Born: May 20, 1945 - Deceased: July 12, 2022
Jane Ellen Willett, nee Ruhmann, 77, of Belleville, IL, was called to Heaven peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, while surrounded by her family at her home. Jane bravely fought metastatic melanoma for 6 months prior to her passing, which came far too soon for her and for all who knew and loved her dearly.
Jane was born on May 20, 1945, daughter of the late Ovid George and Sarah “Peggy,” nee Quigley, Ruhmann. She was a graduate of Belleville Township High School in 1963 and Eastern Illinois University in 1966 with a Bachelor’s degree in French History and Education. She was a proud member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and graduated with the highest GPA in her class at Eastern.
She married William “Bill” Edward Willett, Jr. on August 20, 1966. They had two children, Dr. Lynne (Edward) Nowak of Belleville, IL, and Stephen Willett of Belleville, IL. Their 56 year marriage was filled with traveling, entertaining, and the many ups and downs of raising a family. Her granddaughters Emily Jane and Sarah Elizabeth Nowak were the loves of her life, and she loved nothing more than attending their activities, beaming with pride over their accomplishments, and being known as “Grandma Jane” to so many of their friends. She is famous for her snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies that were staples at the Nowak family Notre Dame football tailgaters, and for her chocolate covered peanuts that were a favorite of the annual family Christmas cookie bake.
Jane had a smile, laugh, and love of life that were infectious. On most days, she could be found doing any one of her favorite things: shopping for a great bargain, “lunching” with her many friends, or spending time with her family. Teaching was her passion, and she was still in the classroom part-time until the COVID pandemic forced her retirement in 2020. She cherished her membership in the St. Clair County Junior Service Club for over 50 years, as well as her involvement with both the Belleville and St. Clair County Historical Societies.
Jane was preceded in death by her parents, Ovid and Peggy Ruhmann, and her brother, Dr. Douglas (Patricia) Ruhmann. In addition to her loving husband, children, and granddaughters, Jane is survived by her devoted sister, Lynne (Lin) Midyett of Clarkson Valley, MO; dear sister-in-law Patricia Ruhmann of Brentwood, MO; many beloved nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and innumerable cherished friends and extended family.
Memorials: With grateful hearts, the family requests memorials be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois for the compassionate and loving care Jane received in her final weeks.
Visitation: Visitation from 4:00 – 8:00 pm, Thursday, July 21, 2022 at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, IL and from 9:30 am – 10:00 am Friday, July 22, 2022 at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Belleville, IL.
Funeral: Funeral Services will be held at 10:00 am, Friday, July 22, 2022 at St. Matthew United Methodist Church, with Rev. Robert Swickard officiating. Interment will follow at Valhalla Gardens of Memory in Belleville, IL.