Celebrating the life of Mary Ann (Gillespie) West
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Mary Ann (Gillespie) West (94) of Peoria, died on April 2nd, 2023. Her husband (Wilton West) and one sister (Margaret Sue Bates) preceded her in death. Survivors include one brother: Charley P. (LaRue) Gillespie; four children: Justin (Kristin) West, Melissa (Scott) Peterson, Allison (Brad) Smith, and Matthew (Sonya) West; Eight grandchildren: Skyler, Blaze, and Clayton Koposky, Quinn, Mason, and Ella Smith, and Alivia and Jack West; and one great-grandchild, Kaden Koposky as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Cremation rites have been accorded.
Born in Ft. Smith, Arkansas on December 21, 1928 to Doris Anne (Stumpff) and Frederick William Gillespie, Mary Ann spent most of her life in the Peoria area. Starting with the Kelly Avenue Grade School, her education progressed through the best that the city offered, graduating from Peoria High (1946) and Bradley University (1950). She went on to work at St. Francis Hospital, becoming a med tech. Besides St. Francis, and Methodist, her early career included stops at various hospitals across the country but she finished serving in the lab at the American Red Cross in Peoria.
Raising a family in Peoria, she still found time to revisit one of her first loves (community theatre). Mary Ann was one of the co-founders of Corn Stock Theatre at Detweiller Park in 1954 (and followed its move to Bradley Park in 1955). She was also involved with Peoria Players. In fact, it was during one of her brief forays out of town, where she got involved in live theatre in Reno Nevada...and met the love of her life, Wilton West. They were married September 12, 1959 at the First United Methodist Church in Peoria. Together for over 57 years, Wilton passed in 2016. Mary Ann always put the needs of her family ahead of her own and she practiced that to the end. She had been a caring daughter, a devoted sister, and a loving and supportive wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who will be sorely missed by those she loved. Donations in her memory may be made to the Southside Mission, the Peoria Rescue Mission, or the Peoria Area Food Bank.
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