Lillie Mae Hussong
Lillie [Tillie] Mae [nee Wheeler] Hussong, 90, passed away Monday, June 2, 2014. Tillie was born in McLeansboro, Illinois, on January 13, 1924, to Charles Henry & Mary Elizabeth Bond Wheeler. She is survived by Dale, her loving husband of almost 68 years, as well as four daughters: Linda (Don) Post of Florissant MO; Sue (Ross) Maxwell of Estes Park CO; Terrie (Patrick) Maxwell of Lusby MD; & Jan Carton of Wright City MO. She had 11 grandchildren (Linda’s – Mario, Robin, & Brian; Sue’s – Ross Roy, Peter, & Nancy Jo; Terrie’s – Aaron, Ruth, & Melanie; & Jan’s – Jamie & Jason) as well as 14 greatgrandchildren (Olivia & Lucas; Cameron, Graham, & Audrey; David & Elliot; Jillian & Grant; Ethan; Tyler, Ashton, Bentley, & Molly-Grace; & two more on the way).
Tillie & Dale met April 5, 1946, on a blind date to see the Ted Weems Band at the Mt. Vernon Armory shortly after he returned from World War II. They were married June 23, 1946.
She was preceded in death by her parents & two sisters, Martha & Ruby.
To this day, Dale still brags about her being double-promoted in school and, after graduating from high school, she became a beautician. Since she and Dale had four daughters, you can be sure her girls’ hair was always beautifully styled and some of our favorite photographs were taken from the back. She did her part to make Toni Home Perms a financial success until, as teenagers, we cried ‘Uncle’!! At Easter, she made us the prettiest dresses so three of us actually looked forward to hand-me-downs. She became a very fast typist, a skill she often used for her daughters’ school reports until they learned to type themselves. After the girls were old enough, she began an enthusiastic career selling Avon and, later, Shaklee products.
Tillie loved BBQ hamburgers, popcorn (including jelly belly flavored!), turtle clusters, chocolate, and garage sales but, most of all, her grandchildren. They loved to play on the floor together and she often kept one or more of them at the home she and Dale built themselves in Woodlawn IL.
Ross Roy especially remembers eating icee cups and riding big wheels when he visited as a little boy. She always made him feel special when he shared accomplishments with her and loved how her face would light up, whether he went out first in Rummikub or was showing her his Halloween costume. He credits his love of math to her game of calculating how far it was from home by figuring the exit numbers and mile markers. Peter and Nancy Jo laughingly remember having orange juice and instant protein in their oatmeal and swore off health food at a very young age.
She loved to sing, especially Christmas songs. A very special memory is being sung to sleep as little girls. Robin cherishes a tape recording of her and Gramma Tillie singing the ABC song together. She always had a wonderful sense of humor and got funnier as she got older. Mario soon realized that, even after moving to a nursing home, if Gramma Tillie said something funny, she was having a good day. And who doesn’t remember her ‘bye-bye’ fading away into the phone because she was already hanging up.
Aaron remembers her careful instruction in the proper way of challenging Grandpa to an exciting game of pool, Ruth’s adventurous nature was surely influenced by their long walks to the mailbox, and who can forget the thrill of the backyard roller coaster?
It will be hard not seeing her smiling face now, but remembering all of the wonderful times we had together will make life without her a little easier.
Visitation and burial were at Valhalla Funeral Chapel & Cemetery in St. Louis MO on June 5.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.