Mildred Luther, 91, died Monday, September 25, 2017. She was born August 20, 1926 in rural Champaign County, the second daughter born to Carl Frederick and Ida Lietz Luther. She was born on the family farm purchased by her paternal grandparents on February 22, 1893. This was home to Mildred’s parents for their mar…read more
Mildred Luther, 91, died Monday, September 25, 2017. She was born August 20, 1926 in rural Champaign County, the second daughter born to Carl Frederick and Ida Lietz Luther. She was born on the family farm purchased by her paternal grandparents on February 22, 1893. This was home to Mildred’s parents for their married lives and was home to Mildred, too. Mildred was very proud when, in 1993, the Luther farm officially became a State of Illinois, Department of Agriculture Centennial Farm. Here she learned the strong work ethic that marked her life. Here, too, began her love of cats.
Mildred attended the rural one-room school, Equity, down the road from the farm, for the eight years of her elementary schooling. It was unusual for females of that era who graduated from such small schools (ca. 18-20 students for all eight grades) to attend college, but after graduating from Champaign Junior High and Champaign Senior High, Mildred enrolled in the University of Illinois in 1944. To help her parents finance her education, she accepted a quarter-time Civil Service position as a Records Clerk in the University Library, thereby beginning her 49 years of service to the University. She graduated from the University in 1948 with a strong liberal arts background and for two years continued to work in the University Library then on a full-time basis.
In 1950, she joined the staff of the Office of the Provost. In 1967, when the Office of the Chancellor on the Urbana campus was established, Mildred was chosen to assist in organizing the Office and to serve as its Business Manager. She served on the staffs of Chancellors Jack Peltason, William Gerberding, John Cribbet, Thomas Everhart and Morton Weir. When she retired in 1993, Mildred had completed 49 years of dedicated service to the University of Illinois, one of the longest tenures of any employee of the Urbana campus. At that time, it was noted that she was widely known for “her quiet competence, integrity and sound judgment which benefitted thousands of students, faculty and staff.”
She took advantage of many opportunities to serve her community, her university, and her church. A favorite photograph shows her presiding at the age of 12 as president of her 4-H Club. What a good place to start! When the Burnham Hospital Auxiliary was formed (and later became the Mercy Hospital Auxiliary), she was a Charter Member and retained that membership for the life of the organization. Her responsibility was to take books to the patients. She was a Pillar member of the United Way of Champaign County. For many years she contributed two scholarships a year to the Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation for agricultural students in college.
At the University level, she established an endowment in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (now known as the School of Information Sciences) for graduate student fellowships in that School.
She was a lifelong member of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Champaign, beginning with her Cradle Roll Days. She participated in helping with activities related to the youth programs. One of her favorite activities was being a part of a group widely known in the community for the unique Christmas ornaments they made to sell to the community at the church’s annual bazaar. Another activity that she enjoyed was the annual Cookie Sale of the church. She made dozens of cookies each year. She was always searching for new and different recipes. She would share the new recipes with others except for one she never shared – for Lace Cookies!
Mildred was preceded in death by her parents, Carl Frederick and Ida Lietz Luther. She is survived by her sister, Kathryn Luther Henderson, and her brother-in-law, William T Henderson, of Urbana.
A memorial service to celebrate Millie’s life will be held Sunday afternoon, October 29, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 905 S. Russell Street, Champaign.
For those wishing to contribute monetary gifts in Millie’s memory, the following are suggested:
Mildred M. Luther and Kathryn Luther Henderson Endowment Fund for fellowships in the School of Information Sciences (formerly known as the Graduate School of Library and Information Science), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, c/o University of Illinois Foundation, 1305 W. Green Street, Urbana IL 61801; United Way of Champaign County, Community Impact Fund, 404 W. Church Street, Champaign, Il 61820; Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation scholarship fund for Champaign County agricultural students, 801 N. Country Fair Drive, Suite A, Champaign IL 61821; St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, General Fund, 905 S. Russell Street, Champaign IL 61822; Champaign County Humane Society, 1911 E. Main Street, Urbana IL 61802; Or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Morgan Memorial Home, Savoy is handling arrangements (www.morganmemorialhome.com).