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Rosalie Helen Pilkington

March 16, 1925 ~ July 16, 2019 (age 94)

Rosalie Helen Pilkington, 94, of Hamilton, passed away on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at her home in Hamilton.

Rosalie was born on March 16, 1925, in Keokuk, Iowa, the daughter of Ross Donald and Teresa Mamie (Johnson) Lancaster. On February 24, 1946, she was united in marriage to Lieutenant Commander George Steffen Thoroughman in Keokuk, Iowa. He preceded her in death in 1965. On June 16, 1967, she was united in marriage to Ivan L. Pilkington in Keokuk. He preceded her in death in 2005. Rosalie was a lifelong member of the St. John’s Episcopal Church and served on the Altar Guild there. She was a King’s Daughter and a past member of the Graham Guild, Keokuk Area Hospital Auxiliary, Keokuk Country Club, and the Keokuk Yacht Club.   

Rosalie’s grandparents were farmers in Memphis, Missouri, and her parents met while attending school there. They married and moved to Keokuk where her father was a barber. During her elementary school years, Rosalie traveled to Goodland, Kansas, nicknamed “The Golden Buckle on the Wheat Belt”, to visit her Aunt Carrie, Uncle Ray, Mary Mildred and Ray, Jr. She graduated from Keokuk Senior High School in the class of 1943 and went to work at Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in Keokuk. Summer was her favorite time of year and weekends were spent swimming in the Mississippi River at Chute’s Beach in Hamilton. A friend introduced her to Lieutenant Commander George Steffen Thoroughman and they were married on February 24, 1946. She became a full-time housekeeper while George worked at the Hubinger Company as a Purchasing Agent until he died in 1965. During the Korean War, George returned to service for two years. During that time, they lived in Green Cove Springs, Florida, home of six hundred Navy ships.

After George died, Rosalie worked at the Security State Bank in Keokuk. She was introduced to Ivan Pilkington and they later married on June 16, 1967. She moved to Ivan’s farm in Nauvoo, Illinois, until 1969, when they moved to Hamilton, where Rosalie resided until she died. She enjoyed her home and especially her sunporch! She also enjoyed going to the VFW and the Keokuk Yacht Club with her husband and friends, where they danced to the Howard Sanders Band.

Rosalie is survived by two daughters: Sandra (Mark) Finley of West Burlington, Iowa; and Pamela (Richard) Beaird of Keokuk, Iowa; her step-daughter Connie (Dr. Angel) Martin of Fort Mill, South Carolina; five grandchildren: Jeff (Tina) Finley of Ventura, Iowa; Teresa (Mark) Seyfert of Lewisville, Texas; Ivy (Justin) Tuck of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Nathan (Tammy) Beaird of Lake St. Louis, Missouri; and Natalie (Brian) Hogg of Wentzville, Missouri;  ten great-grandchildren: Todd Finley and Megan Finley of Ventura, Iowa; Lila Seyfert and Cora Seyfert of Lewisville, Texas; Isabella Tuck and Carter Tuck of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Sylas McNaughton and Arlo Arthur Beaird of Lake St. Louis, Missouri; and Oliver Hogg and Penelope Hogg of Wentzville, Missouri; three step-grandchildren; seven great-step-grandchildren; and her step-daughter-in-law Dee Pilkington of The Villages, Florida. Other survivors include several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Rosalie is preceded in death by her parents, her husbands George and Ivan, her step-son Curt Pilkington and her brother Basil Leo Lancaster.

To quote her favorite movie, “Lost Horizon”, 1937, “In these days of wars and rumors of wars-haven’t you ever dreamed of a place where there was peace and security, where living was not a struggle but a lasting delight?” Of course you have. So has every man since time began. Always the same dream…

Rosalie’s life will be celebrated with a Funeral Mass at 11 am on Saturday, July 20, 2019, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Keokuk, with Father Larry Snyder officiating. Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Park in Keokuk. Visitation will be held on Saturday at the church from 9:30 to 11 am, with family meeting friends from 10 to 11 am.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Keokuk or Hoerner YMCA in Keokuk.

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