Cover photo for Ella Mae Vilt's Obituary
Ella Mae Vilt Profile Photo

Ella Mae Vilt

November 20, 1921 — June 16, 2020

Ella Mae Vilt

Ella Mae Vilt

(nee Smith)

Age 98 of Coal City, formerly of Gardner, passed away Tuesday June 16, 2020 at her daughter's home in Morris.

Born November 20, 1921 in Good Farm Township, Ella Mae was a daughter of Harry and Ida Mae (nee Minner) Smith. She was raised and educated in Gardner and graduated from Gardner South Wilmington High School with the Class of 1940. Ella Mae was a good student whose handwriting skills earned her an award. On April 20, 1940, she married James Edward "Cookie" Vilt in the Gardner Presbyterian Church. Together, they would live and raise their family in Coal City.

Ella Mae was a member of the Coal City United Methodist Church and the local Junior Women's Club. She was employed by Illinois Department of Corrections in Dwight until she retired as a Warder. Ella Mae was an avid bingo player, and was skilled in hand crafts such as crochet and knitting. She enjoyed reading and grew fond of using her iPad for various activities. Ella Mae loved going out to dinner and was a regular at the Good Table Restaurant and the Whistle Stop Café. She took great pleasure in cooking and baking, and will be remembered for her famous cherry slices.

Survivors include her four children: Carol Ann (Ron) Steffen of Atkinson, Illinois, Nadine Frigo of Cypress, Texas, Beverly (Steven) Kaminskas of Morris, and James E. Vilt, Jr. of Coal City; five grandchildren, ten great grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Ella Mae was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Cookie, her three brothers and three sisters, and beloved nephew: Gene Smith.

Visitation and video tribute will be held Monday, June 22, 2020 at Reeves Funeral Home, 75 North Broadway Street (one block north of IL Route 113), in Coal City from 4:00 p.m. until time of funeral service at 7:00 p.m. Reverend Bradley Shumaker from Coal City United Methodist Church will officiate.

Measures of safe social distancing practices will be in order, and funeral home staff will assist the family not to exceed the safe number set forth for the both the visitation and service. Those wishing to participate in funeral service remotely are welcome to log on to the live stream webcast available on Ella Mae’s Memorial Page at 7:00 p.m.

A private family interment will be held at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, where Ella Mae will be laid to rest with her husband.

Preferred memorials may be made as gifts in Ella Mae's memory to Coal City United Methodist Church or Joliet Area Community Hospice.

Family and friends may sign the online guest book, upload photographs, or share Ella Mae's memorial page by logging onto:

Funeral services and arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Reeves Funeral Homes, Ltd. in Coal City (815) 634-2125.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ella Mae Vilt, please visit our flower store.


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