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Mary Ellen Whitmore

November 26, 1930 ~ March 28, 2018 (age 87)

Mary Ellen Whitmore

Age 87 of Wilmington and Largo, Florida, passed away peacefully Wednesday morning, March 28, 2018 at the Joliet Area Community Hospice Home.

Born November 26, 1930 in Belleville, Illinois, Mary Ellen was a daughter of Gordon and Mary (Morrisette) Ripley. She was raised and educated in Jerseyville, Illinois, where she graduated high school. Mary Ellen then went on to attend Monmouth College and earned her Bachelor’s degree from Millikin University, where she was active on both campuses in the Pi Beta Phi Sorority. On October 31, 1953, Mary Ellen married William H. Whitmore, III in Jerseyville, and together they initially made their home in Quantico, Virginia where William was stationed in the service.  Soon thereafter, Mary Ellen settling back in Bill’s hometown of Wilmington, where she worked in the Wilmington School district as a substitute teacher. Most of her life Mary Ellen and Bill owned and operated Whitmore Hardware, which carried on the third generation of the family business, which was established by Bills grandfather in 1896. Mary Ellen was especially proud of the family business which today continues into the fifth generation with her grandsons, and encompasses six locations.

Mary Ellen was a member of Anona United Methodist Church in Largo, Florida and a former member of the First United Methodist Church in Wilmington. She also belonged to the Chapter G.K. P.E.O Sisterhood.

A woman of vast talents, Mary Ellen played the piano and drums, loved to knit, and took pleasure in oil painting. She was fortunate to spend many memorable vacations with family on the beach in North Carolina, and cherished friendships in Florida, especially over countless games of bridge. She will be remembered for her outgoing social personality, and the one who tended to be the life of the party, always with quick wit. Mary Ellen treasured her family and though life will never be the same without her, she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.

Mary Ellen is survived by her children: Mary (Mike) Cripe of Wilmington, Illinois and William Whitmore, IV of Grawn, Michigan; four grandchildren: Michael (Cory) Cripe and David (Kimberly) Cripe, both of Frankfort and Nicholas Whitmore and Helena Whitmore, both of Shorewood; five great grandchildren: Claire, William, Owen, Sylvia and Colin, and one brother, Robert (Carol) Ripley of Belleville, Illinois, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her parents; husband William Whitmore, III and one brother, Gordon M. (Nell) Ripley.

The family will receive friends for a visitation on Saturday, March 31, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. until time of funeral service 12:00 p.m. at Baskerville Funeral Home, 700 East Kahler Road in Wilmington. Reverend Harriette Cross from the First United Methodist Church in Wilmington will officiate.

Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Wilmington, where Mary Ellen will be laid to rest with her late husband.

Pallbearers will be: William Whitmore, IV, Mike Cripe, Michael Cripe, David Cripe, Nicholas Whitmore and Helena Whitmore.

Preferred memorials may be made as gifts in Mary Ellen’s memory to the Wilmington School District Foundation for Excellence, 209 Wildcat Court, Wilmington, Illinois 60481.

Family and friends may sign the guest book, upload photographs or share Mary Ellen’s memorial page online by logging onto:

Funeral services and arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Baskerville Funeral Home in Wilmington. (815-476-2181)

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