News Details

In Memory of Mary Jewel Smith


            2          WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of

            3          Representatives are saddened to learn of the death of Mary

            4          Jewel Smith of Cairo, who passed away on February 19, 2014; and

            5          WHEREAS, Mary Smith was born in Miller City on September

            6          22, 1923 to Leslie and Gertrude Bowers; upon the passing of her

            7          father, she relocated to Mississippi County, Missouri in 1932

            8          with her mother and step-father, Charles Mockett; she graduated

            9          from Diehlstadt High School in Diehlstadt, Missouri; she

            10        married Connell F. Smith on December 8, 1945; and

            11        WHEREAS, Mary Smith worked at the Brown Shoe Company in

            12        Charleston, Missouri and then at a munitions plant in Cairo

            13        during World War II; and

            14        WHEREAS, Mary Smith was a proud member of Laborers' Local

            15        773 and a self-described "hard-headed" Democrat and strongly

            16        believed that working people enjoyed good wages and working

            17        conditions because of unions; and

            18        WHEREAS, Mary Smith returned to work later in life and

            19        worked until she was 87 for the Southern Illinois Laborers'

            20        Health & Welfare Fund; and

                                    HR0854           - 2 -    

            1          WHEREAS, Mary Smith was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and

            2          never missed a game on radio or tv; she was a member of the

            3          Immanuel Lutheran Church in Cairo, the Wyatt United Methodist

            4          Church, and the Charleston Methodist Church; and

            5          WHEREAS, Mary Smith was preceded in death by her husband,

            6          Connell; her brother, Lowell Bowers; and her sisters, Dorothy

            7          Rodriguiz, Opal Noisworthy; and Jo McDaniel; and

            8          WHEREAS, Mary Smith is survived by her sons, Connell F.

            9          Smith, Jr. and Edward M. (Betty) Smith; her granddaughter,

            10        Jordan (Tyler) Edmonds; her grandson, Matt Smith; her

            11        great-grandsons, Trevor Smith and Graydon Edmonds; and many

            12        nieces and nephews; therefore, be it



            15        we mourn the passing of Mary Jewel Smith, and extend our

            16        sincere condolences to her family, friends, and all who knew

            17        and loved her; and be it further

            18        RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be

            19        presented to the family of Mary Smith as an expression of our

            20        deepest sympathy.


Mary Jewel Smith, 90, of Cairo, Illinois died Wednesday, February 19, 2014.  She was known for her smile and positive attitude, and she always had a kind word for everyone.


Mary Jewel was born in Miller City, Illinois on September 22, 1923, to Leslie and Gertrude Bowers.  At just five years of age, her father passed away, leaving her mother with five children.   She later moved to Mississippi County, Missouri when her mother married Charles Mockett in 1932.  Mary Jewel learned the importance of hard work early on while farming with her mother, step-father, brother and three sisters.  She enjoyed being outside so much that she often said she would rather work in the fields than in the house.


Mary Jewel graduated Diehlstadt High School at the age of 16, and was the only one of her mother’s children to graduate from high school.  She later worked at Brown Shoe Company in Charleston, Missouri, and then at the munitions plant in Cairo, Illinois during World War II.  


It was at this job, working on the assembly line, that she met her husband, Connell F. Smith, a union representative for workers at the plant. While they were dating, she often told him she would rather dance than eat.  Mary Jewel and Connell were married on December 8, 1945.  Connell shared his passion for hunting and fishing with Mary Jewel, and she was soon out-shooting and out-fishing him. They were married until he passed away in 1988.


Mary Jewel was a proud member of Laborers’ Local 773 and a self-described “hard-headed” Democrat.  She strongly believed that working people enjoyed good wages and working conditions because of unions.  She also believed that senior citizens could live life in dignity because of Social Security and Medicare. 


Always a believer in hard work, Mary Jewel returned to work after her husband passed away.  She worked until she was 87 for the Southern Illinois Laborers' Health & Welfare Fund until it relocated to Marion, Illinois.  She very much enjoyed working with her colleagues and was a firm believer in arriving early and staying until the job was done.


Mary Jewel was an avid Cardinal baseball fan and never missed a game on the radio or TV.


She was a member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Cairo, Illinois, the Wyatt United Methodist Church, and the Charleston Methodist Church.


She was preceded in death by her husband Connell F. Smith, her brother Lowell Bowers, and her sisters Dorothy Rodriguiz, Opal Noisworthy, and Jo McDaniel.


Mary Jewel is survived by her sons Connell F. Smith Jr., Edward M. (Betty) Smith, Alexandria, Virginia, granddaughter Jordan (Tyler) Edmonds, Anna, Illinois, grandson Matt Smith, Tamms, Illinois, great grandsons Trevor Smith and Graydon Edmonds and many nieces and nephews.


Her family would like to send a special thanks to John & Nancy Price, Nudie Moore, Donna & Carl Thomas, Bill & Chalen Tatum, Jana Cornelius, Dr. Wong & Betty Hunt, John Fischer, Vicky Green, Amy Farrow & Kim Potts of Capaha Bank, and Darrel & Mary Cutler.

Thanks to the generous outpouring of love in Memory of Mary Jewel Smtih the Therapy Center TLC and the Connell F. Smith / Homer Brown Scholarship Fund has received over $38,0000.00 in donations this year in her memory.  As you can see from the pictures below Mary Jewel was a proud supporter of both the Therapy Center and the Scholarship Fund.  She is smiling down on us knowing that so many gave so much to support the causes she loved in her name.  


Mary Jewel Pic.jpgMary Jewel with Scholarship Recipients for.jpgmary jewel at therapy center.jpg