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Helen H.J. 'Toots' Schmitt: 1937-2018


LEONORE — H.J. “Toots” Schmitt, 80, of Leonore, died Sunday, Feb. 11, at Heritage Heath Care of El Paso, after a lengthy illness.

Mass of a Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Leonore with Msgr. James Swaner officiating. Burial will be in Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Leonore. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of services Thursday at the church. Hurst Funeral Home in Tonica is handling the arrangements.

Helen was born Nov. 6, 1937, in Tonica, to Arthur and Pauline (Loebach) Arkels.

Helen was a lifetime member of Sts. Peter and Paul Church and a longtime choir member. She loved gardening and wood working. Her greatest joy was her family.

Ms. Schmitt is survived by her mother, Pauline Arkels, of Leonore; five sons, Timothy Schmitt, of Oglesby, Joseph (Erin) Schmitt, of Normal, Patrick (Pandora) Schmitt, of Streator, Andrew Schmitt, of Leonore, and Nicholas (Vicki) Schmitt, of Bloomington; one daughter, Mary Kay (Jim) Baietto, of El Paso; eight grandchildren; one stepgrandson; and one great-grandson.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Julie Ann Schmitt; and two grandsons, Kurt Schmitt-Block and Lucas Anthony Schmitt.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the Leonore Fire Department.

Pallbearers will be Kalin and AJ Schmitt, Jason and Martin Wiesbrock, Chad Arkels and Mitchell Daugherty.

Online condolences may be viewed and remembrances shared at

Hurst Funeral Home
103 E. Elm St., Tonica, IL 61370

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