Lila May Self

Lila May Self (nee Reetz), 91, passed away peacefully at the King-Bruwaert House in Burr Ridge, Illinois, on Thursday, November 28, 2013. Lila was born May 18, 1922, on the family farm north of Eudora, the second eldest daughter of five children to William and Frieda (Schwarz) Reetz.

Lila was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 69 years, Madison β€˜Al’ Self, their son, Murray A. Self; two brothers, Alvin Reetz and Elmer Reetz; and parents.

Lila loved life and had many friends and family. Her love for family and friends was evident through her beautiful, radiant smiles and acts of kindness. Lila was never at a loss for words and her quick wit and humor was always apparent. In later years. Lila devoted time and care to her beloved mother, Frieda. Her mother spent winters with Lila and Al in Hawaii, Florida, and Arizona, until she passed.

Lila always accompanied her husband, Al, on business trips, traveling to countries around the world and cultivating new friendships. She lived a full and enriching life enjoying interests in the arts, museums, history and family genealogy. Lila spent time researching the 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, often traveling to Europe to view the original Vermeer paintings. She also devoted extensive time researching the architect R. Harold Zook from which their home in Hinsdale, Illinois was built and designed in 1929.

Lila graduated from Eudora High School in 1939. She completed the Lawrence Business College entering classes at the University of Kansas, where she met her future husband, Al. On September 1, 1943, Al and Lila were married in York, Pennsylvania.

Lila knew the importance of giving back to her community and alma mater – The University of Kansas. Lila and her late husband, Al, established and endowed funding to create the Madison A. and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship Program for doctoral students, and the SELF Engineering Leadership Fellowship Program. They also endowed funds to establish the Leadership Academy for undergraduate students at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Lila is survived by daughter in law, Anne Mueller; two grandsons, Milo and Aran; and two sisters Katherine (Reetz) Neis of Eudora, and Lorene (Reetz) Cox of Linwood. She also leaves an extended family of loving nieces and nephews, and her long time caregiver, Helen Pourchot of Oaklawn, Illinois.

A remembrance service and visitation with the family will be held on Thursday, December 12, 2013, at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, Kansas. Visitation will precede from 10-11 am; a remembrance services will follow at 11 am. Burial will be at Lawrence Memorial Park Cemetery.

A memorial service will be held at the King-Bruwaert House, 6101 South County Line Road in Burr Ridge, Illinois on Tuesday, December 17, 2013, at 1:30 pm.

The family suggests memorials to the Eudora Museum Building Fund (Eudora Area Historical Society), or charity of your choice to be sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS, 66044.

Online condolences may be sent at

Messages & Condolences

From Mary Cox...

Aunt Lila was such a beautiful woman. She loved people and I will always remember how much she loved Uncle Al. I have great memories with her and was blessed by her tremendous gift of hospitality several times. I am grateful to have known her.

From Linda Bock...

Peace to Lila’s family. Although I never met Lila, I have been priveleged in hearing stories of her and being included in her family. She inspires me with her strong family connections and her zest for life.

From Linda Martin...

My heartfelt condolences to the family. May your many treasured memories and the loving support of family and friends help you through this most difficult time.
ROMANS 15:33

From Dana Price...

Lilia, the most gracious person I can ever imagine, gave me so much encouragement and support during my years at KU. I feel I’ll always have a bit of her spirit in my heart.

From Matthew Ramspott...

I remember Lila as a wonderful conversationalist, always very engaged and interested in the programs that she and Al so generously supported at KU. I count myself fortunate to have known her during my time there.

Very sorry to hear of her passing.

From Janet & Jerry Seele...

Our sympathy to all the family members. Lila was a beautiful woman to know.
She will be with Al, in the beautiful heavens above. They were a great couple.

From Elizabeth Smith...

One of the kindest and most generous supporters of KU academics — we will miss her very much.

From Colleen Zimmerman...

A lovely lady gone.

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