A longtime McKendree University benefactor, Fern M. Hettenhausen of Belleville, died on Friday. She was 92.
The cause of her death has not been released.
McKendree University's performing arts center is named in honor of Russel and Fern Hettenhausen, who shared a lifelong love for the arts. The center is known as "The Hett."
Fern Hettenhausen's niece, Kathleen Spilka, said Saturday she wanted to wait until after her aunt's funeral on Monday to comment.
Following the death of Russel Hettenhausen in November 1999, Fern Hettenhausen sought out a way to memorialize him and donated just over $5 million to the university to construct the arts center. The center opened in 2006.
In a 2002 interview with the News-Democrat, Hettenhausen said McKendree President James Dennis showed her plans for the performing arts center that would seat 500.
"I decided I should see that building built. That was my goal," Hettenhausen said.
Hettenhausen was an accomplished pianist who performed in the metro-east and St. Louis since her youth.
Hettenhausen told the News-Democrat she was "discovered" while playing piano in front of Rhein's music store on East Main Street in Belleville.
"A man came up and said 'I want to be your agent.' I had no idea what that meant at (age) 15," Hettenhausen said. "I started playing at social parties in St. Louis."
After marrying her husband in 1939, Hettenhausen helped him run their real estate and insurance business.
Russel and Fern Hettenhausen were married for 60 years.
Funeral services for Fern Hettenhausen will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Valhalla Mausoleum in Belleville. Arrangements provided by George Renner and Sons Funeral Home in Belleville.
Memorials may be made to TIP Hospice or to the Russel and Fern Hettenhausen Performing Arts Center at McKendree University.