Peaceful 06

Irma Hilditch

June 16, 1922 ~ September 4, 2023 (age 101) 101 Years Old


Strengthened by the sacraments of her beloved Catholic Church, Irma Hilditch, of Ocala, Florida, passed away on September 4th after a long illness at Chambrel Pinecastle Retirement Community in Ocala, Florida.  She was 101. 

Irma was predeceased by her mother, Ella R. Smith (née Young), her father John Hutchinson Smith, Sr., her brother John Hutchinson Smith, Jr. and by her loving husband, Samuel (Sam) Francis Hilditch, Sr.  She is survived by her four children, Samuel (Rusty) Hilditch, Jr., Shelley Lenhard (Kenneth), David Hilditch (Annie Smart) and Suzanne McGowan Sperring (John), 7 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 5 nephews and nieces.

Mary Irma Smith was born in Windsor, New Jersey on June 16th, 1922 and attended Allentown High School. She received her Associate of Arts degree from Rider College. Professionally, Irma worked as a secretary for businesses in New Jersey and later for Senator Clifford Case in Washington, D.C. She was parish secretary at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church (Pocomoke City, MD) for 25 years, where she became an important source of continuity and institutional knowledge for the parish, as clergy came and went over the years. She and Sam participated in nearly every aspect of parish life with Irma eventually becoming a Eucharistic minister.

She met Sam Hilditch at a USO dance in 1946 and they soon married. Due to Sam’s work over the years, they moved from New Jersey to Washington, D.C., followed by Western Maryland and then to Hampton Roads, Virginia. They settled for many years in Pocomoke City, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore, where they remained until 1997 until moving to Dunnellon, Florida.   

Irma and Sam participated enthusiastically in the lives of their children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren.  She was always a strong presence in their lives. Every summer Irma and Sam rented an apartment in Ocean City, MD for the entire family. What joyful memories for everyone!  As her children and grandchildren grew older she became a friend, confidant and support to them.

She and Sam were passionate about traveling. They took guided tours of Spain and of Western Europe and England, not to mention frequent cruises, where they made lifelong friends.  They traveled to Alaska to see their oldest daughter and family. They drove across the country, all the way to the Grand Canyon -  in their 70s!

Irma was an avid, daily reader and she encouraged her children to develop reading habits, taking them often to the public library.  She also loved working crossword puzzles and doing acrostics. In earlier years, Irma loved to cook, and after taking a course in gourmet French cooking at UMES, she developed her knack into a true art. 

Irma’s children and friends will never forget how on most days you could find her deftly twirling her knitting needles, working with yarns, knitting scarves, sweaters and hats for family members and friends. Most friends’ babies were gifted with treasured knitted items. Irma was also an avid baseball fan – spending every season supporting her well-loved Tampa Bay Rays. 

In her final years, as Irma’s physical condition worsened, she shifted her focus to socializing and friendship.  She loved the easy camaraderie in the retirement community dining room and had a special radar for individuals who were marginalized in the community because of their own physical challenges: she’d befriend them, choosing to sit with them at meals. She was a bright presence in this small world.

Ever the optimist, Irma searched for the silver lining, the “sunny side,” in almost any set of bad and dark circumstances she was experiencing, especially her declining health. She told her children over and over again. “Oh well. Other people have it worse. Tomorrow is another day.”  In moments of clarity, she saw her own life as an incredibly lucky and blessed one. She often joked about what she’d do with her money if she won the lottery (in short: give most of it away), but then would observe that her life, even with little in the way of financial wealth, was a good and happy life. For she knew she had more than enough of what mattered most – family, friends and opportunities to enjoy being alive on this beautiful earth.

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September 11, 2023

9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
7525 S Hwy 41
Dunnellon, FL 34432

Funeral Mass
September 11, 2023

10:00 AM
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
7525 S Hwy 41
Dunnellon, FL 34432


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