Melvin Smith

COAL CITY—Melvin August Smith, 85, of Coal City, passed away peacefully on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023 at his home.
Born Aug. 3, 1937 in Coal City, Melvin was a twin son of August and Harriet (Persak) Smith. Following the death of his mother at the age of three, Mel and his brother Marvin were raised by their aunt, Mary Helen Persak in South Wilmington. He attended the South Wilmington schools and graduated from Gardner South Wilmington High School with the class of 1955. Following high school, Mel entered the United States Army Reserves and was soon thereafter drafted into active service from Sept. 11, 1956 until June 11, 1958. Upon his honorable discharge, Mel went on to attend Illinois State University, where he played football and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education, emphasizing math and the sciences. He then went on to earn his master’s degree from Wesleyan University.
On June 2, 1962, Mel married Elaine Hibler in Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church in Coal City, and together they made a home and raised their family in Coal City. Mel was an educator in the Coal City Unit #1 School District for 33 years until his retirement, primarily teaching Algebra, Physics and Analytical Geometry at the high school level. In addition, Mel started working for his brother, Marvin Smith’s accounting office doing tax returns, and continued to do so for the following 50 years until recently with Mack and Associates. He also worked summers doing construction, and spent many years with Koerner Construction.
Mel was a member of Assumption of the BVM Parish in Coal City; the Coal City Area Club and the Illinois Education Association and National Education Association. In his free time, Mel enjoyed golf, fishing and crossing the friendship bridge to hang out with his lifelong dear friend, Jack Lardi. He had a true love of animals, and enjoyed countless trips made with his family. Mel adored his kids, and they were his pride and joy. His example of the importance of education has been carried through to his grandchildren, and their accomplishments could not have made him more proud.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Elaine; three children: Greg (Janet) Smith, of Grayslake, IL; Chris Smith, of Orland Park, IL and Michael (Faith) Smith, of Trevor, WI; six grandchildren: Tyler (Brittany) Smith, Jake Smith, Alex Smith, Paige Smith, Brooke Smith and Alaina Smith; one sister, Jean (the late Phil) Bohnstengel, of Pasco, WA; brother-in-law, Ron (Jan) Hibler, of Minooka and numerous nieces and nephews, as well as cousins, including Pamela (David) Bassett, of Maryland.
Mel was preceded in death by his parents; his aunt, Helen Persak and his twin brother, Marvin Smith.
The family will receive friends for a visitation at Reeves Funeral Home, 75 N. Broadway, one block north of IL Route 113 in Coal City on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023 between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m. and again on Saturday morning, Feb. 4, 2023 from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. Funeral services will follow Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. in Assumption of the BVM Church, 215 S. Kankakee St. in Coal City. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated with Reverend Josh Miller presiding, and Deacon Bill Dunn assisting. A memorial luncheon in the Berst Center will immediately follow the service, and cremation rites will be accorded.
Pallbearers will be: Tyler Smith, Jake Smith, Alex Smith, Brock Bunton, Dan Greggain and Mark Micetich.
Mel will be laid to rest with military honors in Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. Those wishing to attend are welcome to assemble at the funeral home on Monday beginning at 12:30 p.m. for a procession, which will depart at 12:45 p.m. Military honors are scheduled at 1:30 p.m.

Preferred memorials in lieu of flowers may be made as gifts in Mel’s memory to the Unit #1 Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 177, Coal City, IL 60416 or to Assumption Catholic Church, 195 S. Kankakee, Street, Coal City, IL 60416.
Family and friends are encouraged to log onto to sign the guest book, upload photographs and share Mel’s memorial page online through social media.
Funeral services and cremation arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Reeves Funeral Homes, Ltd. in Coal City.