Cover photo for Shirley Lorraine Wilkowski's Obituary
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1928 Shirley 2014

Shirley Lorraine Wilkowski

September 22, 1928 — September 27, 2014

Shirley L. Wilkowski 92,passed away at her home on Saturday September 27, 2014. She was born on September 22, 1922 to Joseph and Anna (Polak) Jandus in Chicago, Illinois. She meet Casimir Wilkowski when she was 15 and he was her one and only true love. They were married on June 9, 1942 in Oklahoma and were happily married until his passing in 1994. After the war they bought their first home Brookfield, Illinois. Shirley learned to drive in the Brookfield Zoo parking lot. In ----they moved to Downers Grove where they lived until….In 1973 they purchased their home in Lake Holiday and were weekenders for 9 years. She worked for several companies in a secretarial position. The last company she worked for she was hired as a secretary to the president temporarily for 2 weeks. She stayed for 15 years. She was promoted to assistant office manager, office manager, assistant corporate secretary and then vice president. This company produced air and hydraulic cylinders for the machine tool industry. They build a beautiful plant in Bensenville that had an indoor swimming pool, a chapel, an indoor motel for the salesman when they came in for training and a huge auditorium. Public forums, dances, parties, and concerts were held there and Shirley assisted in all of these events including hosting Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey orchestras. One of her responsibilities was to set up representatives in Europe. On all of her correspondence with these companies she signed her name “Shirley Wilkowski” never realizing that Shirley is also a masculine name in Europe----so you can imagine the reception she received as a blond 38 year old woman walking into the office of an executive in a large engineering firm in Paris. So Casimir (Casey) to the rescue- he flew over to Paris and accompanied her on the rest of her calls in Switzerland, Belgium and England. During her business career Shirley would attend evening courses to further her education. She retired from this company in 1964, but was asked to work one day a week in a consulting capacity which she did for several years. In 1966she bought into a small sales consulting business which later became a direct marketing operation. The company rapidly grew, moving 6 times in 12 years until in 1979 they built an industrial building in Westmont Illinois close to her home in Downers Grove. Her company joined an international trade organization called Mail Advertising Service Association headquartered in Washington D.C. Shirley was soon elected president. She was installed in Toronto Canada. She was the first woman ever to be elected to this position. As president she met with the postmaster General of the United States, spoke at the National Home Improvements Congress Expo in Texas as well as traveled to many conventions in the US and Hawaii. She served in this position while running her company, helped take care of a handicapped brother and father and prided herself in the fact that her husband never went without a home cooked meal. She also found time to play….she bowled, golfed and did bow and arrow target shooting. In 1982 she sold the business and moved permanently to Lake Holiday. She soon got involved in activites here----became president of the Lake Holiday Garden Club, served on the board of Fox Valley Older Adults at the time they built this facility and on the auxiliary board of the hospital. She worked for years for both the hospital auxiliary and Fox Valley Older Adults at all the antique shows and fairs. For several years she ran the bingo games at the center. Shirley and Casey celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June of 1992, but he was in failing health and passed away on March 30 1994. She is survived by her nieces and nephews; Patricia ( Jerry ) Duncan, Cindy ( Curt ) Madsen, Brian ( Christine ) Wilkes, Cathy ( Tim ) Teegan , Mary Jo ( Tony ) Kryc, Doris Burdar, Susan ( Chuck ) Cooper, Carol ( Matt ) Pence and Joseph Garvey. Sister in law Dorothy Burdar. Very Special friens; Jan and Dick Cherry, Shirley and Ernie Basler and Irene Karp. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Casey, her brothers Norman, Russell and Earl (Skip). Visitation will be Wednesday Oct 1, 2014 from 4:00p.m.-8:00p.m. at the Beverage Family Funeral Home in Sandwich Illinois.. Funeral services will be Thursday October 2 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at St John’s Lutheran Church in Somonauk Illinois with Reverend William Weidenbach Jr will be officiating. Entombment will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday October 3, 2014 at Woodlawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donation may be made to FVOAS, St John’s Lutheran Church of any humane society. Arrangements were entrusted to Beverage Family Funeral Home Sandwich Illinois www.bevergefamilyfh.com
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