Mary J. Gee, 87, of Elburn, passed away Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, at the Homebridge Healthcare Center in Belvidere, Ill., where she had recently made her home.
She was born April 29, 1924, on the family farm in Sugar Grove Township, the daughter of Charles and Claribel (Huston) Dayton.
When she was only 6 months old, Mary’s family moved to a farm on Rowe Road in Elburn. At age 6, the family moved once again to Kaneville, where she attended local schools and graduated from Kaneville High School with the class of 1942.
Mary immediately found work supporting the troops in WWII, making helmets at Hawley Products. Later after she was married, Mary worked part time at Smith’s Grocery while raising her children. She retired from Richardson Electronics in La Fox after 16 years in 1991.
Mary found the love of her life on a playground when she was only 8 years old. She held his sucker while he physically took care of a “situation.” Even then, Mary supported Rich Gee, and they may not have known it then, but the foundation was being laid for a lifetime of memories. They were united in marriage on Sept. 10, 1947, in St. Charles.
They made their home “from scratch,” building a house on the corner of Shannon and Read streets in Elburn. A lifetime of memories were made both with friends and family, making that corner a destination for many looking for a warm smile, a cup of coffee, or a game of basketball in her backyard for the younger generation. After Richard’s passing in 1976, Mary continued to make her home in Elburn until she decided to move to the Meadows Apartments in Elburn. Later, declining health brought her into the care of Heritage Woods, an assisted living center in Rockford, Ill., and most recently she made a home at Homebridge Healthcare Center in Belvidere, Ill.
Mary served her community through her service on the Diaconate board and in the Women’s Guild as member of the Community Congregational Church of Elburn. In earlier years, she was also active in the P.T.A. and served as a Den Mother for her boys. Later, as her children grew, Mary became a member of the Geneva Community Hospital Auxiliary as well as The Wheat and Weeds.
Mary was a woman whose love of family was second only to her faith. She had an inner strength and energy that never seemed to fail, even into her last days. Her heart was always open, her eyes filled only with kindness, and arms always ready to embrace you as part of her family. Mary loved traveling, especially to Door County, Wis., and the Great Lakes region, taking in the beauty of Mother Nature with every step and marveling at God’s creation at night while gazing at the stars.
Mary was always busy playing games with friends, writing countless letters to family and kept active through the years by walking and biking. Mary had a unique imagination and could manufacture a story out of thin air, taking in her surroundings and making them the main character. Those stories and made up games were given with love to her grandchildren, with whom she nurtured a special relationship unique as the children themselves. Family parties and get-togethers were always fun and always centered on that special corner in Elburn.
In her heart, Mary wanted to be a writer, and if given the chance, she planned on writing under the name “Margo Grey.” Not ever realizing that dream, Mary will have to be content with the thousands of stories written on the hearts of her family and friends who will never, ever forget the special woman they were so fortunate to know and love.
She is survived by three children, Linda (Dave) Pingree of Stewartville, Minn., Steve (Jody) Gee of McHenry, Ill., and Mike (Lynn) Gee of Kirkland, Ill.; six grandchildren, Andrew (Sara) Pingree and their son Leo of Portland, Ore., Lisa (Ryan) LeClair and their children, Ethan and Jocelyn, of Fall River, Wis., Layla (Tim) Trakes of Wonder Lake, Ill., Sally (Tim) Santos and their son Gabe, of McHenry, Sarah (Chris) Uramkin and their children, Aiden and Riley, of Woodstock, Ill., and Laura Gee of Kirkland; many nieces, nephews and cousins, and a countryside of friends.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Richard; her sister, Myrtie Podschweit; and two brothers, Jim and Charlie Dayton.
Visitation was held from 4 to 7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 8, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, Ill. A remembrance service, where friends and family are encouraged to share their favorite memory, followed at 7:30 p.m. Rev. Michelle Prentice-Leslie, pastor of the Community Congregational Church of Elburn, officiated. Private family burial will occur at a later date.
A memorial has been established in Mary’s name to benefit her favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Mary Gee Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.