John E Smith

May 9, 1934 ~ July 25, 2021 (age 87)


John Edward Smith, 87 of Tolono passed away at 5:15AM, Sunday, July 25, 2021 at Lutheran Home For The Aged, Arlington Heights.

Funeral mass will be 10:00AM, Saturday, July 31, 2021 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Tolono with Rev. Fredi Gomeztorres officiating.  Burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery, Urbana.  Visitation from 5:00 to 7:00 PM Friday at Freese Funeral Home, Tolono, with the rosary at 4:30PM.

Mr. Smith was born May 9, 1934 in Pittsfield, Il, a son to John C. and Margaret M. Raftery Smith.  He married Donna Capitani on June 20, 1959 in Hennepin, IL, she preceded in death on August 28, 2002.  He then married JoAnn Hesselmann on October 17, 2009, she survives.

Also surviving are his three children; Margaret (Jim) Connor of St. Charles, IL, Gregory John Smith of Arlington Heights, IL and Joseph (Sharon) Edward Smith of Clearwater, Fl, a son in law; Bob Black of Plainfield, IL, JoAnn’s children; Robert (Nancy) John Hesselmann of Urbana, Joseph Paul (Delphia Galloway-Garrison) Hesselmann of Tolono, Anne (John) Marie Harcourt of Carmel, IN, and Catherine T. (Dave) Brown of Monticello, 25 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and five siblings; Donald (Jan) Smith of Peoria, Margaret Najar of Littleton, CO, Lawrence (Rachel) Smith of Pittsfield, Roseann (Buster) Craven of Griggsville, IL, and Mary Jo Kelly of Danville, IL.

He was preceded in death by his parents, a daughter; Donna Maria Black, and two infant children; John Gerard and Theresa Lynne, and a granddaughter; Elizabeth Maria Black.

Mr. Smith’s entire life revolve around agriculture.  He earned a Bachelor and a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois.  He was a farmer, he taught Ag Science and was a FFA advisor at Bismarck and Bismarck-Henning Schools.  He was also employed at University of Illinois in the Vocational Ag service.  While at the University of Illinois he was responsible for creating much of the curriculum of vocational agriculture for high school students.  He was an Illini sports fan, he was a member of the Quarterback and Rebounders Club.  He was also a member of Exchange Club in Urbana, St. Patrick Catholic Church, Tolono and Knights of Columbus.  He served as a volunteer at St. Patrick’s in many capacities.  He and JoAnn loved to travel, spending several winters in Florida.  He was a friend to all he met, never knowing a stranger.

Memorials may be made to State of Illinois FFA.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John E Smith, please visit our floral store.


July 30, 2021

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Freese Funeral Home
407 N. Bourne Street
Tolono, IL 61880

Funeral Mass
July 31, 2021

10:00 AM
St. Patrick Catholic Church (Tolono)

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