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MAHOMET — Edward Allen Lotz, 86, of Mahomet passed away peacefully at his home on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020.

He was born on Feb. 3, 1933, to Edward Roland and Opal Maurine (Bloss) Lotz in Cincinnati, Ohio. He married Norma Jean Smith on June 23, 1956. She survives.

Ed is also survived by their three daughters, Pamela (David) Rathke of Colfax, Sandra (Philip) Cunningham of Channahon and Betty Jo (Dean) Smith of Manhattan; nine grandchildren, Kristin (Patrick) McWilliams of Mahomet, Brian Rathke (Denise) of Bettendorf, Iowa, Lauren (Zach) Langhoff of Colfax, Morgan Rathke of Colfax, Daniel Cunningham (Marjorie Thomas) of Edgerton, Wis., Adam Cunningham of Moline, Holly Cunningham of Trivoli, Amanda (Steve) Gerzen of Joliet and Austin Smith of Manhattan; and eight great-grandchildren, with another due in February.

Ed spent his childhood in Cincinnati and received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Cincinnati. Upon graduation, he began his career with the Army Corps of Engineers Ohio River Division Laboratory (ORDL), where he worked on projects such as road and runway design, including the launch pads for the Apollo space program.

Ed relocated his family to Mahomet in 1969 when the Army Corps created the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) in Champaign, where he was a member of the original management team. Ed and Norma purchased property on the edge of town where they raised cows and horses as well as growing hay for their animals.

Moving from the inner city of Cincinnati to their small farm allowed Ed to channel his inner “Green Acres” farmer. He enjoyed many hours on his John Deere 1010 tractor. The farm later became Bridle Leash Park. They have enjoyed watching their friends and neighbors taking walks in the park, especially when they were walking their dogs.

Ed retired in 1988 after 31 years with the Army Corps. Since retirement, Ed and Norma have enjoyed many interests, mostly associated with their children and grandchildren, and their love of horses and antique toys. Ed loved the holidays, Christmas in particular. With his long white beard, children often thought he was Santa Claus. He always carried a couple of half dollars to give to those brave enough to ask if he was the “real” Santa.

Ed will be remembered by family and friends for his wonderful sense of humor, his hearty laugh and his loving spirit. Family was his No. 1 priority, and he and Norma created a loving and happy one.

Services will be held at the Mahomet United Methodist Church, 1302 E. South Mahomet Road, on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. The visitation will begin at 11 a.m., followed by a celebration of life service at 12 noon. The UMW will be hosting a luncheon at the church following the service. Blair-Owens Funeral Home, Mahomet, www.owensfuneralhomes.com, is assisting with the arrangements.

The family requests that memorials be directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, www.stjude.org, who saved their granddaughter Morgan’s life.