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1933 Elizabeth 2023

Elizabeth Ann (Smith) Zorn

March 27, 1933 — June 29, 2023

Woodway, Texas

Elizabeth Zorn of Waco, Texas died peacefully at home Thursday, June 29 – less than two hours after the love of her life, husband Jim, was laid to rest.

Some things are impossible to explain. Some things are too beautiful to try. Thus was the end of a lifelong love affair most people can only dream of. Elizabeth, 90, died as family members gathered nearby for a celebration of Jim’s life. Their sacred bond of marriage spanned more than 65 years – for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health – and for all the grief their loved ones suddenly face, there is comfort in knowing Elizabeth and Jim dance again.

Elizabeth Ann (Smith) Zorn was born March 27, 1933 in Monmouth, Illinois and raised in nearby Viola – a farming town of 500 people just 20 miles from the Mississippi River. This was the land of Lincoln, and Elizabeth carried his sense of justice throughout her days.

For the Smith family, education – learning for the sake of learning – was always at the forefront. Her father, Fielding, was the superintendent of schools in Viola and her mother, Jessie, was a teacher. Elizabeth was the oldest of three girls whose childhoods were filled with academia, music and dance.

After graduating from Viola High School, Elizabeth enrolled in nearby Monmouth College – where she earned degrees in economics, music and education. Monmouth was a family cornerstone in so many ways: Both her parents and numerous other relatives attended, and the Smith family was recognized as Family of The Year in 2008. Until recently, Elizabeth and Jim owned a house near campus.

After finishing college, Elizabeth took a teaching position in Chatsworth, Illinois, where she met a handsome fellow just out of the U.S. Army. On their first date, which required persistence on his part, they drove to Bloomington to watch “Forever Darling” with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The persistence paid off and she agreed to marry James Joseph Zorn.  They went on to create a strong branch of the family tree that includes four children and eight grandchildren.

Elizabeth helped put Jim through college in Colorado Springs and followed him through the decades as his career with Sears Roebuck took them from Colorado to wind-swept Casper, Wyoming back to Colorado, then to Lubbock and finally to Waco.

They first had two boys and then added twin girls and you might think that was enough for one woman but you would be wrong where Elizabeth Zorn was concerned. She taught at 4C Business College in downtown Waco for a decade and also was an adult education teacher for McLennan Community College.

In the middle of raising four kids, Elizabeth continued to pursue her own education – earning a masters of adult education at Texas A&M in College Station. After the kids graduated from college, Elizabeth served as Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Central Texas.

Anyone who truly knew Elizabeth would tell you of her endless curiosity. She liked to read – and read. Tucked into the wall of books in her living room are everything from Larry McMurtry to Les Misérables. For holidays and special occasions, she would write and illustrate children’s stories for her grandchildren. She listened to classical music. She played the piano that still sits in her drawing room in Woodway.

Family vacations were always punctuated by stops at museums, no matter how late the hour or how many miles were left to drive. If it was open, the Zorns were stopping – at the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois; at Monticello in Northern Virginia; at any other place where she thought her children might absorb a little culture or history.

For all these adventures – the roadside peach stands and the riverboats of Europe – the love of her life was constant. Elizabeth and Jim would have celebrated their 66th anniversary in August, and they went together like coffee and cream. Some people can’t stand a crowded kitchen. Jim and Elizabeth always cooked together.  When they went to visit friends or relatives, they always packed freshly-baked cookies or a half-dozen cinnamon rolls – one of Elizabeth’s specialties.

The later years were not kind to Elizabeth. Alzheimer’s is cruel and indifferent. Yet even until the end, she would occasionally open those searching blue eyes and smile and shine them on the world if only for a few seconds – most often in the direction of Jim Zorn.

Elizabeth is survived by four children. They are Mark Zorn of Dallas; Russ Zorn of Solana Beach, Calif; Beth (Zorn) Hicks of Woodway (husband Paul); and Rebecca (Zorn) Lott of Austin (husband Tim). Grandchildren are Connor Zorn, Krystina Speegle, Kristen Zorn, Reagan Zorn, Ben Hicks, Jack Hicks, Seth Lott and Annie Lott. Also surviving is Elizabeth’s sister, Sally Larson of Dunwoody, Georgia (husband Alan).

Elizabeth was preceded in death by her younger sister and kindred spirit, Fielda Kathleen Myers.

The family would ask you to consider a donation to Meals on Wheels in lieu of sending flowers.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church of Waco, the Rev. Leslie King presiding. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

First Presbyterian Church

1100 Austin Avenue, Waco, TX 76701

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