Arlene E. “Tootie” Winbigler, 97, of Little York, Illinois, passed away at 8:30 a.m., Monday, June 3, 2019, at her home, where she had been attended to by family and caregivers for over a year.
Born on November 22, 1921, in Oneida, Illinois, Arlene, better known as “Tootie” since childhood, was the daughter of William and Ella (Murray) Shea, and was the fifth of their ten children. She was raised in rural Rio and Henderson, Illinois, where she attended Rowe Country School. She also attended Wataga High School and graduated in 1939 from St. Joseph’s Academy in Galesburg, Illinois. In her youth, she earned her room and board as a private domestic and worked as an aide at St. Mary’s Hospital, also in Galesburg. Following her graduation, and during World War II, she was employed at the Goodyear Plant near Phoenix, Arizona. After the war, she was employed for many years at Gale Products in Galesburg, while living at her parents’ home on Maple Avenue.
On February 4, 1956, she married Roy M. Winbigler at Corpus Christi Catholic Parish, in Galesburg, Illinois. He preceded her in death on June 9, 1995. From the time of her marriage, she resided on the Roy Winbigler farm east of Little York, Illinois, where she and her husband, “Windy,” became ever-present in the daily lives of five nieces and nephews living across the road, Michael, Mark, Marian, Malia and Matthew Lee. Family and many friends were always welcome in her Little York home, and in particular, a large number of nieces and nephews from greater distances enjoyed long visits with “Tootie” and “Windy” at their farm. She and her husband also enjoyed traveling, and many young passengers were invited to accompany them on their road trips. Tootie’s family and her Catholic faith were her guiding principles, exemplified by her devoted prayer life, her hospitality, and most especially, her generosity.
Tootie was a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Monmouth, Illinois, where she served as a promoter for its Altar and Rosary Society. She formed many lifelong friendships through her involvement at church, her early years of work at Gale Products, and her active participation in bowling leagues, card clubs, and ballroom dancing. Even in her declining years of health when she was confined to her home, Tootie displayed humor, acceptance and a gracious spirit. She never failed to be appreciative of her family’s care, correspondence and visits, and of her caregivers’ daily attention.
Tootie is survived by fifteen nephews and fifteen nieces, by one cousin Alice Stablein of Haddonfield, New Jersey, and by numerous grandnieces, grandnephews and their children and grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; five sisters, Beatrice Samuelson, Duane Brandenberg, Kathryn Lee, Roselyn Behringer, and Helen Pendergast; by four brothers, William Shea, Patrick Shea, James Shea, and Richard Shea; by one niece; and by several aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, June 8, 2019 at Immaculate Conception Church, Monmouth. Interment will be in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. A Rosary service will be at 5:00 p.m., Friday, June 7, 2019 with visitation to follow till 7:00 p.m. at McGuire & Davies Funeral Home and Crematory, Monmouth. Memorials can be made to Immaculate Conception Church or OSF Hospice.