Nature 35

Gwendolyn Castle Heaton

August 31, 1925 ~ September 28, 2020 (age 95)

Obituary

Gwendolyn Castle Heaton was born August 31, 1925 on her parents’ farm near Ridge Farm, Illinois.  She was the fifth of seven children of George and Ruth Castle.  In July 1929 Gwen was named the “Healthiest Baby” in Vermilion County (which included all children younger than age 4). Growing up, Gwen played trumpet, violin, and took piano lessons from her mother.  Her family was heavily involved with their local Friends church.  

            Gwen graduated from Ridge Farm High School in 1943 and attended William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa 1943-1945, majoring in music.  She then transferred to the University of Illinois in Champaign with a major in English and minor in Spanish. There was a shortage of teachers due to World War II, so after her junior year, Gwen got an emergency certificate to teach.   She went to West Chester, Iowa to teach English and coach girls basketball. She also coached a girls’ trio who won first place at a national contest in Missouri. 

            Gwen met Keith Heaton at the University of Illinois. Keith was on the campus bus and saw Gwen walking to her summer classes.  He didn’t want to lose sight of “the gal with the long red hair”.  They dated the summer before she taught in Iowa and renewed the relationship when Gwen returned the next summer.  That term was a full semester, so Gwen graduated on October 5, 1947. 

            Gwen and Keith married June 5, 1948 at her family’s farm.  They moved to Table Grove, Illinois to farm with Keith’s dad. Five years later they moved to Minonk, Illinois.   Joan and Jill were born while they were there.  Gwen and Keith moved near Roseville, Illinois in January 1957. Gwen designed the home where they lived from 1976 until they moved to Wesley Village in 2017.  

            Gwen and Keith were a team.  She maintained the farm and personal records all their married life.  They encouraged their children and grandchildren to be independent. Gwen inspired them with her love of music, her interest in languages and writing, her hospitality, her creativity, and her “can-do” attitude.  Her faith was a source of strength, and she journaled as she read the Daily Guidepost each day.

            Gwen’s hospitality always included abundant and delicious food, a table and serving dishes to fit the occasion, and a spirit of welcome for everyone.  Her sweet corn, strawberry jam, and homemade cookies were family favorites.  She loved to grow flowers, garden, and work daily crossword puzzles.  From November 1970- February 1971 the family hosted Luchy Villamil, an exchange student from Colombia, South America. This has led to a lifetime of visits with Luchy’s family including her brother Oscar.  Oscar attended the University of Illinois and now lives in Philadelphia.  He was able to visit the farm many times and attend special family events and celebrations. Oscar and James August were a part of our weekly “Zoom” family calls during the quarantine this spring.

            Gwen was a member of Roseville United Methodist Church, a 4-H leader, a substitute teacher, and active in many community organizations.  She sang alto with “The Three Notes”, a trio which performed throughout the community in the 1960s and 1970s.  She was a P.E.O. in Chapter N for more than 50 years. 

            Gwen and Keith were blessed to travel to Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South America (including Luchy’s home in Colombia in 1972), Europe, and each of the 50 United States.  When Jill studied in Spain in 1974-1975, the family Christmas was spent there.  Gwen and Keith first went to Arizona in 1979.  At one point, their time in Leisure World, Mesa, Arizona expanded to four months per year. They always looked forward to warm weather and extended family visits there. 

            Soon after JoAn and Dick’s wedding in June 1979, Gwen needed a new “project” and she discovered her love of hand quilting.  She also began taking piano lessons again.  Jill and Charley were married at the farm in June 1985. The farm remained a gathering place for celebrations.  Gwen celebrated her 95th birthday on August 30, 2020 at the farm with family and again on August 31st at Wesley Village.      

            The “Healthiest Baby” outlived her siblings about whom she often reminisced. Gwen died on September 28, 2020.  She is survived by her husband of 72 years, Keith Dewain Heaton of Macomb, Illinois; daughter JoAn White (Dick) of Lufkin, Texas; daughter Jill Gross (Charley) of Wilmette, Illinois; granddaughter Carolyn White of Nacogdoches, Texas; grandson Rich White (Ashleigh) of Roseville, Illinois; grandson Jarrett Gross (Lance Pulido) of Chicago, Illinois; grandson Nathan Gross of Chicago, Illinois; and many other family members throughout the United States and Colombia.

            

Private family services will be held but you may join on the Wise Family Funeral Homes face book page for a live viewing of the services.  Friends may call at the Wise Family Funeral Home Thursday, October 1, 2020 starting at 8:00a.m.-12:00p.m. the family will not be present.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Wesley Village, 1200 E. Grant Street, Macomb, IL  61455 or to Roseville United Methodist Church, 201 W. Union Street, Roseville, IL   61473. Condolences may be sent to Keith Heaton at Wesley Village.  Please sign the online guestbook at www.wisefamilyfuneralhome.com.  Wise Family Funeral Home Roseville is in charge of the arrangements.

 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gwendolyn Castle Heaton, please visit our floral store.


Services

Walk in Visitation
Thursday
October 1, 2020

8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Wise Family Funeral Home
230 West Penn Avenue
Roseville, IL 61473

Please note
Family will not be present at the visitation.
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