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Real People

By STACEY PLAISANCE / L’Observateur / November 16, 1998

BOUTTE – Originally from Illinois, Lillian Arnold moved to St. CharlesParish shortly after she was wed to Thomas Schmill Sr. on Nov. 24, 1951.Born in Hamilton, Ill., on Dec. 18, 1927, Lillian and eight of her brothersand sisters were placed in an orphanage in Davenport, Iowa, when their father became severely ill. From age 7 until she was 18, Lillian wasraised without her parents, parted from most of her siblings.

“It was hard for a child to grow up that way, but I have some fond memories of the home,” Lillian said. “I remember train rides in June, thebig celebration for the Fourth of July and boat rides down the Mississippi River in August.”Lillian met Thomas shortly after she left the orphanage, and they were married in a Catholic church in East Moline, Ill. Originally from the south,Thomas moved Lillian to Boutte after they were married where he hoped for better job opportunities and to be near his family.

“Getting married to Tom was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Lillian said. “That was the best memory of my life.” Once back in St. Charles Parish, Thomas had difficulty getting hired byarea chemical plants due to poor health, but he worked diligently as a self-employed carpenter for most of his life.

Thomas enjoyed duck carving for a hobby, and he and Lillian displayed his work at area fairs and festivals, including the Destrehan Plantation Craft Fair and the Alligator Festival.

“He loved wood carving, and I enjoyed going to the fairs with him,” Lillian said.

Lillian lost Thomas to bone cancer in October 1995.

Lillian has four children, all living in southern Louisiana.

Now a grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of one, Lillian said her family and friends occupy much of her time. She is also raising her 13-year-old grandson.

“I like going shopping with my family, and I enjoy raising my grandson,” she said. “I spend a lot of time at the Senior Citizens Center in Luling. Ilike to play Bingo and visit my friends.”

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