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Mary A. (Burling) Wilkens

June 30, 1926 ~ June 3, 2018 (age 91)

Mary A. Wilkens, 91, of Nauvoo, Illinois, passed away on Sunday, June 3, 2018, at Maple Grove Memory Care in Carthage.

Mary was born on the Burling family farm in Ferris, Illinois, on June 30, 1926, the daughter of Herman and Sadie (Prendergast) Burling. During her youth, she attended the Pioneer Country School near Ferris, and graduated high school from St. Mary’s Academy in Nauvoo in 1943. After graduation, Mary worked as a Deputy Circuit Clerk and Recorder at the courthouse in Carthage. On October 26, 1957, she was united in marriage to Ambrose “Ammie” Wilkens at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Carthage. He preceded her in death on July 9, 1988. After Ammie’s passing, Mary became the keeper of the farm, where she continued to live and work for another twenty-five years.

A lifelong resident of Hancock County, Mary was heavily involved in her church and community throughout her entire life. She was a devoted member of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Nauvoo, the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Women’s Club, the Carthage American Legion Auxiliary, the VFW Auxiliary, and the Carthage Eagles Club Auxiliary. She was also a Benedictine Oblate with St. Mary’s Monastery in Rock Island, Illinois, and a Eucharistic minister to the homebound.  In 1995, she was named the Peoria Diocese Woman of the Year. Mary volunteered at the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Nauvoo for forty years, working as a teacher’s aide and tutoring young minds. She was a fiercely independent lady who always had a heart and time for others. Mary was an avid bowler, having bowled in Thursday night leagues for over sixty years.  In 1958 she became the first Hit & Miss Bowling League President.  In her spare time, Mary loved playing Pitch with her card club, gardening, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, and visiting with friends and neighbors.     

Mary is survived by her son Dan (Brenda) Wilkens of Winfield, Illinois; her grandson Austin Wilkens of Arlington Heights, Illinois; her granddaughter Madison Wilkens of Winfield, Illinois; three sisters-in-law: Ruth Burling, Mary Amman and Ann Wilkens; and her special niece Theresa (Dean) Schaer of Macomb and their children: Matthew, Caitlin and Kirsten. Other survivors include many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Mary is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Ammie, her twin sister Martha Smith, her sisters Peg Gordon and Kay Kelley, her brothers Jim and Ron Burling, and her half-sister Mildred Purpus.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday, June 9, 2018, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Carthage, with celebrant Monsignor Paul E. Showalter, and con-celebrants Father Tony Trosley and Father Thomas Szydlik. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Carthage. A Christian Vigil Service will be held at 4 pm on Friday, June 8, 2018, at Printy Funeral Home in Carthage, with visitation directly following until 7:30 pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church or Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School. 

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