Date of Birth
Date of Death
Kathleen “Kathy” C. Whildin, age 72 of Sugar Grove formerly of Elburn passed away with family at her side on Friday, January 27, 2017.
Kathy was born Monday, October 23, 1944 in Manhattan, KS to parents Robert and Svea (Johnson) Holbert and older brother Fred. The family moved to California where they resided for a few years until her Mom and Dad were divorced several years later. Svea, Fred, and Kathy moved to Elburn, IL to be close to Sveaâ€™s parents, Oscar and Ida Johnson, who settled there after emigrating from Sweden years before.
Since there was no money for a babysitter, Kathy went everywhere with her mother. Kathy became well known and well loved by everyone she knew. Svea earned her living as a hairdresser and she took many side jobs to make ends meet, including doing hair for those that had passed away. At home, Svea maintained a small hairdresser shop. When clients came to have their hair done, Kathy and Fred would entertain them with the Holbert and Holbert show. Kathy loved her older brother and was always willing to join him in the many shenanigans he planned and carried out.
She took her studies seriously and was always trying to compete with her brother. She attended Elburn Grade School and later graduated from Kaneland High School with the Class of 1962. While achieving good grades was important to Kathy, she was more interested in learning. She liked to understand everything there was to know about any subject that interested her. She had the natural ability to analyze and problem solve any situation.
Kathy learned the meaning of hard work and expressing her talents as she grew up. Starting at an early age she made money babysitting, strawberry picking, housecleaning and taking on many other jobs. She learned to be frugal and save money for her education. She also learned practical skills while in 4-H. Sewing, baking, arts and crafts became both hobby and necessity to get through hard times. She also designed and sewed her formal gowns for school dances and her wedding.
She developed a love of music by singing in the choir and playing in the band at the high school. Kathy was an exceptional singer and was selected to be a member of a prestigious summer program at Northwestern Illinois University in Evanston, IL. At age 16 she traveled alone by train to attend the program. While playing her cornet in the Kaneland Dance Band, she met Everett who played the saxophone. Little did the young couple know they would spend the rest of their lives together. Over Christmas break of Kathyâ€™s senior year, Everett asked for her hand in marriage.
After graduating from Kaneland, Kathy attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb for a semester before marrying the love of her life. Everett and Kathleen married June 29, 1963 in Geneva. After starting a family and working full time, she went back to school and graduated with honors from Waubonsee Community College with an associates degree in pre-education. She later graduated Cum Laude with a bachelorâ€™s degree in Mathematics from Northern Illinois University.
Kathy spent her entire career in the telecommunications field. She began as an operator for Illinois Bell. After acquiring her degree she became an engineer with AT&T. While there she wrote the 5ESS Translation Guide. Over time she became highly respected by colleagues and switch owners as the go-to translation expert on the 5ESS Switch. Before retiring in 2008 from Alcatel Lucent Technologies, she had three patents, numerous awards, and was recognized with both a Distinguished and a Consulting Member of Technical Staff designation.
Kathy became a resounding voice for reasonable, responsible school finance when she served on the Kaneland School Board from 1985-1993. One of her proudest moments as a mother and school board member was to officially hand her daughter Kimberly her diploma as she graduated with the class of 1986. After Kathyâ€™s tenure as an elected member she continued on an advisory committee.
Kathy had many favorite pastimes. She focused her brilliant mind on exploring her familyâ€™s genealogy. This passion took her and Everett all over the US and abroad where they would walk cemeteries, visit county historical societies and track down clues about their ancestors. Kathy was past president and an active volunteer at the Sugar Grove Historical Society for many years.
Kathy was an avid card player. She was a member of the same ladies Bridge group for 49 years. Kathy and Everett were also in a coupleâ€™s Bridge group called “Dirty Dozen.” They also enjoyed Euchre with friends a few times a month.
Kathy enjoyed sewing. She made clothes for herself and her children, drapes for the family home and reupholstered furniture. After retiring Kathy and her daughter Christina joined a quilting guild in Sugar Grove called “Common Threads.”
Kathy enjoyed planning and taking trips with her family and friends. Cruises were her favorite. To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, Everett and Kathy took their family on a Caribbean cruise. Out of all Kathyâ€™s passions and hobbies, her family was the most important part of her life.
She was preceded in death by her son Steven, who was killed a car accident, along with her father-in-law Everett S. Whildin in 1975. Also taken too soon, was her daughter, Michelle, who was stillborn in 1976. She leaves behind her loving husband; Everett Whildin, three children; Christina (Douglas) Foster, Kimberly (Michael) Nelson and Brian Whildin, one brother; Fred (Gloria) Holbert and four grandchildren; Kaitlyn, Robert, Ryan, and Eddie. Her determination, brilliance, generosity, love, and support will always be remembered.
A gathering of family and friends will be Thursday, February 2, 2017 from 10:00 am-12:00 pm at the Conley Funeral Home in Elburn. A memorial service will follow at noon, Thursday at the funeral home with Reverend CheonEui Oh of the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church officiating.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Kathleenâ€™s name. Checks may be made to the “St. Judeâ€™s Childrenâ€™s Research Hospital” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook page, or at www.conleycare.com
A memorial service will follow at noon, Thursday at the funeral home with Reverend CheonEui Oh of the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church officiating.
A gathering of family and friends will be Thursday, February 2, 2017 from 10:00am-Noon at the Conley Funeral Home in Elburn.