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.
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.
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