PEORIA - Mary Emily Baggott, age 96, of Peoria, formerly of Mount Vernon, Ill., passed away on Sunday, June 15, 2014, at Lutheran Hillside Village in Peoria, Ill.
Born March 16, 1918, in LaSalle, Ill., Mary was the older daughter of Edmund Joseph Burke, M.D., and Anna Christianson Burke.
Mary was preceded in death by husband, John Baggott; and sister, Barbara Burke Genster.
Mary is survived by three children, Joseph Baggott (Marilyn) of Birmingham, Ala., Ellen Naylor (Denis) of Wilmette, Ill., and Betsy Dubicki (David) of Peoria. She also is survived by seven grandchildren, Emily Naylor Gary (Warren), Katherine Baggott Rogers (Adam), Martha Dubicki Jackson (Trent), John Dubicki, Rebecca Baggott, Margaret Baggott and Madeleine Naylor; and three great-grandchildren, Jonathan Rogers and Nathan and Owen Gary.
Remarkable for her era, Mary graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a BA degree in English. She pledged the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority at U of I and was a 75-year-plus Theta member.
After college graduation, she worked with commodity brokers in Chicago and other businesses in southern Illinois, where she met her future husband, John Wayne Baggott (also a University of Illinois graduate with a degree in engineering). They were married just before the outbreak of World War II. Shortly thereafter, John was commissioned as a U.S. Navy officer and served in the South Pacific Theater and Mary worked on the homefront in Chicago. In their ensuing years together, Mary followed John's career within the paint/industrial coatings industry at Sherwin-Williams, American Marietta, Pittsburgh Plate and Glass (PPG), Dow Chemical and finally at Vanex Inc., a paint manufacturing company in Mount Vernon that John owned and operated until shortly before his death on Oct. 6, 1999.
Together, Mary and John lived in many places: Akron, Ohio; Chicago; Wheaton, Ill.; Pittsburgh; and Los Angeles; finally settling in Mount Vernon, where John grew Vanex into a successful business, which he sold in 1998. Vanex, serendipitously, is now a PPG subsidiary.
During her marriage, Mary devoted her time and energies to supporting John in his career, raising children (instilling a love of reading in them) and volunteering for many organizations (tutoring young children in reading was her favorite). She also pursued her passions for classic literature, politics, history and home decor. She decorated all of the family residences with great taste and style, including their last home, 1812 Richview Road in Mount Vernon, which is now known as Sidwell Friends B&B.
Mary was actively involved in the Presbyterian Church wherever she lived, including the First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon. She was a student of the Bible, in particular the Pauline Letters. She loved reading the American and European literary classics, especially Jane Austen, and collected an impressive library of more than 1,000 books.
For the past 12 years, Mary has lived at Lutheran Hillside Village in Peoria, close to her younger daughter, Betsy Dubicki, and made many dear friends there. The family is very grateful for the care and support Mary received from the Lutheran Hillside Village community.
A memorial service in Peoria will be at 2 p.m. today, June 20, at Lutheran Hillside Village, 5901 N. Galena Road, in the Waters of Life Chapel, with Pastor Paul Park presiding. A reception will immediately follow services. Arrangements by Davison-Fulton-Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home. A graveside/burial service in Mount Vernon, Ill., will be held at Oakwood Cemetery on Saturday, June 21, at 2 p.m. A reception will immediately follow at Sidwell Friends B&B, 1812 Richview Road, Mount Vernon. Additional arrangements by Hughey Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Lutheran Hillside Village Foundation, 5901 N. Galena Road, Peoria, IL 61614; or to a
Please view Mary's obituary online at www.WoolseyWilton.com.
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