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Rita Ann Ackrill

November 6, 1923 June 10, 2019
Rita Ann Ackrill
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Obituary for Rita Ann Ackrill

Rita Ann Ackrill died on June 10, 2019 in Sullivan, IL. She was a former resident of Decatur.

Rita was born in Quincy, IL on Nov. 6, 1923. She was the daughter of George and Isabelle Sohm. Rita received 12 years of Catholic education at St. Boniface Grade School and Notre Dame High School in Quincy. She took business courses at Quincy College. In 1943, the Sohm family moved to Decatur, IL. Rita got her first job at the Sears Roebuck store. At first she worked on the sales floor, then in the credit department. Later, she was promoted to inventory manager, with three employees reporting to her.

Rita met her future husband, Thomas B Ackrill, in 1948 at a dance at Chanute Air Force Base near Rantoul, IL. He was attending Flight Engineer School. The dances were sponsored by a service organization at Chanute. Rita was with a group of young women which had been organized by The Catholic Daughters of America. The dances at the base were popular with the girls because there were three GIs for every girl. The Air Force sent a bus to pick up the girls at St. Patrick Church in Decatur on Thursday evenings. The bus took the girls to Chanute and back. The girls sang songs on the way there. The bus rides home were quieter. The girls were thinking of the adventures they had.

While Rita and Tom were dating, Tom drove the 60 miles from Chanute to Decatur. For a special date, they drove from Decatur to a supper club in Springfield. Rita and Tom were married on Aug. 6, 1949 at St. James Church in Decatur.

Soon after their marriage, the Air Force moved Tom and Rita to Edwards Air Force Base, in the desert north of Los Angeles. They had a daughter (Nancy Ackrill) and a son (Peter Ackrill). Edwards was close enough to Los Angeles so that the young family could make an occasional day trip to that exciting location.

In 1955, Tom and Rita were transferred to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, where two sons (Victor Ackrill and Anthony Ackrill) were born. In 1958, the family moved to Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. They stayed there for 14 years, until Tom Ackrill retired from the Air Force in 1972. Then the family moved to Fort Lauderdale, FL, where Rita and Tom raised their two youngest sons through high school.

Rita was a long-time volunteer proofreader at Insight for the Blind in Fort Lauderdale. She worked 13,500 hours over a period of 20 years starting in 1975. This was the most time volunteered by anyone at that organization.

Rita was a long-time parishioner at St. Helen Church in Dayton OH, St. Clement Church in Wilton Manors FL, and St. Patrick Church in Gainesville FL.

Rita is survived by a sister, Mary Wolfe of Duneland Beach IN, a brother, Fr. John Sohm of Sullivan IL, three sons (Peter Ackrill, Kansas City MO; Victor Ackrill, Fort Lauderdale, FL; Anthony Ackrill, Gainesville FL) and a grandson, Tom Ackrill of Douglasville GA and his wife and children.

Instead of flowers, donations may be sent to any of the above churches or to Insight for the Blind in Fort Lauderdale. Cards may be sent to Peter Ackrill 231 E 74 St. Kansas City MO 64114.


Event Information

Services will be set for a future date to be determined.

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