“A Quilt Is a Warm Hug”


Submitted by Lutheran Hillside Village


A quilt is a warm hug,” said Annette Smith, founder of the Samaritan Quilts group and resident at Lutheran Hillside Village in Peoria, Illinois, a Lutheran Senior Services Life Plan Community.

Annette, 101, has motivated and inspired others to embrace the art of quilting. Together they create lap quilts for others. “Jesus said love one another and I can’t think of a better way to love your brothers and sisters than to make them a quilt,” said Annette.

The Samaritan Quilts group is named for her community, Samaritan Place, and the Biblical story. “We are using the quilt squares like the steps of the good Samaritan, doing good deeds in many places,” said Annette.

When she was growing up, quilting was both a social activity and a necessity. “You couldn’t go to K-Mart for a blanket back then!” said Annette.            Annette’s love of quilting really took hold about 40 years ago when she made a quilt to donate to a fundraiser. Quilting fit into her busy life as a creative outlet and a way to help others. “I had a job and a husband and four kids. When you quilt you can multi-task and talk to your family.”

Now at a different stage of life, Annette is still quilting and talking as the Samaritan Quilts group sorts fabric and sews together. “She gets her teacher voice out and the staff fall in line to help her sew,” said Sarah Kent, Director of Lifestyle Enrichment at LHV.

Annette is still a teacher at heart! She was born May 23, 1921, in Cadiz, Ky., one of four children of a bricklayer and a domestic worker. After high school, she worked as a live-in housekeeper to pay her way through Indiana State University in Terre Haute. She considered majoring in chemistry and biology to prepare for medical school. Instead, she decided to major in education, earning her certificate as a high school teacher. In spite of racist policies that thwarted her early attempts at obtaining a teaching job, she persevered. She eventually was hired as a teacher in the Peoria School District in 1957. She taught various grade levels until she retired at age 87.

Some of the Lutheran Senior Services Marketing and Communications team visited LHV this summer and were delighted to meet Annette and hear about her quilting group and see the logo that Annette designed by hand for the group. Senior Graphic Designer Ryan Gallo was inspired to make a digital version of her logo, which can be printed for use on tags when the quilts are gifted.

Using her creative skills to help others makes her days feel full. “My favorite thing is the camaraderie with the other people who are quilting!” she said.


Annette is just one of the residents of LHV living life to the fullest! The Life Plan Community boasts a state-of-the-art Wellness Center, numerous dining options, a theater, and so much more. Experience the unparalleled quality and schedule a private tour today: 309.326.5925


For additional informative and inspirational articles, visit 50 Plus News and Views Greater Peoria Area online edition today.

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