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Virgil R. Smith

Virgil R. Smith, 90, Woodstock, died Sunday, March 22, 2015, at Valley Hi Nursing Home. 

He was born June 30, 1924, to George D. and Myrtle E. (Ebinger) Smith in Aurora.

On Sept. 17, 1949, he married Jean Ann Trego, in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

He grew up on his parent’s dairy farm in Oswego and graduated from East Aurora High School. He served in the U.S. Navy Air Corps from Nov. 19, 1943, to Sept. 28, 1945, and he earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell College in 1949.

In 1952, the Smiths moved to Woodstock when he was hired as McHenry County Farm Bureau manager. He became a stock broker in 1957 and thrived in his work for the next 50 years, building the Woodstock A.G. Edwards & Sons office into one of the most successful offices in the firm’s 100-year history and one of the most respected financial institutions in McHenry County.

He loved Woodstock deeply. For his commitment to making Woodstock a better place, he was honored with the Harold Buschkopf Award and recognized as Woodstock’s Man of the Year. 

He was a champion of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce, president of Woodstock Little League during its crucial building years, a member of the 1963-64 All-America City committee, chairman of the Memorial Hospital Foundation Board and an active member of First United Methodist Church of Woodstock for 62 years.

His enthusiasm was contagious and he inspired others. His passion for Woodstock led to his spearheading efforts to keep the Square vibrant, including refurbishing the Woodstock Theatre, Woodstock Square Mall and Woodstock Exchange Building, which were catalysts in the passage of a referendum establishing a special taxing district to enhance the Square. Passage of a Woodstock School District 200 referendum and a fundraising campaign for the Opera House followed.

He lived life with honor and gave back to Woodstock.

He was a great guy with a quick smile, firm handshake and always a good word.

Survivors include a daughter, Marcia (David) Smith Erwin; two sons, Martin (Betty Hamilton) Smith and Gordon (Karen Wrage) Smith; nine grandchildren, Michael (Karen) Erwin, Derek Erwin, Melissa (Kyle) Hamilton-Smith Lukey, Mackenzie (Ben) Erwin Keenan, Melinda Hamilton-Smith, Karsten Hamilton-Smith, Tyler Smith, Katrina Hamilton-Smith and Grayson Smith; and four great-grandchildren, Brighton Haverland, Carter Erwin, Brooks Keenan and Beckett Keenan.

He was preceded in death by his always-supportive and loving wife in November 2011; his brother and sister-in-law, J. George and Ann Smith; and his sister and brother-in-law Elaine Smith Crane and Paul Crane.

Interment was private. His life will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 25, at First United Methodist Church, 201 W. South St., Woodstock.

Memorials can be made to First United Methodist Church.

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