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Mary Lou Gilson

July 17, 1939 ~ July 18, 2020 (age 81)


As softly and quietly as the hummingbirds she so loved to watch and nurture, our beloved mother and Grandmother Mary Lou Gilson left this earth in the early morning of July 18th, 2020, a few short hours after her 81st birthday. She was the best mom and grandma anyone could ask for, always knowing how to soften life’s blows with her direct, yet kind words and unique sense of humor. She loved her grandchildren dearly, making each one feel special and oh so loved. While physically able, she never missed a moment, big or small, in their lives. All of her grandkids can testify that no one ever walked out of her house hungry, tired, or sick. It’s not all the time that people get to have a grandma, best friend, biggest fan, doctor, and babysitter all in one--but she was all that and more. Being around her was the closest we can get to knowing an angel on earth and in the same way she always, always welcomed us into her home with open arms, we have no doubt God sang, “Hallelujah you are home”, when she left us here. 

She had a special gift of working with the less fortunate and challenged and was blessed to do so for twenty-five years working in the recreation department at the Jasper County Care Facility. She dearly loved this job, her coworkers, and most importantly, the residents making sure they were always as comfortable, included, and cared for as possible. 

She was the most selfless, nurturing person ever, always caring about others and never herself, consistently looking out for the less fortunate. She willingly helped in whatever capacity she possibly could, including taking in injured or sick animals and nursing them back to health, giving a stray animal a home, or finding it a home. If you looked like you might need it, she would literally give you the shirt off her back (and may have done this a time or two). 

She was born on July 17,1939, in Vandalia, Iowa, to Melvin and Wynona Blood and graduated from Runnells High School in 1957. She was united in marriage to Frank Gilson on August 11,1962 and embraced his career as a teacher/football coach, never missing a game and always baking brownies for team meetings. She was a wonderful and devoted wife and mom. 

Mary Lou was a member of the First United Methodist Church. Besides attending her grandchildren’s activities her hobbies included crafting, especially ceramics, watching sports on TV, and planning holiday parties for her family. 

Her family would like to thank the Park Centre and WesleyLife Hospice staff for taking such special care of her. It was clear she was loved as well as cared for, and for that we will forever be grateful. 

She was loved and will be missed beyond measure by her children Stacey (Jeff) Wilson, Shannon (Ed) Banfield, Shawn Gilson, and her grandchildren Kassy (Travis) Wilson Shanks, Kole Wilson, Joseph Banfield, Jordan Banfield, Ela Gilson, Mya Gilson, Dalton Shanks, Klaire Shanks, and her sisters and brother-in-law Louise (Billie) Beattie and Velda Kinney, as well as her many nieces, nephews, and treasured friends.

Those welcoming her home include her husband, parents, sister Melva Rose, and many dear relatives and friends. 

Instead of flowers, please do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for someone less fortunate in her name. She would love this!

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital as she loved children and felt they should never have to suffer. Per Mary Lou's wishes, a private gravedside service will be held.


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