Mary Sue Gilkeson died peacefully at her home on Sunday, April 14, 2013. She was born in Topeka, KS, on August 19, 1914, to Susan Bingham and Ralph K. Ball. She attended Topeka schools and graduated from Washburn University in Topeka in 1936 with a B.A. degree. Sue married her college sweetheart, Washburn law graduate Leo Mulloy, in 1939, and the couple moved to Wichita, KS where Mr. Mulloy was an attorney at the Federal Land Bank. He later served as public relations director for Boeing during WWII, led the successful campaign for legalized liquor in Kansas in 1947, and practiced law until he died in 1960. Sue married Hunter B. Gilkeson, owner of Lusco Brick & Stone, in 1968, and they were happily together for thirty years until his death at age 89 in 1998. She moved to Lawrence following her 90th birthday to live with her daughter.
Sue is survived by three sons: John Mulloy and his wife Sandi, Huntington Beach, CA; Bruce Gilkeson and wife Cecilia, Wichita, KS, and Jim Gilkeson and his partner, Diane Tegtmeier, Middletown, CA; and three daughters, Molly Mulloy, Lawrence KS; Marty Moulthrop and husband Jim, Austin, TX, and Maggi Jones and husband Leon, Dallas, TX. Her ten grandchildren are Michael Kelly Moore (Michelle), of Carlsbad, CA; Daniel Casey Moore, Overland Park, KS; Susan Oxandale Turrentine (Michael), Basehor, KS; David Oxandale (Liz), Denver, CO; Meg Moulthrop O’Reilly (Sam), Whittier, CA; Molly Moulthrop Lombardi (Andy), Austin, TX; Jamie Moulthrop (Kathy), Newark, Delaware; Emma Gilkeson Bureau (Jean), Paris, France; Alex Gilkeson, Lawrence, KS, and Sofia Gilkeson, Wichita. Her great-grandchildren are Stephen Moore, Ethan Moore, London Oxandale, Evan Moulthrop, Grace Moulthrop, Quinn O’Reilly, and Leo Bureau. Sue’s grandson Danny Mulloy preceded her in death in 2011.
In 1958 Sue entered the real estate business, selling properties for Chester-Kappelman-Gaudreau in Wichita for ten years while investing privately in real estate. She was honored as the Wichita Realtor of the Year in 1967. Sue spent much of her time in volunteer, board, and philanthropic activities during her 65 years in Wichita, including the Wichita Junior League, the Wichita Historical Museum, Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Institute of Logopedics, Botanica, and the Arthritis Foundation. She was honored to receive the Martin F. Palmer Humanitarian Award from the Institute of Logopedics, the Sustainer of the Year Award from the Wichita Junior League, and the Theta of the Year Award from Kappa Alpha Theta, among others. She was particularly proud of her membership on the 1976 Kansas Bicentennial Commission, which brought the bicentennial “Freedom Train” to Wichita, and on the Wichita Festival Committee, where she spearheaded Blackbear Bosin’s “Keeper of the Plains” sculpture on the Arkansas River. She was a long-time member of University Congregational Church in Wichita before moving to Lawrence
Sue’s sense of humor was contagious, and she loved to tell a good story or joke. She had an outgoing and optimistic personality and lived life to the fullest. She enjoyed being in poker, bridge, book, gardening, dinner, and investment clubs with dear friends for more than sixty years in Wichita. Playing the piano by ear was one of her greatest pleasures, and she had the rare ability to hear a song once and then play it in any key or style. As someone once said, “If there wasn’t a party going when she arrived, there was by the time she left.” Sue relished travel throughout her life and had many adventurous trips with Hunter, their children and grandchildren, friends, and her beloved 20/20 Investment Club group.
Sue always joked that as the “world’s first unspoiled only child” she loved being surrounded by family and friends. At her 95th birthday party when KU’s “Baby Jayhawk” carried in the cake, she told the assembled crowd, “I just want you to know something….. I’ve had a wonderful life and I have nothing but happy thoughts.” Her family and friends will long remember her wonderful sense of humor, joie de vivre, kindness, and generosity.
There will be a graveside service at Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka, KS at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 17, 2013. A party in Sue’s memory for family and friends will be at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 17th at her daughter Molly Mulloy’s at 1900 Crossgate, Lawrence.
The family suggests memorials to the KU Audio-Reader Network or to the Wichita Historical Museum sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.
Bruce, Cecilia and family,
Please know you are in our prayers at this time.
Dear Molly & Family,
What a grand lady: Sue. Molly, you were so good to be caregiver for your mother and to arrange for help when it was more than one person could do. Bless you. Hope to see you on Wednesday.
My memories of Sue and her family are among my most cherished
Maggi, Leon and Gilkeson family, Our thoughts & prayers are with you during this time.
I enjoyed waiting on Mrs. Gilkeson for many years at Wichita Country Club. She was so easy to serve and always had great stories to tell. I, too, was a Washburn Ichabod and had a fondness for Thetas. I am saddened by her passing and will sorely miss her. To the family, know that I’ll be thinking good thoughts of her. Mike Barton
all my love to family,sorry to miss the party for sue…wonderful memories..celebrate every day,she deserves it…what a gal !!!!
It’s raining this morning- possibly tears for the loss of a Beautiful Soul ! Our thoughts and prayers are with you today and we will be thinking of Sue and all the lives she touched. We were blessed to have her in our lives and as a dear friend to our parents for so many years.
Sue was such a wonderful neighbor. We were the first two and she welcomed me with open arms. This was before mail, newspaper, & even a paved street! She originated our first Christmas party and we are still carrying on that tradition and always think of her rendition of “We Three Kings!” May God rest her in peace. Love to the family, Mary Ann for Bradford Homeowners
So many fun memories of Sue!
She was a best friend to all ages.Our families adored her!
Wish we could have been with you all today. You have our heartfelt sympathy and love!
Oh, the memories! She always made me feel so special from my early childhood to the last time I saw her. She always made me laugh. Our family loved her, especially Dad. They could tell the best stories. She was a wonderful person.
It was such a joy to have Sue and Hunter in the neighborhood for several years. I remember sitting on the front. door steps many a time and enjoying their company. I still miss all of you.
Sue was my DEN mother in cub scouts and the memories of cub meetings in the Mulloy’s basment on the edge of College Hill park was as if it were yesterday. When Sue met Hunter and became a part of the Gilkeson clan that was the icing on the cake as Bruce has been my longest and closet childhood friend and I know Sue brought much happiness to them.
My sincerest sympathy goes out to the friends and family of Sue. It is such a difficult time to deal with. I didn’t know her personally but, having lost someone dear to me, I can empathize with the pain you have and continue to experience. What comfort such scriptures as John 5:28,29 brought me! You will read there about the promise Jesus gave of resurrecting our loved ones back to life. When he resurrected His friend Lazarus back to life, He showed his ability and desire to fulfill that promise. ( John 11:38-44 ) Can you just imagine the joy Lazarus’ sisters felt when they held him in thier arms once again? This joy we too will feel in the very near future. Until that day comes, we have the promise that God will draw close to those whose hearts have been broken ( Psalms 34:18 ) I truly hope these few scriptures have helped lessen the pain you feel as they had mine.