Official Obituary of

Burnice Louise Molitor

November 17, 1923 ~ November 9, 2023 (age 99) 99 Years Old

Burnice Molitor Obituary

Burnice Louise Molitor (nee Crofoot) of Peoria, IL passed away peacefully at the age of 99, with her family at her side. She died 8 days short of her 100th birthday. Thirty-three family members had gathered the previous weekend to celebrate with her as she approached her 100th birthday.


Burnice was born on November 17, 1923 in South Bend, Indiana. She was the daughter of Kenneth and Teresa (Myers) Crofoot. She graduated from Madison High School in 1941 and attended St. Mary’s College in South Bend for one year.


While working in the lab at the Ball-Band Rubber Co. in Mishawaka, IN she met a young chemical engineer, Robert P. Molitor from Brooklyn, NY who she married on April 18, 1944 at Sacred Heart Church in Lakeville, IN. Bob Molitor went on to become an accomplished inventor and industry leader and is considered to be the “father of the modern-day golf ball”, the Top-Flite® two-piece golf ball, among many other innovations. He retired as VP of Research and Development at Spalding Golf Co. in 1999.


Following her employment at Ball-Band during WW II, Burnice became a full-time homemaker, raising four children. After living in Akron, OH, and Elmhurst, IL, the family moved to South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1957 where they raised their children. The couple moved to Edwardsburg, Michigan in 1981 where they built a country home near Burnice’s beloved South Bend. In 2001 Bob and Burnice moved to Sycamore, IL and in 2005, to Peoria to be close to family. The couple was married 66 years before Bob passed away in 2010. Burnice lived at Independence Village in Peoria for the past 13 years.


While in South Hadley, Burnice was heavily involved with several charities including the Rosary Altar Society, and was part of the Providence Hospital Auxiliary, managing the hospital gift shop. She was known to welcome all, regardless of age, with the same flair for entertaining. This involved wonderful meals and her specialty, delicious pies. Burnice was an excellent seamstress, sewing much of the family’s clothes. It was not uncommon for her to be putting finishing touches on a dress hours before attending a dance or event.


Burnice traveled the world accompanying her husband on many of his business trips and developed lifelong friendships with families in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and South America, as well as the USA.


Burnice’s number one priority was always her family. Her children and grandchildren will always remember the festive holidays and wonderful summers at their home in the country in Edwardsburg. She was always available to help her family in any way needed.


Bob and Burnice were members of the Knights of Malta, visited the Holy Land, and were honored to attend an audience with Pope John Paul II in Rome. Burnice had a lifelong devotion to the Blessed Mother.


She is survived by her four children, Bruce (Christine) Molitor of Tioga, Texas, Susan ( Paul) Edmiston of Frankfort, IN, Peter (Jocelyn) Molitor of Hatfield, MA, Teresa (Daniel) Smyth of Metamora, IL., nine grandchildren, Rachel Molitor of Pilot Point, TX, Colleen Grounds of Pilot Point, TX, , Mary Beth Edmiston of Chicago, IL, Michael (Lynette) Edmiston of Plymouth, IN, Robert Molitor of Hatfield, MA, Kevin (Kristi) Smyth of Evansville, IN, Rebecca (Jason) Stierwalt of Rogersville, MO, Sarah Smyth of Chicago, IL, and Katherine (Koran) Adams of Kirkwood, MO. She also has 14 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.


Burnice was predeceased by her younger sister, Margery Hershberger, younger brothers Alan and Martin Crofoot, and many aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.


A combined graveside service for Burnice, as well as her late husband Robert, will be held Friday May 10, 2024 11 a.m. at Highland Cemetery, South Bend.

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Graveside Service
May 10, 2024

11:00 AM
Highland Cemetery

South Bend, IN
Guaranteed delivery before the Graveside Service begins


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