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Martha Carol Hughes Cross, 86, went home to be with her Lord and Savior at 1:28 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at The Anchor in Marion, Illinois, surrounded by her loving family.
A celebration of her life will be held at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, March 8, 2018, at Grand Avenue Baptist Church, 116 West Grand Avenue, Carterville. Friends are invited to participate in a visitation from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., Thursday. Interment will be at Masonic & Oddfellows Cemetery in Benton.
Carol was born on January 30, 1932, in Christopher, Illinois, the first daughter of Goffrey Henry Hughes and Martha Louise (Stierwalt) Hughes. She trusted in Christ as a young girl and followed Him all the rest of her days. Starting in junior high, Carol loved music and often played the marimba for civic and church groups. She graduated in 1950 from Benton High School where she met her lifelong sweetheart, Buddy Dean Cross. They married on June 7, 1953 in an afternoon ceremony. That same evening, Bud and Carol went from the chapel to Bud’s Southern Illinois University graduation where Carol served as an honor attendant. That year she worked in East St. Louis teaching before returning to complete her degree in special education from SIU in August of 1954. They started their family with Deanne’s arrival in October of that same year. Jeff arrived 20 months later, followed by Jeanette in 1961.
Carol and Bud lived in Granite City, IL, Alton, IL, New Haven, CT, Godfrey, IL, Carbondale, IL, and then settled into their beloved Carterville for over 50 years. Carol cared deeply about kids and learning. She worked as an elementary school teacher at both Carterville and Crainville, and later earned a masters degree in education from SIU. She was a devoted member of Grand Avenue Baptist Church as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, Bible study participant, and served as a trustee. Over the years, she volunteered as a Girl Scout leader, Meals on Wheels delivery, Carterville Library Board member, CASA advocate, Carterville Senior Citizens , Area Agency on Aging Ombudsman, Williamson County Retired Teachers Association, Purdy School re-enactment school marm, and Carterville Free Fair corny dog fryer extraordinaire. Carol and Bud loved people and opened their home often to their guests. They enjoyed travelling around the country and internationally staying in touch with family and friends. Carol was co-author with Jean Ellen Reynolds on the book Kisses from Hannah. She was an avid Cardinals fan and a season ticket holder for SIU basketball and football games. Carol’s hobbies were birds, reading and crossword puzzles.
Carol was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She is survived by daughter Deanne and son-in-law Don Closson, son Jeff Cross and daughter-in-law Christy, and daughter Jeanette and son-in-law Dean Ehrenheim. She is grandmother to Aaron Closson, Andrew Closson, Jared and Meredith Ehrenheim and their son Ellis, Trevor Ehrenheim, Evan and Emily Ehrenheim, Emma Ehrenheim, Brandon and Carrie Cross, and Erica Cross. Carol is survived by her sister, Rosemary Hinkley, nephews Paul and Dean Hinkley, and their children, and Bud’s nieces Deborah Cross and Jan Marchionni and her son David. Other family members include the Ken Hughes family, and the Arlen Kimball family, the Allan Kimball family, and the Dale Stierwalt family. Bud preceded her in death in January of 2013.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Grand Avenue Baptist and Williamson County Programs on Aging (memo section: Meals on Wheels).
Carol’s family wishes to thank the many caregivers who have helped over the years. The loving support and prayers of the church family at Grand Avenue Baptist and Aldersgate Methodist are also greatly appreciated.
Riggin-Pillatsch & Burke Funeral Home in Carterville is in charge of arrangements.
Grand Avenue Baptist Church
116 W. Grand Avenue, Carterville IL 62918
Williamson County Programs on Aging
1201 Weaver Road, Herrin IL 62948