Maryellen Galyen, 84, went to her Lord and Savior, Jesus, and her best boyfriend, Dwight, on July 10 th . Even as the entire family spent days and nights caring for her, she continued her purpose of caring for us. She would say that her work was not yet done as she had more sewing to do, a book to finish, and more laughs to have with family and friends.
Please help us celebrate her life at the place where she devoted much of her time and service, Central Church of Christ. A visitation will be held Thursday from 10-11 am with the funeral service officiated by Michael Mallick beginning at 11, and burial following at Hillcrest Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be Tate, Tyler, and Tanner Galyen; Justin Durdan; Ryan Sokol; and Collin Wilson. Honorary pallbearers are great-grandsons: Billy, Nico, Trace, Tripp, Kai, Ian, Hugh, and Hank. Memorials can be made to Central Church of Christ on behalf of Mary.
Mom will be sadly missed by her four children: Teena (Andrew) Downey, Todd (Jamie) Galyen, Tracy (Pat) Sokol, and Troy Galyen. Eleven grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren will miss their Gigi as she had a special connection with each one of them and their spouses.
Mary was born in Sidell, IL on April 18, 1937 to Emmett and Agnes (Sheppard) Mingee. On August 7, 1955, she married the love of her life, Dwight Galyen, who preceded her in death and greeted her at the gates of heaven. Mary was also preceded in death by five siblings.
Defining mom based on her career is impossible as she took on many roles: Seamstress, Interior Decorator, Bible Study Teacher, Ladies Christian Fellowship President, Business Owner, Grief Counselor, Bears and Blackhawks’ biggest fan, Certified Nurses’ Aide, and Registered, Parish, and School Nurses. Graduating from Illinois Valley Community College as a Registered Nurse at age 52 was probably her hardest and proudest accomplishment. But it was never about the title. It was about her need and purpose to serve others.
Mom had an eye for antiques and knew the history behind each. She could also color coordinate a room, design a quilt, sew clothing for a fashion show, bake a serious gourmet cake, and learn a foreign language. But a little known fact was that she got her conceal and carry license at 80 years old, earning the best score of the class of all younger men.
Even with all of these talents, mom’s greatest gift was the ability to connect at a very personal level with everyone, no matter what age, background or religion. She ran a fantastic race with the greatest gift of all – love. God speed Gigi. We love you--more.