CHAMPAIGN – Emily Ann "Jill" Acheson, 79, of Champaign died at 1:55 p.m. Monday (Jan. 21, 2013) at home after a battle with cancer.
Funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, at St. Peter's United Church of Christ, 905 S. Russell St., Champaign, followed by an open house at the Achesons' home. Burial will be private.
Born Emily Ann Hanafee on Oct. 1, 1933, in La Grange, Jill was the daughter of John and Emily (Thompson) Hanafee. Except for a short time in Riverside, Conn., during World War II, Jill grew up in Champaign, where she attended Holy Cross Grade School and Champaign High School, graduating in 1951.
She attended the University of Illinois, where she graduated in 1955 with a degree in special education with a concentration in education of the deaf.
Jill married her high school sweetheart, James Acheson, on Dec. 3, 1955. They spent two years in Long Beach, Calif., where Jill taught in a grade school for the deaf and hard of hearing and Jim served in the Navy.
They returned to Champaign in 1958 to raise a family. As a devoted wife and "hands on" mom, Jill invested her time and energy in her husband, children and extended family. As a grandmother, "Grammy" had a close and unique relationship with each grandchild.
Jill was a member of Chi Omega, St. Peter's United Church of Christ, the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana and Krannert Art Museum Council.
She was a natural caregiver, caring for her own parents for many years, assisting disabled UI students with their exams at the University of Illinois Rehab Center, and hosting Sunday night dinners for her children, her nephew Tim Hanafee, and other students while they attended the university.
She was an avid reader and bridge player, enjoying the same bridge groups with dear friends for over 50 years.
Though very much a homebody, Jill had an adventurous streak. As a child, her family spent many summers in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee visiting her grandparents, including James "Big Dad" Thompson, a renowned photographer who was instrumental in establishing Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Her love for the mountains and outdoors led her to teach her family how to camp, and she and Jim took their four children on six annual cross-country camping trips through more than half of the United States.
She and Jim traveled with friends through the British Isles and on their own to Paris and through France. She traveled to China to visit her brother Pat and went on two safaris to Africa, one of which was with her brother Jim and his wife Doris, and with two friends, Mary Capel and Susan Dodds. Jill and Mary also cruised the Amazon together.
Jill is survived by her husband, James; three children, William (Eva) Acheson of Champaign, Suzanne (Brian) Warner of Geneva, Ill., and Amy (Ata) Durukan of Champaign; six grandchildren, Alexander Stephen Acheson and Adam Edward Acheson, both of Champaign, Sarah Emily Warner of Chicago, Anna Christine Warner of Geneva, Scott Stephen Warner of Holland, Mich., and Erin Ann Durukan of Champaign; two brothers, Patrick (Valerie) Hanafee of Aurora, Colo., and James Hanafee of San Ramon, Calif.; and sister-in-law, Ann (James) Bailey of Cumming, Ga.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, John "Jack" Hanafee; her son, Stephen Walter Acheson; and her sister-in-law, Doris Hanafee.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Vincent de Paul, c/o Holy Cross Catholic Church, 405 W. Clark St., Champaign, IL 61820, or St. Peter's United Church of Christ (Memorial Fund), 905 S. Russell St., Champaign, IL, 61821.
Arrangements are being completed by the Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy.