Childhood never really left Lois. Many think that’s said because of her long career sculpting children in clay in a myriad of childhood activities and poses.
But to see her parasailing and zip-lining in her mid-90s and hot air ballooning at 100 confirms her hold on never quite giving up anything. Every single adventure was marked by a broad smile and a daring twinkle in her eye.
On Aug. 26, 2020, Lois Palmer Huth, died after over a century of bringing joy, hope, creativity and humor to anyone on Earth fortunate enough to have known or encountered her.
What Lois, who was often affectionately called Lolo or Weird Lois by friends and family, packed into her near-103 years was amazing. Born Lois Palmer, she was the youngest child and second daughter of Flora and Charles Palmer.
She was born in the dining room of the Cicero home she lived in most of her life. She met Kenny, her husband-to-be, at J. Sterling Morton High School. Not long after, she and her parents and two brothers (plus her kitten) packed up the family Studebaker and truck and amid the chaos of the Great Depression, moved to Spooner, Wisconsin, where they built a summer resort, Lake Lipsie Pines, on 80 acres of completely undeveloped forested property on the shores of Lake Lipsie.
In her late teens, she returned to Cicero to attend and graduate from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1939, she and Ken married, and within a decade the Cicero home where she was born soon bustled with three boys to keep her busy, Michael “Mick,” Jonathan “Jon,” and Lindsay.
Ken built a studio in the garage after Lois’ creativity in ceramics began. By 1950, Lois’ focus on sculpting children began, and within the decade she became widely noted for her talents.
Her creative sculpting ideas were without end and by age 98 when she was forced to retire due to declining vision, she had produced well over 8,000 unique works. During the years she sculpted, she and Ken participated in hundreds of juried art fairs across the country, and she won numerous awards and recognitions for her work.
As if three children and her prolific art career were not enough, Lois and Ken fostered 12 additional children over the years. These children of varied ages, races and backgrounds each brought her and the family joy, then heartache upon leaving. More importantly, they provided these young kids an opportunity to experience love, family life and new tomorrows.
While juggling her sons and foster children, Lois also found time to volunteer. She was a regular for Meals on Wheels, the Chicago Food Depository, Morton Scholarship League, and served on the board of Cicero Family Service and Mental Health Center.
She won many service awards, including Humanitarian of the Year in 2002 from the SRCA, a community for adults with disabilities.
In 1978 she and Ken acquired a small cabin on the shores of Lake Michigan near Shelby, Michigan, and it would become their summer home-away-from-home. Dubbed “Air Pocket,” it was heaven for them. The area, called Little Point Sable, was filled with many generations of families to whom it was also their heaven. Lois and Ken quickly established another set of roots there. With assistance, she was able to spend time there every year until her 102nd.
Kenny died in 2002, but serendipitously, that same year, her side of the family began biannual family reunions, and she savored every single one through 2018.
Born September 19, 1917, Lois lived through 18 presidents, a Great Depression, the advent of space travel, but certainly not as simply an observer. She lived fully and vivaciously with love, caring and passion.
Lois is survived by her sons, Michael (Patricia), Jonathan (Grace) and Lindsay and six grandchildren, Laura (Tom) Huth-Rhoades, Caroline Haley, Jason Huth, Kate (Branden) Alcanter, Erin Santilli and Austen Huth. She also has four great-grandchildren, Mollie Santilli, Addison and Mason Alcantar, and Marshall Haley.
In the spirit of making the world and the lives of others better, the family asks that if you wish to commemorate Lois’ life and legacy, tribute gifts can be made to Smile Train, P.O. Box 96231, Washington, D.C. 20090-6231 (my.smiletrain.org) or Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, Alabama, 36104 (splcenter.org).
Services and interment are private. A memorial service will be held at a future date.
For those wishing to express condolences online, visit HitzemanFuneral.com. If you wish to send a sympathy card to the family, send it to Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 31st St., Brookfield, 60513, c/o the Lois Palmer Huth family.
Hitzeman Funeral Home, Brookfield, handled arrangements.