Lillian Katherine Willis Hukill
Lillian Katherine Willis Hukill passed away peacefully at her home on Easter Day, April 21, 2019. Lillian was born on July 6, 1929 to Annie Laura Shepherd Willis and Charles Eugene Willis in Neosho, Missouri. Lillian was raised all her life in the Neosho area. When she was five years old, her father abandoned the family. Shortly thereafter, her mother married Mark Rentfro who raised Lillian as his own. Raised in a rural area, she spent many days helping with farm chores as well as hauling water to the house, as they had no indoor plumbing.
Lillian graduated as Salutatorian from Stella High School in 1947. In 1948, Lillian was working at the Newton County Courthouse when she met Denzil Hukill through friends. Rumor has it that it was at the Strawberry Festival where they met and fell in love. Lillian and Denzil were married on July 25, 1948 in a small ceremony at the First Baptist Church in Neosho. Together they raised their family. Lillian and Denzil worked together at their store, Hukill Furniture Company in Seneca, Missouri until retiring in 1991; after which their son, Duane, took over the business, moving it to Joplin as Joplin Floor Designs.
Lillian was a member of First Christian Church in Neosho and sang in the church choir for many years. She was also active in many organizations, including Den Mother for Cub Scout Pack No. 27, Neosho Fortnightly Study Club, Red Hatters, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, Eastern Star, and Good Sam’s Camping Club. Lillian served as Worthy Matron of the Neosho Eastern Star Chapter along with Denzil as Worthy Patron.
She is survived by her sisters, Gloria Pace of Kansas City, Missouri, Margaret Shellenberger of Goodman, Mo., and brother, Wayne Rentfro of Round Top, Texas. She is also survived by her children and their spouses Katherine Elaine Pellegrin (Tom) of Neosho, formerly of Houston, Texas, Susan Lee Davis (Mike) of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, David Gleason Hukill (Renee) of Muskogee, Oklahoma, Duane Denzil Hukill (Holly) of Joplin, Missouri and Darwin Robert Hukill (Kimberly) of Cassville, Missouri, and special long-time companion, Col. (Ret.) William “Mick” Bloom of Bellevue, Nebraska. She is also survived by 8 grandchildren; Navy Musician 1st Class Kenny Ray Horton (Natalie) of Point of Rocks, MD, Blake Shoen (Will Woods) of Owasso, Oklahoma, Stefan Hukill of Carthage, Missouri, Makenna Hukill of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jacob Schoeneman of New London, Missouri and Paige Roberson (Rhett) of Springfield, Missouri; Justin Weber of Joplin, Missouri, Joshua Weber of Joplin, Missouri and by 3 great grandchildren, Tatum Horton, Raigen Moore and Keller Hukill; and 15 nieces and nephews. Lillian was preceded in death by her husband, Denzil, of 53 years, her mother and step-father, Annie & Mark Rentfro, siblings Lorene Lewis, Leon Willis, Eugene Willis, Rex Rentfro, Wanda Barratt and Dean Rentfro, bother-in-law Charles Hukill and wife Sara of Morgantown, West Virginia.
Funeral services will be held at First Christian Church, 1304 Oak Ridge Drive, Neosho, Missouri on Friday, April 26, 2019 at 10 AM with Pastor Al Gritten presiding. Lillian will be buried next to her husband at Swars Prairie Baptist Church Cemetery, Southeast of Seneca, Missouri. Pallbearers will be grandsons Blake Shoen, Stefan Hukill, Jacob Schoeneman, Justin Weber, Josh Weber, and nephews Richard Willis and Mike Pace. Visitation will be Thursday at 5:30 PM until 7PM at Clark Funeral Home, Neosho, MO.
Charitable donations may be sent to First Christian Church, Building Fund, c/o Clark Funeral Home, PO Box 66, Neosho, MO 64850, or directly to the charity of your choice.
The family wishes to extend their deep gratitude to her caregivers of Charlotte’s Angels and Compassus Hospice.
Online condolences may be posted at www.clarkfuneralhomes.com
Services are under the direction of Clark Funeral Home, Neosho, Mo.