (Julie) Riddle of Rogers City, Mich., Gretchen (Shawn) Miller of Peoria, Timothy (Jennifer) Riddle of Niwot, Colo., Holly Smith of Prescott Valley, Ariz., David (Josephina) Riddle of Wilmette, Seth (Melissa) Turner of Fort Collins, Colo., Nancy (John) Donaldson of Dunlap, Ann (Chris) Smith of Bartlett, Megann (Chad) Smith of Hartford, Wis., Jacob Smith of Peoria, Todd (Holly) Smith of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Benjamin Smith of Portland, Ore., Cody Smith of Madison, Wis., Megan Turner of Denver, Curran Smith of Madison, Wis., Clay Yapp of La Crescent, Minn., Taylor Jacobs of Champaign and Connor Jacobs of Champaign. Maurice was also the loving great-grandfather of 20 great-grandchildren, Shelby, Isaac, Rebecca, Emmalyn, Shawna, Emma, Ian, Calvin, Grant, Hannah, Jonah, Piper, Dirk, Molly, Josie, Lily, Marah, Cooper, Nathan and Abigail.

Maurice was a loving father, a wonderful neighbor and a generous friend whose boundless hospitality made everyone feel at home. He was always proud of his family.

Maurice graduated from the apprenticeship program in East Peoria and worked in the tool room at Caterpillar before transferring to the Decatur plant as a training supervisor. He worked 35 years at Cat and marked 35 years of retirement last winter.

Maurice volunteered for the United States Marine Corps in World War II.

He was a gifted woodworker, builder, painter and paper-hanger. Maurice enjoyed gardening and caring for his lovely home and he greatly expanded his family's sense of its roots through his decades of extensive genealogical research.

Cremation rites have been accorded and a private family gathering will be held. The Wilton Mortuary in Peoria is in charge of arrangements.

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.thewiltonmortuary.com.

Memorials may be made to the and the Juvenile Diabetes Association.

And when we are gone, long gone, the only thing that will have mattered is the love that we shared and the way that we cared when we're gone, long gone.

Published in Peoria Journal Star on July 22, 2012
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