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Dennis J. Smith

Dennis J. Smith was born in 1951 to Francis W. Smith and Rita Keigher Smith. Denny graduated from Our Lady Academy Grade School in Manteno, Illinois, Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, Illinois and the University of Notre Dame. Denny spent his entire professional career with Manteno State Bank, serving in numerous roles, including as President of the bank and a member of the Board of Directors of HomeStar Bank for many years.

Denny gave unselfishly of his time and treasure to numerous non-profit, education and community services organizations in Kankakee County. Education was particularly important to Denny. Denny served 15 years on the Board of Trustees of Kankakee Community College. Denny also supported Catholic education by serving on the Board of the Catholic Schools Foundation of the Diocese of Joliet and supporting the Knights of Columbus and many parishes in Kankakee County.

Denny also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Helen Wheeler Mental Health Center, President of the Manteno Chamber of Commerce and as a Trustee on the Riverside Medical Center Foundation. Denny also volunteered for and supported the Manteno Rotary Club, Kankakee Hundred Club and the Kankakee River Valley Seniors Program.

Denny died on September 3, 2007 of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Denny’s life of service inspired his nieces and nephews to establish the Dennis J. Smith Legacy Foundation as a tribute to Denny. The Foundation aims to promote the values Denny exhibited throughout his life: serving local communities, promoting education and helping the less fortunate. The Foundation provides scholarships to students at Bishop McNamara Catholic High School in Kankakee, Illinois and Kankakee Community College in Kankakee, Illinois and supports the Les Turner Foundation, which is committed to ALS research.

Denny Smith's written remarks from the first Dennis J. Smith Legacy Foundation Golf Outing and Fun Day on July 30, 2007

Welcome Family and Friends. It is great what you all have done... thank you. Father Don Lewandowski told me years ago that in the end it all comes down to your faith, your family and your friends. Looking at the list of today's participants it is obvious I have all 3. I am truly blessed. My nieces and nephews established the Foundation in my name. This overwhelmed me. My family and friends turned out to make this one of the biggest golf outings in our area. This overwhelmed me.

The product of all this will benefit 3 organizations that are close to me. Bishop McNamara High School educated all of our family. As a family we have been supporters for 50 years. The relationship has been special. The Legacy Foundation will continue support specifically in my name in the future.

My connection to Kankakee Community College was serving as a Trustee on the College Board from 1990 to 2005. What I saw at the College were people being helped with education and professional training for all ages and backgrounds and also helping people go on to 4 year college degrees or earn certificates that raised their standard of living.

The Les Turner ALS Foundation supports and funds research to find treatments and finally a cure for the disease that I have. ALS is an acronym for the disease. The "street name" or common name is "Lou Gehrig's disease". Those damn Yankees!

I thank from the bottom of my heart my nieces and nephews for establishing the foundation, my brothers and sister for all of their support and hard work on this outing, and last but not least my wife Jill. Without her care, I don't know if I would still be here.

The proceeds of this event and the DJS Legacy Foundation will provide scholarships to deserving high school and college students. I believe that education has the most important impact there is on a person's life.

As my life changes on a daily basis, and thinking about everything that went on today, in the words of Lou Gehrig "I am the luckiest man on the face of this earth".

Thank you all, God Bless, and GO IRISH!