Julie Teresa Schwent (Smith), 57, of Decatur, peacefully left this world on Friday, January 15, 2021; after courageously battling cancer for twenty, hard fought, months. She was surrounded by family and friends, inside her home, at the time of her passing. A public visitation will be held at Heartland Community Church, located on Brush College Road, from 4-6pm on Friday, January 22, 2021. A memorial service celebrating her life will take place at the conclusion of her visitation.
Born on May 20th, 1963 at Decatur Memorial Hospital in Decatur, IL. Julie was the youngest of six children born to Donald H. Smith of Assumption, IL and Marjorie L. Smith (Hunt) of Decatur, IL. She was a member of MacArthur High School’s graduating Class of 1981. She spent her days of elementary school at Oak Grove and attended Roosevelt Middle School. Julie grew up on the west end of Decatur, across from MacArthur High School. The childhood home in which she was raised is still owned by her family and holds countless memories. As a child, she developed many friendships that lasted the duration of her life.
She was married in Scovill Park Gazebo on September 5, 1987, to her lifelong love, Thomas P. Schwent “Tom”, 58, of Decatur. As teenagers, the two met at Great Skate roller rink and began dating in 1977. Therefore, sharing a total of 44 years as a couple, 34 of those devoted to marriage. Together they have two sons, Jared Michael, 29 and Jacob Joseph, 24, both reside in Decatur, IL.
Julie was employed by Heritage Behavioral Health Center. She worked approximately 3 years in the accounting department and was loved earnestly by her co-workers, of both past and present. Prior to her employment at Heritage, Julie faithfully dedicated over 20 years of service to a locally owned plumbing & heating company. Other notable jobs include St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinton Power Plant.
She was an avid lover of animals, particularly dogs. On a day in her last month of life, Julie was quoted saying, “I wish I could bring them all to our house!”, while watching the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show. That was Julie. In a perfect world, she’d have a simple house and enough acreage for a small, private dog shelter or rescue facility. She followed several social media groups that support the rescue and rehoming of dogs. Two of her favorite breeds were the American Staffordshire Terrier and Boxer. Her fur babies truly were bonus children to her. At the time of her passing, she left behind Duke (6), Eli (4), and Riley (2). We believe they knew her time was coming, and they showed her all the unconditional love she’d given them over the years. As her health declined, there was never a moment in time, when a dog wasn’t present with Julie. From the couch, to the bed, to a recliner that sits beside their momma’s “new” chair. All the way down to laying at the foot of her “new” bed in the living room. All her babies were present when Julie crossed from this world to the next.
During her last couple of years in life, she assisted in organizing and transporting multiple rescue dogs and puppies. Ensuring that they were safely delivered to their new forever homes. These trips spanned anywhere from Kansas City, MO to Dayton, OH. She befriended several people she’d encountered among the doggy rescue community. Many of them followed her and her story. One day all of Julie’s dogs went wild. Barking, yelping, panting, and fighting to gallop out the door to greet a stranger who’d pulled into the drive. The stranger ended up being a woman from out of state, who was a member of a FaceBook group for rescued dogs that Julie was a part of as well. This woman drove a round trip through multiple states in the Midwest. To have other members of the group sign a t-shirt and write words of encouragement to Julie as a sign of unity and support. This speaks volumes about the type of woman Julie was. She was a caretaker, much like her mother.
The only thing Julie loved more than her dogs, were her sons. She supported them through every one of their endeavors. Celebrated their highest highs and consoled them in times of hardship. She was at every school event, ball game, drag race, etc.
Julie’s laugh was contagious, and her smile, it had a way of warming your heart. She loved sunflowers, small gifts of endearment, and country music. She was a diehard Garth Brooks fan. She and her boys attended a total of 7 Garth concerts across the country. Julie was a simple, kindhearted woman, who was loved exponentially by many people. More importantly, ALL KINDS of people. She was never one to cast judgment or sit upon a high horse. She was caring and supportive of all people. Especially to those openly battling their demons, of any kind. Julie’s empathy ran deep. She endured a lot throughout her life, but never complained or once asked for pity. Instead she kept a positive mindset while persevering through her own battles. Her life is a representation of hope, strength, loyalty, love, determination, and resilience.
She is survived by her husband Tom Schwent, sons Jared Schwent (Courtney Benton) and Jake Schwent (Olivia Graham), grandson Bryson Benton, sister Kathy Smith, brothers, David Smith (Gini), Robert Smith (Judy), Jeff Smith (Nancy), nieces Debbie Clements, Tiffany Gore, Suzette Schwent, Stephanie Smock, Stephanie Schwent, nephews Mark “Mac “ Clements, Eric Schwent, Jon Smith, Ryan Smith, Daniel Smith, Robert Schwent Jr., along with several great nieces and nephews.
She was greeted at Heaven’s Gates by her grandparents, parents, Donald and Marjorie, sister, Sue Clements, nephews Michael “White Mike” Smith, Matthew Smith, niece, Lori Smith. Also, waiting anxiously at Heaven’s doggy door, with wagging tails, were Bonnie, Terrington, Rocky, Chelsey, Chance, Molly, Gracie, Chloe, Gus, and Bentley.
The family would like to thank the staff at DMH Cancer Care, Dr. Damarla, Dr. Yoon, Jan Dial, Memorial Hospice Staff, and any other medical professionals involved in Julie’s treatment. Tanzyus Logan Funeral Service and Care, Heartland Community Church, everyone who donated to the Schwent Family Fundraiser, and those who reached out with words of encouragement.
Most importantly, a heartfelt thank you to the friends and family who supported Julie in times of need.
Please sign family guestbook below