Evelyn Ruth Schmitz, 84, of Sycamore passed away Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at her residence.
Evelyn was born in Streator, Illinois, on May 2, 1936, to the late Olive and Elmer Schaefer. On July 6, 1952, she married John William Schmitz, and they started their family. She spent happy, busy years as a cook, janitor, chauffeur and much more to their five children: Deborah, David, John Jr., Ruth and Peggy. Over time, she delighted in welcoming 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren to the family.
Evelyn returned to school when her youngest child was 9 years old, eventually earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Olivet Nazarene University. She worked as an ICU nurse for 27 years and retired from Ottawa Community Hospital in 2001.
Graced with an artist’s eye, Evelyn loved to draw and paint, especially watercolors, and she crafted exquisite quilts for her family. She also spent hours painting lifelike flowers, animals and designs on wooden furniture built by her husband. Her artistic skills could be seen in her garden, as well. After retirement, she settled with her husband in Geneseo, Illinois, where she transformed their acre of riverside property into a mosaic of lilies, roses, lilacs and other blooms.
When not immersed in her studio or garden, Evelyn explored the world. She traveled with her husband to six continents, learning about the cultures of China, Egypt, Brazil, Australia, Germany and other countries. They also took road trips to their farm in Stanley, North Dakota, and all through the U.S. During long Midwestern winters, they would often enjoy a Caribbean cruise with their son’s family.
Evelyn also cared for her community. After her daughter, Ruth, was born with a congenital heart defect, she worked tirelessly as a volunteer for the American Heart Association. She was also active with the Geneseo Art League and Gallery.
Evelyn was preceded in death by her daughter, Ruth, her granddaughter, Karen, and her brother, Louis. She is survived by her husband, John; daughters Deborah (James) Paulin of DeKalb, Illinois, and Peggy (Paul) Benkeser of Atlanta, Georgia; sons David (Pam) Schmitz of New Brighton, Minnesota, and John (Bonnie) Schmitz Jr. of Streator, Illinois; as well as several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and nieces.
A public visitation will be held on Monday, March 22, 2021 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Solon-Telford Funeral Home, Streator. A private ceremony will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Geneseo Art League and Gallery or Habitat for Humanity.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.solontelford.com
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