Tara Beth Kaiser, 60, of Bloomington, Illinois died at home and under the care of Hospice Compassus on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.
Tara was born January 15, 1958 in Holden Hospital, Carbondale, Illinois, to Jennie Lee Cooksey and Glen Earl Zilmer and was the eldest of four children. Surviving siblings are D. Trent Zilmer (Laura Morgan), Dana L. Pratt (Ray) and Jennifer D. Shepard (Louie).
She was baptized into the saving name of Jesus by her father Glen and uncle Norman D. Zilmer on December 3, 1973.
Tara married Michael J. Kaiser on September 6, 1980. Her father Glen was the minister.
Tara earned both a BA and MSW in Social Work and was also an LCSW. Combined with her natural ambition to advocate for those that could not advocate for themselves, she held many professional positions where she could use her compassion and skills. Her challenge both to herself and to others was - what can you do to be better? Her professional positions included Oncology Social Worker at Elmhurst Hospital, Director of the DuPage County Hospice, Assistant Clinical Director at The Baby Fold, The Alzheimer's Foundation, Administrator at Sugar Creek Alzheimer's Special Care Center, and as social worker for OSF Outpatient Palliative Care. She also taught at Illinois State University (ISU), where she was an alumna, as an Adjunct Professor in the College of Social Work for many years.
Tara opened her home to many. She provided a warm home, ample good food, wise counsel, and a listening ear to many young people that were either attending ISU or otherwise in need of a safe and nurturing place to live for a period of time. It was not very often in the past 38 years when there wasn't at least one other non-family member living with Mike and Tara.
Her passion was for her children, to whom she was "Joe", her grandchildren, to whom she was "Gia", as well as other family members, and friends. Some of her interests included travel, having been to all 50 states at least once and most of the European countries, scrapbooking, and the Chicago Bears. She and Mike just enjoyed a 10-day trip to Spain in October, 2018. She cooked well and for many, volunteered for several causes including 6 weeks in the southern states as a Red Cross Volunteer following Hurricane Katrina, and was active at the Tri-Valley School District when Ben and Luke were attending. Another special place was the family lake-house on Lake of Egypt in Marion, Illinois where nothing was better or more enjoyable than a house full of family and friends.
Tara was preceded in death by grandparents Herbert and Dixie Zilmer and Elizabeth and Benjamin Cooksey, her father Glen Earl Zilmer, and uncles Norman D. Zilmer and Jack Richey.
Her children are M. Benjamin (Elisha) Kaiser and grandchildren M. Jacob, Lilah G. and Ethan J. Kaiser. Luke G. (Lindsay) Kaiser and granddaughter Laney A. Kaiser. Tara was very close to and like a second ‘mom' to nephew Samuel J. Millay.
Tara is survived by her husband, mother, and siblings, Aunt Lella Jo Zilmer, Uncle Rich and Aunt Sue Herrin, Aunt Linda Richey, Uncle S. Benji Cooksey, and many cousins, nephews, and nieces.
Arrangements are by Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home in Bloomington, Illinois.
A celebration of Tara's life will be scheduled at a later date. Internment will be in the family cemetery in Goreville, IL., also at a later date.
Cards can be sent to: Jennie Zilmer, 19352 Deerhaven Dr., Bloomington, IL. 61705 and Michael Kaiser, 8505 Jeffrey Ct., Bloomington, IL. 61705.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, donations should be made to St. Jude Children Research Hospital (stjude.org), Hospice Compassus of Bloomington, Illinois, or the Illinois Cancer Care Foundation.
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