M. Virgene Gilkerson
Virgene Gilkerson, 92, of Quincy, died at home in Quincy on Veterans Day, November 11, 2014. Born March 22, 1922, she was the daughter of George Elmer (Mike) Ward and Ruby Rankin Ward. She married William E. Gilkerson on December 21, 1946, in Camp Point, IL. Bill preceded her in death on October 14, 2000.
Virgene was a 1940 graduate of Maplewood High School in Camp Point and a 1943 graduate of the Blessing School of Nursing in Quincy. She was a nurse at Blessing Hospital for 30 years, and after retiring in 1984, she volunteered at the hospital in the tea room and at the front desk.
During World War II, she served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps in New Guinea in the South Pacific from 1943 to 1945. She was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon and the WWII Victory Medal. She was a member of the seventh Great River Honor Flight to Washington, DC, in 2011, and enjoyed meeting veterans returning from other Honor Flights. She participated in the Illinois Veterans History Project.
Virgene was a charter member of Christ Lutheran Church and was very active in the church. She was an American Red Cross volunteer for 71 years in blood services and disaster services, and also volunteered for the Arthritis Foundation, the Girl Scouts, and the Cub Scouts.
She was the American Red Cross Prairie State (Illinois) Nurse of the Year in 1999, the Adams County Chapter of the American Red Cross Nurse of the Year in 2002 and 2010, and the Blessing Nurses Alumni organizations Nurse of the Year in 2001.
Virgene is survived by her son Paul Gilkerson and daughter-in-law Joan; her daughter Ellen Gilkerson and son-in-law Leslie Lamport; nieces Sandra Jackson of Metamora, Cynthia Stepp of Mascoutah, Pamela Downey of Colchester, and Brenda Rampley and Linda Hultz of Quincy; and great- and great-great nieces and nephews.
Her family thanks members of Christ Lutheran Church, the Red Cross, and her many friends who called, visited, sent cards, and prayed for Virgene.
In addition to her husband, Virgene was preceded in death by her parents and a brother in infancy, John William Ward.
Funeral services will be held Friday morning at 10:00 at Christ Lutheran Church with Rev. Gayle M. Pope officiating. Burial will be in Greenmount Cemetery with Military Honors by Quincy American Legion Post No. 37 and the Illinois National Guard Funeral Detail.
Visitation will be Thursday evening from 4:00 to 7:00 at Zehender Robinson Stormer Cookson Funeral Home and Friday morning from 9:00 until the time of services at Christ Lutheran Church.
Memorials may be made to Christ Lutheran Church, the Adams County Chapter of the American Red Cross, or to the Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing.