Alta Belle Louise Durham, 87, of Toluca, Ill., passed away on Friday, March 24,2017 at Heritage Manor in Minonk, Ill..
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 AM Saturday, April 1, 2017 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Toluca with Franciscan Friars officiating. Burial will follow in St. Ann Cemetery. Visitation will be from 9:00 to 10:30 AM Saturday at Calvert – Johnson & Froelich Memorial Home, Toluca. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Toluca Library or the Eastern Marshall County Ambulance Service.
She was born on Nov. 8, 1926, in Emden, Ill., to William and Mary Lucille (Harmon) Hoerbert. She married Louis Durham on July 2, 1960. He survives.
Surviving are her five children, Jude (Michelle) Durham of Chambersburg, Penn.; Paul (Debbie) Durham of Nixa Mo.; Bill (Renate) Durham of Waterloo, Ill.; Roxanne Weber of Champaign, Ill.; and Andrew (Marla) Durham of Bloomington, Ill. She had 14 grandchildren: Krista, Cory, Josh (Lauren), Zach (Courtney) ,Tyler, Jessica, Blake (Lexy), Chase, Lexi, Ryan, Matt, Derek, Trent, and Erika — two great-grandchildren, Tucker and Carson. Also surviving are a sister Geraline Oleson of Dundee, Ill and a brother Bill Hoerbert of Leesburg, VA along with several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, a sister, a nephew, and granddaughter, Danielle Weber.
Alta graduated from high school in Woodstock, Ill., and received her bachelor’s degree at Northern Illinois University. She taught science in Illinois at Richmond-Burton Community High School in Richmond and Eisenhower High School in Decatur, and she finished her four-decade career in Toluca.
Alta enjoyed playing bridge, doing crossword puzzles — in ink — completing puzzles, reading (she was voracious at it and loved romance and thriller novels), and playing board games with her grandchildren. She was nearly impossible to beat at checkers. After she retired, Alta volunteered at Toluca’s library and sold tickets for the town’s annual Labor Day celebration.
Her storytelling and warm company will be greatly missed. She was strong-willed — except for when her children brought all kinds of pets home, including dogs, (a lot of) rabbits, a rooster, snakes, turtles, a fox, and, yes, a baby alligator. She loved to cook and entertain. (But she rarely ate with her guests because, after frequently and unreservedly sampling the food as she cooked, she was no longer hungry.) Her coffeecake, springles, pizzales, and ham and scalloped potatoes were her specialties. She will be greatly missed by all those who knew her.