Wilma E. Bauer - 73

4/7/1944 - 9/28/2017

Stillman Valley, IL

Wilma Elizabeth Gossett was born in Monmouth, Illinois on April 7, 1944. Growing up, she developed a love for roller skating and would go skating every chance she could at the Freedom Roller Rink in Monmouth. After moving from Monmouth, Wilma attended West Jr. High School and Auburn High School in Rockford, Illinois, where she graduated in 1961. During these years, she loved hanging out in Rochelle, Illinois and it was there where she met, and fell head-over-heels for, Gene Bauer. She had run away from home one day, and Gene found her. He held her hand that day and every day after for over 55 years. Wilma and Gene were married on October 20, 1962 at the Rock Church in Rockford, Illinois. Wilma attended beauty school and cut and styled hair for many years. She loved making peoples’ hair beautiful – a passion that was passed on to her granddaughter. Wilma also loved singing, playing the piano, and playing the organ. She would sing and play any chance she got – both at home and at church every Sunday and was also a choir director at church for many years. On many Sunday afternoons after church and on holidays, she would come home and play her accordion for her family. Her greatest joys were her three beautiful children. She was always involved with everything for her children – in school, in church, and in life – and was an influence in everything they did. She was always so proud of them and bragged about them to everyone she met. She always said that her greatest accomplishment was her children and trying to be the best mother she could be to them. She even sold her beloved piano, without telling anyone, just so she could have money to give her son to buy his first car. There were many, many other times she gave up things so she could do for her children – all because she would do anything to make sure they were happy. Wilma always looked forward to the many family trips that she, Gene and the kids would take. Traveling to Wisconsin Dells was one of her favorites. She loved collecting Native American memorabilia - and she would always find plenty of it at The Dells. She was very proud of her Pawnee Indian heritage and wanted to display in through her memorabilia collection. As a family, she also started roller skating again. Her and Gene would take the kids to the Ing Skating Rink and spend hours skating with them. She also loved cooking and baking – especially for her family. Some of her children’s favorites were her delicious egg salad sandwiches, cheeseburgers, open-faced sandwiches, and salmon patties. She was also known to make her famous roast, potatoes, and carrots in her pressure cooker. As she got older and her children moved away, she began playing Bingo with all her friends at Legion Hall in Rockford, Illinois. She loved playing Bingo and hanging out with all her friends there every week. When she became a Grandma, she absolutely loved it. She loved spending time with each one of her five grandchildren – but she especially loved spoiling them. Whether it was cooking, buying things or taking them places, her world revolved around those grandkids. She was especially proud when her granddaughter recently graduated from Cosmetology School – following in her footsteps. Wilma always loved her career as a beautician and now her granddaughter was doing the same thing. Some of Wilma’s favorites were the color blue, butterflies, roses, and Disney characters. Many times when you would see her, she would have some shirt on with Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Tinkerbell, or any other funny character. It would always make people smile. She also loved shopping and buying things for everyone else – especially at Christmas. Many years, you could not even see the Christmas tree because of all the presents piled around it.
August of 2016, Wilma attended her last family reunion with her husband, Gene. She attended these family reunions for over 30 years and loved each and every one of her family and extended family so much. She also just loved people in general and was so outgoing and outspoken. She would make friends with strangers wherever she went and act like she had known them for years. Wilma would make people laugh all the time and when she wanted, she could demand attention of a room of people and she would get it. She had a great and crazy sense of humor – and one of her famous pranks was giving her husband three boiled eggs – but only really boiling two of them….Wilma was a beautiful woman both inside and out and has left this earth too early – leaving emptiness in many lives and a longing for her beautiful, contagious laugh and her soft loving touch. She is loved by many and will be dearly missed by them all. Whenever you see a butterfly, please think of her. And if you ever hear the song, My Way, by Elvis Presley, know that it was how Wilma lived her life – she lived it her way. She was predeceased by her parents, daughter Penny Graybeal, Brother Paul, and Sister Dixie. She is survived by her husband of 54 years Gene, son Roger Bauer of Stillman Valley, Paula Lofgren of California, Sister Leona Gibb of Smithshire, IL, 5 grandchidlren Donna Smartt, Jeremiah Graybeal, Maranda Graybeal, Ryan Bauer and Danae Bauer, 2 great grandchildren Trinity Smartt and Adriana Finney. A Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers a memorial fund is established in her name and can be directed to her husband Gene at 6220 Condon Road, Stillman Valley, IL. Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home in Stillman Valley assisted the family.


No visitation

Celebration of Life:

A Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date.

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