Floral 09

Barbara Lee (Smith) Paolillo

September 29, 1936 ~ April 9, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old

Barbara Paolillo Obituary

Barbara Lee Paolillo, 86, of Elkhart, died Sunday, April 9, 2023 at North Woods Village at Edison Lakes. She was born September 29, 1936 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

She was proceeded in death by her parents, James B. Smith and Elpha L. Smith and sister, Martha J. Reynolds.

Barbara graduated from Ft. Wayne Central High School 1954, where she was a member of the National Honor Society and attended Elkhart University of Medical Arts from 1954-1955. She received her Medical Assistant Certification upon completion.  She married, Samuel J. Paolillo on June 23, 1956, at St. Thomas Rectory in Elkhart, IN.  She was employed at C.G. Conn as Secretary to the Assistant Controller, proceeded to serve as the Secretary to the Elkhart Board of Public Works and Public Safety in 1973.  In 1975 she was asked to serve as Executive Secretary to former Elkhart City Mayor Daniel E. Hayes. In 1984 she accepted the position as Executive Secretary at the Elkhart City Police Department for 10+ years to former Police Chiefs Jim Mabie, Thomas Cutler and John J. Ivory.  Barbara also volunteered with the Lincoln Elementary School PTA, serving a term as president, also volunteering with the Democratic Women’s Club. She was a member of the Junior Women’s Club, the Four Arts Club and the Midwest Art Museum. 

Barbara and Sam were married for 63 years and had 3 children: Denise L. (Keith) Claro, South Bend, IN, Benjamin J. (Julie) Paolillo, San Diego, CA and Lisa L. (John) Capes, Carmel, IN. She also had one granddaughter Maria (Dan) Wodicka of Baltimore, MD, 3 grandsons Vincent Joseph Claro (deceased), Jack S. Capes and Nicholas P. Capes, Carmel IN, and two step grandchildren, Alexander Capes, San Diego, CA and William Reddoch, Knoxville, TN.  Three nieces and numerous great nieces and nephews.  Barbara enjoyed spending time with her family and visiting with and spoiling her grandchildren. She loved gardening, entertaining and traveling.  Barbara and Sam were fortunate enough to travel to China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bali, Italy, Sicily, England, Scotland, Mexico, Hawaii and Bermuda.  Sam and Barbara celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a trip from England to New York on the QE2 and spent their 50th wedding anniversary in Paris.  Their 60th anniversary was celebrated with their family at one of their favorite places to vacation with family, French Lick, IN at the West Baden Springs Hotel.

Our family would like to give a special thank you to Barbara and Samuel’s lifelong friends Nancy and Tony Fiorentino for their love and support to our parents and us. We also would like to thank, Senior1Care Caregivers for their services in rendering care and companionship to our mother since 2020.  And a special thank you to Traditions Health Hospice for their care towards our mother.

A Visitation for Barbara will be held on Saturday, April 15, 2023 from 11AM-1PM at Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home in Elkhart. A service for Barbara will follow at 1PM at the funeral home. Barbara will be laid to rest at Rice Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, P.O. Box 2932, Elkhart, Indiana 46516

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April 15, 2023

11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home Inc.
403 W. Franklin Street
Elkhart, IN 46516

Funeral Service
April 15, 2023

1:00 PM
Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home Inc.
403 W. Franklin Street
Elkhart, IN 46516


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