Vera Elizabeth was born on August 9, 1923 to Stella Hicks Armstrong and Landon B. Armstrong in Carbondale, IL.  She was the youngest of eight children.  Five brothers preceded her in death: Dewey, Herman, Charlie, Julius and Ernest; and two sisters:  Viola and Eunice.  Both parents preceded her in death.

Vera accepted Christ and was baptized by Rev. Alonzo Crim of Olivet Freewill Baptist Church.

She attended the public schools, Attucks, in Carbondale, IL.

Vera first married Aretus Kilgore of Carbondale and to that union her oldest daughter, Janice was born.  Aretus preceded her in death.  She later married William E Small of Elgin, IL.

Vera was always willing to help others.  She worked as a nurse’s aide at St. Joseph Hospital, and later became an LPN where she worked at Sherman Hospital until her retirement.

Vera was a faithful member of St. James A.M.E. Church for more than sixty years.  She was a Trustee for many years, a faithful member of the Lydia Missionary Society.  She was also a member of the Forward Look Club where she worked tirelessly on several fundraising projects to purchase the new edifice.

Her hobbies included crocheting, knitting, cross stitching and embroidery.  Vera also loved gardening where she grew tomatoes, green beans, sage and other vegetables.  She enjoyed cooking using her own home-grown vegetables.  When family or friends would mention serving “light refreshments”, they knew that wasn’t the case with Vera, for she was known to fix a full course meal.

Vera is survived by daughters Janice Small-Kelly, LaVeta Small, the late Renee Fagans, and Billie Small-Barnett (Paul).  Grandchildren Norman Johnson (Theresa), William Howard (Carrie), Vanessa Smith, granddaughter and loving caregiver; Stacie Kilbert (Willie C), Michelle Schrilla (Paul), Ronnie Russell (Felicia), and Jessica Barnett.  Twelve great-grandchildren: Damien and Roman Howard, Chloe and Anthony Young; Tyler, Norman and Nolan Johnson, Julius Villarreal (Krista) and Justin Schrilla, Briana Hamilton and Giana Kilbert, and great-great granddaughter, Rowan; nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.

Visitation will be 5:00p.m.- 9:00p.m. Thursday July 2, 2020 at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, 305 Park St., Elgin IL 60120. To access the visitation  remotely, loved ones are encouraged to log on safe from home via (Meeting ID: 961 3273 0691, Password: 294043).

Visitation will continue 10:00a.m. until time of service at 11:00a.m. Friday July 3, 2020 at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home. To access the funeral service remotely, loved ones are encouraged to log on safe from home via (Meeting ID: 941 7673 1989, Password: 696089).

Interment to follow at Bluff City Cemetery, 945 Bluff City Blvd., Elgin IL 60120.

Mourners are encouraged to review the funeral home COVID-19 public health policies ahead of time. Face masks are required to enter the facility.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to St. James A.M.E. Church, 1100 Summit St, Elgin IL 60120.

Final Arrangements entrusted to Symonds-Madison Funeral Home. For more information call (847) 741-1168 or visit

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