Judith A. Plese passed away at her home early on the morning of January 12, 2021.
Born in Kankakee on August 13, 1938 to James and Ellen Benson, Judy lived first in Ashkum before moving to Wilmington in the mid 1940's. Possessing a sharp mind and an unfailing memory, Judy was a natural student who attended the Brookside School, St. Rose School and Booth Central before graduating in 1956 from Wilmington High School. Judy then went on to attend the University of Illinois for one year before beginning work at the Joliet Arsenal as a secretary.
On New Year's Eve 1957, fate stepped in and Judy attended a party where she would meet her future husband, Dean E. Plese. That evening, Judy and Dean began a love affair lasting more than 60 years. They married in Wilmington on September 5, 1959. They raised their family first in Wilmington and later in Upstate New York when Dean's job moved the family there in 1984.
During their long and successful marriage, Dean was the breadwinner while Judy ran the house and primarily devoted herself to raising their six children. She was the ultimate supportive mother. Judy could almost always be found in the kitchen -- her "office" -- but she somehow always found the time to attend her children's school and sporting events -- and later her grandchildren's. She volunteered in support of St. Rose School, the parish as a whole and the Kuzma Care Cottage in addition to supporting almost anything involving her children's interests. She was never too busy for her family and she gave of herself unconditionally from the time she said "I do" on her wedding day.
When their children grew older, Judy began working in a series of administrative roles that included working for various legal offices, the U.S. Post Office as well as running the advertising department of a marketing firm in New York. Upon returning to Wilmington for good in 1999, Judy and Dean settled into a post-retirement life of lovingly restoring and then maintaining her family's home, traveling the U.S. and abroad, and most especially visiting her children and grandchildren all of whom she adored.
Judy was a woman of so many talents but she will be remembered most for her grace, abundance of kindness and the unwavering love and support she gave to her husband, her children and to her extended family and friends. Judy was a genuinely kind, nurturing, loving, patient soul -- she was truly an angel among us. Without her beautiful light, the world is truly a little darker and colder. Her family's consolation is that she is once again reunited with her husband and son, both of whom she deeply mourned.
Judy was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Dean E. Plese, in June 2020 and her son Anthony in October 2020. She is survived by her children: Dean (Stacy) of Wilmington, David (Angela) of Knoxville, TN, Martin (Maureen) of Wilmington, Maria of Vineyard Haven, MA and Eric (Christine) of Poughkeepsie, NY, her son-in-law, Gabriel Rodriguez, her brothers Joseph (the late Melanie), Jim (Sue), her beloved grandchildren, her in-laws, as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins all of whom she loved.
A public visitation will be held on Monday, January 18, 2021 at St. Rose Catholic Church in Wilmington at 9:00 a.m. followed by a private family Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. Those wishing to participate in the funeral service virtually, are welcome to join the live streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. A link for the event can be found on Judy’s memorial page.
Interment will be private at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood immediately following the funeral.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please tell your loved ones what they mean to you. Donations in Judy's memory may be made to Kuzma Care Cottage at 635 S. Main Street, Wilmington, IL 60481, an organization that Judy dearly loved and supported.
Funeral services and arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Baskerville Funeral Home in Wilmington (815) 476-2181.