Mary Jean (Bullock) Wiltse - November 26, 2011
Mary Jean (Bullock )Wiltse was born on Oct. 20, 1929 at Madrid, Neb. She was the youngest of three daughters born to Ward and Ruby (Mann) Bullock. She grew up in Madrid where she graduated from Madrid High School in 1947.
Mary Jean worked for her parents in Bullock’s hardware and mercantile store working behind the counter and making change for the customers. Ward left a powerful impression on Mary Jean with the number of debts he wrote off during the depression years.
After high school, Mary Jean attended Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Neb. where she met her husband Bill Wiltse. They were married on Nov. 22, 1951 in Madrid. Three daughters and one son were born to this union.
While Bill attended medical school, Mary Jean taught high school in Plattsmouth, Neb. and also worked as a cytology tech at the University Medical School in Omaha. They eventually ended up in Cottage Grove, Ore. where Bill established his medical practice.
Mary Jean’s primary purpose in her life was to raise her children in a loving home. She supported her children in their activities, especially when they all became active with the swim team in Cottage Grove. She became a knowledgeable sports fan. She had a special interest in baseball, always remembering her Dad’s love of the game. Bill and Mary Jean also had a Christmas tree farm near Cottage Grove where it is estimated that Mary Jean planted over 100,000 seedlings.
Mary Jean was always active in her church. She belonged to the First Presbyterian Church in Cottage Grove and later the First Congregational Church in Bellevue, Wash. Mary supported the Sanctuary program providing a safe refuge for a family from El Salvador.
She was a strong advocate for peace and along with her daughter, Lyn, attended a conference for global healing in Bali in 2003.
She not only loved and supported her children and grandchildren, she had a concern for all children. They hosted exchange students from Korea, Sweden, and Brazil.
In Cottage Grove, Bill and Mary Jean opened their home to an older homeless man that lived under the bridge. From the thought of initially restoring his health and well being, “Mr. Adkins” lived with the family for seven years. She modeled a life of selfless devotion to God and others.
She was socially aware and was the president of a recycling organization in the mid 1970s. She visited nursing homes, volunteered at Eastside Literacy Program in Bellevue, and as an older woman she marched for peace with her church. She was a member of the P.E.O.
In the 1980s she provided administrative support for Bill’s medical practice and for her daughter Lyn’s consulting business from 2000-2007.
She had begun to fail in health in 2007 and was eventually moved to the Peace of Mind Adult Family Home in Bellevue where she died, Saturday morning, Nov. 26, 2011. She had reached the age of 82.
She planted many seeds of loving kindness throughout her life and they continue to grow and make the world a better place.
In addition to her parents, Mary Jean was preceded in death by her sister, Audrey and her husband Walter VanSkiver.
She is survived by those she dearly loved: three daughters, Jan Wiltse Karst of Lincoln, Shari and husband Mike Workman of Puyallup, Wash., Lyn Wiltse of Kirkland, Wash.; one son, Robert and wife Tracey Wiltse of Long Beach, Calif.; four grandchildren, Melissa, Luke, Will, and Nate; three great-grandchildren, Soren, Sascha, and August; her former husband, Bill, who lives in Eugene, Ore.; her sister, Joyce Long of Grant, Neb. and her nephews and nieces from the Bullock side for whom she had great love and affection.
Committal of cremains will occur at a later date next spring in the Madrid Cemetery.
A memorial has been established to the Hopelink Eastside Literacy Program through Lyn Wiltse at 10705 NE 42nd Place, Kirkland, WA 98033