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Lillie endowment benefits SMC bands, choirs

A $27,789 Albert V. and Deana M. Lillie Fine and Performing Arts Endowment has been established at Southwestern Michigan College. Mrs. Lillie stipulated this endowment shall be used jointly by the Director of Choral Activities and the Director of Band Activities at their discretion for needs within the SMC Fine and Performing Arts Department.

Awards from this endowment shall be for one academic year, renewable based on funding availability.

“They both loved music, kids, education and their community. They came to some programs over there,” according to her cousin, Sharon Sweet of Marcellus. “Her husband worked for Conn (the band instrument company founded in Elkhart) after retiring from the phone company.”

The entire estate went to charity, benefiting their library, their ambulance service and a food bank besides the college.

Deana, born Dec. 5, 1937, died Sept. 16 at 79.

Burial was at Poe’s Cemetery in Jones.

Albert, born Sept. 17, 1928, died Oct. 4, 2006, at 78.

Mrs. Lillie, the former Deana Eggleston, graduated from Marcellus High School in 1956, worked for a propane company in Cassopolis for seven years, then moved to St. Louis, Mo., for her husband’s technical training.

Deana and Albert had lived in their Marcellus home they built since 1980.

She loved her life as a homemaker and was active in Eastern Star.

She was Past Matron and Life Member of Ideal Chapter No. 167, Order of Eastern Star, or OES, in Marcellus.

She was past president of the Cass County Association of OES, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1997-98.

She was very proud to have attended 34 consecutive years at Grand Chapter and planned to attend her 35th this year with her friend, Billie Richardson.

Mrs. Lillie was also survived by Sweet’s brother, Barry Gardner, who barbered in Dowagiac at the Bear’s Den.

SMC’s foundation accepts contributions to existing scholarships in addition to establishing new scholarships.

Direct endowment donations to: SMC Foundation, Director of Development, 58900 Cherry Grove Road, Dowagiac, MI 49047.

Contact Eileen Toney at (269) 782-1301 or for more information.