Mary Johanna “Joann” Bilse, age 92, passed away peacefully on April 16, 2021 at Residences at Deer Creek Senior Living Facility in Schererville, IN due to complications of Alzheimer’s Disease.
She was born on July 31, 1928 in Menomonie, WI, the daughter of John, Sr. and Frances Lammer. Mary was a 1946 graduate of Menomonie High School and was employed at her family’s grocery store (Lammer’s) where she was integral to the success of the family’s business. Following high school, Mary attended Stout Institute and majored in Home Economics. She married her husband, Elwood “Woody” Bilse on August 16, 1954. They moved to Fond du Lac, WI in 1956 and spent 61 years there, creating a home and nurturing a family together. In September 2017, they moved to the Munster/Schererville area of Indiana. Mary was a caring wife, devoted mother, and wonderful grandmother.
The foundation of her life was built on her strong religious faith. Her passions were baking, knitting and sewing, as she often created homemade and handmade treats and treasures for both family and friends. Her other interests included bowling, golfing, camping, dancing, fishing, gardening and playing card games. But above all, she loved traveling to visit and spend precious time with her children, their spouses and her grandchildren. Our family will dearly miss Mom’s quick sense of humor, friendly personality and her loving and generous affection for each one of us.
Mary is survived by her devoted husband of 66 years, Woody of Munster, IN; her three children: Barbara (Andy) Omark of Palatine, IL, Thomas Bilse of The Colony, TX, and Scott (Christine) Bilse of Munster, IN; five grandchildren: Andrew (Katie) Bilse, Alex (Cara) Bilse, Anna Bilse (fiancé Jason Foster), Kara (Sean) Warner and Jessica (Kyle) O’Shea; and three great-grandchildren: Cole Warner, Mara Ann Bilse and Hensley Jo Bilse. Mary also leaves a brother, James and sister-in-law, Elaine Lammer who she also holds dear, along with several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, John Lammer, and her dear daughter-in-law, Carole Bilse.
Visitation: Kish Funeral Home, 10000 Calumet Avenue, Munster, IN on Friday, April 23, 2021 from 3:00 to 7:00 PM and on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 8501 Calumet Avenue, Munster, IN at 10:00 AM.
Service: A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the church on Saturday, following visitation at 10:30 AM.
LOCAL SERVICES: The Bilse family invites relatives and friends for a time of visitation to Zacherl Funeral Home, 875 E. Division Street, Fond du Lac, WI on Monday, April 26, 2021 from 3:00 to 6:00 PM. Mary will be laid to rest at a private burial in St. Charles Cemetery in Fond du Lac, WI.
Our family is so grateful for the exceptional and devoted care provided to our dear wife and mother by the nursing and auxiliary staff at Residences at Deer Creek in Memory Support along with the staff of Unity Hospice in Crown Point, IN.
In lieu of flowers, and if so inclined, our family asks that donations be made in Mary’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (www.stjude.org).