Ella Wilkison, 91, of Elburn, passed from this life to eternal life in the morning hours of Monday, April 19, 2010, at Provena Pine View Care Center, following a long battle with Parkinsonâ€™s Disease.
She was born Oct. 4, 1918, in Ainsworth, Neb., the daughter of Edd and Anna (Steiger) Jones.
She grew up in Ainsworth and attended local schools. Anna passed away when Ella was young, so Ella entered the working world earlier than some to help support the family. At age 16, she traveled to Illinois to live with relatives in the Fox Valley area.
Ella worked various jobs in the area. She met the love of her life at a party, where she was introduced to Earl J. Wilkison. That meeting proved providential as they married in St. Charles on Feb. 27, 1940, and made their home in Elburn above the village bakery for a time.
As the family grew to include six children, Ella and Earl moved to Babcock Street and later to a farm on Beith Road, where generations of memories were made. In 1985, Earl and Ella visited family in Arizona and stayed after their daughter-in-law passed away unexpectedly. Four months later, Earl passed away. Ella continued to make her home in Mesa, Ariz., until failing health brought her back to Illinois in 2004. Most recently, she made her home with her son Earl back in her hometown of Elburn.
Ella was a member of the Elburn Community Congregational Church, Ladies Auxiliary of the Elburn American Legion, the Five Câ€™s and the Women of the Moose Chapter 83.
When she was young, Ella loved to ride horses, especially her favorite, Old Bonnie, who she rode to school and back every day. Throughout her life, Ella was always busy. Whether she was working or at home, her hands never slowed down. Ella made dresses for the girls, knitted and crocheted baby sweaters, hats and booties. When she cooked in the kitchen, word spread throughout the family as well as the neighborhood.
Ella was famous for her Christmas cookies, Divinity, and all kinds of fudge each winter. Her cakes knew no season, as they made their mark on birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and every day in between. In earlier years, both she and Earl loved to bowl and spent many years knocking down pins with friends on Thursday nights. She was a life-long bingo and card player who loved to play Kings on the Corner, Canasta and Pinochle, among others.
She now leaves six children, Karen (Robert â€œBuckâ€) Sivert of Elburn, Marilyn Long of Elburn, Elma (James) Wilmath of Elburn, Arlene Wilmath of Chouteau, Okla., Earl G. Wilkison of Elburn, and Ella â€Sallyâ€(John) Malnar of Fort Atkinson, Wis.; 15 grandchildren, Brenda (Randy) Swanson, Cindi (Paul) Paschal, Daniel (Adrienne) Sivert, Missi (Jon) Lewis, Randy Long, Richard (Susan) Wilmath, Joseph Wilmath, Jerry Wilmath, Kenny (Sara) Wilmath, Penny Moore, Martin (Kristi) Wilmath, Adam (Courtney) Wilkison, Chris (Andrea) Malnar, Kurt Malnar and Kelsey Malnar; 25 great-grandchildren; seven great-great grandchildren; two sisters-in-law, Ann Gliddon of Sugar Grove and Lillian Windisch of Arkansas; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Earl, siblings, Lena Cole, Frank Jones and Gladys Smith; and one grandson, Earl G. Wilkison.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m., Thursday, April 22, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL. A service to celebrate her life will also be held at the funeral home on Friday, April 23, at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Blackberry Township Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in her name to benefit her favorite charities. Checks may be made to the â€œElla Wilkison Memorialâ€ and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family through www.conleycare.com.