ELLSWORTH – Lillian Mae (Woodworth) Wilkes, 93, died peacefully, surrounded by family Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. She was born Oct. 20, 1920, in Sullivan, the daughter of LaForrest “Fos” Winfield Woodworth and Goldie Mae (Hudson) Woodworth.
Lillian, the youngest of six children, graduated valedictorian from Sullivan High School. In 1940 she entered nursing school at Eastern Maine General Hospital in Bangor. Upon graduating, Lillian “Woody” and six friends joined the U.S. Army as nurses, becoming some of the first women to travel overseas with the armed forces to work in tented hospitals at the battle lines during World War II. Lillian was a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps with the 16th General Hospital in England, France, and Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, Lil returned to Maine and used the money she saved during her military service to buy her dream house on the Taunton River overlooking the Sullivan Bridge. She and her Army pals then traveled cross-country in a convertible to California, where they lived for a year. Lillian met Ralph Wilkes while working at the Veterans’ Hospital in Framingham, Mass., and they married in 1951. They had two children, Peter and Michael, while living in Indiana. The couple moved back to Maine in 1954 and raised their family in the house on Taunton Bay. Ralph worked as Laboratory Supervisor and Lil worked as a nurse at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital when it opened in 1956. They spent the remainder of their careers at MCMH, and Lil retired as the Director of Nursing in 1983 after a long, fulfilling career. During her retirement, Lil enjoyed reading, cooking, gardening, crossword puzzles, traveling, and being a loving, attentive grandmother. She spent many fun-filled winters in Florida with good friend Charlotte Lane. Lillian and her Army pals kept in touch throughout their lives, having many reunions and lively get-togethers. Lillian was a vivacious person who was beloved by all, friends, family, co-workers, and patients. Most importantly, she cared deeply for her family. You could always count on her strength and compassion.
Lillian was predeceased by her husband, Ralph A. Wilkes; brothers, Forrest, Kenneth, and Philip; and sisters, Della, Goldie Madeline, and Georgia. She is survived by her sons, Michael Wilkes and wife, Karin, of Ellsworth, and Peter Wilkes of Centralia, Wash.; daughter-in-law, Patricia Robinson of Rockland; grandchildren, Erin Wilkes, Katherine Wilkes, Angela Hews and husband, Shawn, Christy Zinn and husband, Hogan, Leslie Wilson and husband, David, Nick Robinson, and Molly Robinson; 10 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family thanks the staff at MCMH, Dr. Laurie Yntema, Stephanie from Home Health, and Friends in Action for their gracious care.
A celebration of Lillian’s life will be held 1-5 p.m. Jan. 18, at Courthouse Gallery, 6 Court St., Ellsworth. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Lillian’s memory to the Mary Dow Cancer Center, 50 Union St., Ellsworth, ME 04605. Arrangements by Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home, Ellsworth. Condolences may be expressed at www.bragdonkelley.com.