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Mrs. Helen "Mern" (Downey) Smallwood

November 5, 1917 ~ October 10, 2018 (age 100)

Helen Downey “Mern” Smallwood, 100, of Galesburg, died at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 10, 2018 in the Knox County Nursing Home in Knoxville.

She was born November 5, 1917, in Galesburg, the daughter of Thomas H. and Lena M. (Roberts) Downey.  She married George Jackson in 1935, in Macomb.  She later married Kenneth McGill in 1969, in Galesburg, and Rulif C. Smallwood in 1987, in Galesburg.  All three of her husbands preceded her in death.

She is survived by two sons, Richard D. “Dick” Jackson of Berwick and R. Terry (Joyce) Jackson of Galesburg; two step daughters, Sharon (Jack) Frazier and Karen (Danny) Cabrera, both of Galesburg; five grandchildren; four step grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren; step great grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.  In addition to her husbands, she was preceded in death by her parents; a son, Tommy Jackson; a grandson, Jody Jackson; a daughter-in-law, Marilyn Jackson; a brother, Russell Downey; and two sisters, Irene McKee and Eula VanFleet.

In addition to being a homemaker, Helen had worked at Protexall, Inc., the Onion Factory in Rio, and W.T. Grant’s.  She was a member of the First United Methodist Church and was on the Senior Citizens Bowling League.  Mern loved spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.  She will always be remembered for her homemade noodles.

Visitation will be 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, October 13, 2018 at Hinchliff-Pearson-West Funeral Directors and Cremation Services Galesburg Chapel.  Funeral service will be at 2:30 p.m. at the chapel with Pastor Mary Runge officiating.  Burial will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery.  Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church.  Online condolences may be made at


Donations may be made to:

First United Methodist Church

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