Lila M. Cencula

November 21, 2020

Lila May Smith Cencula, age 75, of West Liberty, died Saturday, November 21, 2020 at her home. The daughter of a Colonel in the United States Army, Lila grew up surrounded by life in countries such as Japan, Germany and France.  Always inventive and creative, she was known for making clothes and costumes even before doing so for her children.  In the 1960’s, she once made a two-part horse costume with the front end being for herself and the back end for the guy she was dating.  This same guy took it upon himself to help her learn to drive in his ’68 Malibu and despite that adventure, she said “yes” when the back end of the horse asked her to marry him. Having made her own wedding gown as well as pantsuit outfits for her bridesmaids, Lila May Smith and Richard Michael Cencula were married August 28, 1971 in Columbus, Ohio.  Lila’s love for children resulted in her not only being involved with her daughters’ educations and schools, but also with the creation of a non-profit, called “The Child Assault Prevention Program of Union County,” as well as a child-care program at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. She was a graduate of Orleans American High School in Orleans, France. She received a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from The Ohio State University. Lila also enjoyed astrophysics, reading, gardening and spending time with her grandchildren. She will be remembered for her sense of humor and artistic skills in painting and drawing.  She was born September 27, 1945 in Little Rock, Arkansas to the late Col. David and Annabelle Couch Smith. She was also preceded in death by her sister, Shirley Winn and her brother, Jerry Smith.  She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Richard “Rich” Michael Cencula; two daughters, Jill (Chris) Rogers of Aubrey, Texas and Anne (Andrew) Lowe of Marysville; her grandchildren, Matthieu, Caroline, Annie and Michael Rogers and Cole Breneman; her sisters, Carol Willis, Lola Doty and Kerry Sadler; her sisters-in-law, Mary Smith, Delores Swider, Liz (Gene) Young and Rosemary Lancione; and a brother-in-law, Bill (Carol) Cencula; and many nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends, including her special  caregiver, Jamie McKinley. A funeral procession will form at 11:30 a.m. Monday, November 30, 2020 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and proceed to the church cemetery for graveside services at 12 noon.  COVID precautions are required. Underwood Funeral Home is assisting the family.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Care Train of Union County, P.O. Box 432, Marysville, Ohio 43040. Condolences may be expressed to the family at


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