Alice Cross


Alice Cross, age 84, went to be with Jesus on April 23, 2021. She was surrounded by her daughters and the caring staff of Serenity House in Oregon.

Alice was born on No.17, 1936, in Ridott, Ill., to Frank and Gertrude (Krull) Schoenhardt. Like many others growing up in rural Illinois during the depression era, Alice learned to work hard and be thrifty. She grew up working on her family farm, raising chickens, milking cows, tending her garden, and even trapping along the river that ran by her house. She loved exploring the woods around her farm and learning about flowers and birds, which became a life-long passion for her.

After graduating from Forreston High School, Alice attended the Rockford Memorial School of Nursing and became a registered nurse because she loved to help people. In 1956, she met the love of her life, Gene Cross, through his sister, Marilyn, a fellow nursing student. Alice and Gene married on June 2, 1957. They lived and worked together on local farms until Gene's death in 1979.

Alice worked many years at the Byron Clinic and Freeport Clinic as an RN, as well as NIU Taft Campus as the camp nurse. She also became a certified EMT.

In addition to nursing, Alice enjoyed raising her daughters, teaching them traditional homemaking skills but also teaching them non-traditional skills like how to change oil and tires for the car. She taught them basic medical skills and shared her love of reading and nature. She taught them to identify birds, with cardinals as her favorite, and wildflowers, which she also planted at her home. She was a woman of quiet faith in God, and taught her family through service in church and home. She frequently wrote to missionaries and invited them to her home when they were stateside. She regularly sent homemade greeting cards to local shut-ins. 

Alice loved her family fiercely and selflessly. She supported all her daughters through school and attended countless sports, music, and other school events for her daughters and families. She would remember every birthday and special day with a card. She would drop anything to help them and make time for their needs. She demonstrated strength in service and love in her generous care, always putting her family's needs above her own. 

Alice will be lovingly remembered by her four daughters and their families: Peggy (and Bob) Wagner, Ill.; Pam (and David) Elliott, Tenn.; Penny Beverley, Ill.; and Patti (and Jeff) Pederson, Ill.; eleven grandchildren; six great grandchildren; her sister Lila Thomas, Ariz.; and her sister-in-law, Marilyn (Cross) Myers, Calif.; as well as many others who were touched by her kind and compassionate spirit.

Alice is preceded in death by her husband Gene, her parents, her sister Betty Krull, her brother Frank Jr. Schoenhardt, and her grandchildren Joshua Wagner and Kirah Elliott.

She will be buried in a private ceremony for family only. For those wanting to honor Alice through a gift, please send memorials to Serenity House, Oregon, for the phenomenal care they provided in her last days and/or the Mt Morris Library, for her love of reading.