Sue (Whitlock) Gillingham

Sue (Whitlock) Gillingham, 86, of Washington, Ind., passed away peacefully Tuesday, July 21, 2020, on the COVID-19 floor of Daviess County (Ind.) Hospital. She was a proud resident of the Legends Village Assisted Living facility in Washington, where she had resided with her husband for the past several years.
She is survived by Roger D. Gillingham, her husband of 64 years, two brothers, George M. Whitlock and wife Ruth of Snellville, Ga., Larry J. Whitlock and wife Diana of Denton, Tex., two sisters, Lynda Garland and husband Ronald of Champaign, Ill., and Judy Elliott of Aurora, Colo., seven children, Richard R. Gillingham and wife Phyllis of Greenfield, Ind., Robert E. Gillingham of Longmont, Colo., Ronald M. Gillingham and wife Karen of Yorktown, Va., Russ E. Gillingham and Marge of Oceanside, Cal., Thomas R. Gillingham and wife Jamie of Vincennes, Ind., daughters Renee Gillingham and wife Rebecca Gardner of Sewickley, Pa., and Rory E. Gillingham of Erie, Pa., several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews and nieces. She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Lula Ruth Whitlock, Helen Howe, Jane Jansen, brother William Whitlock, brothers-in-law Herb Elliott and Tinks Howe and sisters-in-law Gwen (Gillingham) Eisert and Darlene (Gillingham) Johnson.
Sue was born March 16, 1934, in Vincennes to Robert B. and Bess (Courtaway) Whitlock. Growing up she worked alongside her many brothers and sisters at the Whitlock Cafe, a Vincennes eatery operated by her parents. She was a 1952 graduate of Vincennes Lincoln High School, always looked forward to the annual Lincoln Homecoming festivities and met monthly with her high school classmates for lunch at Dot’s in Vincennes.
Upon graduation from high school, Sue moved to Indianapolis with her friend Mary Grant to work as a telephone operator for Indiana Bell. She joined the U.S. Navy in 1955 and graduated from Hospital Corps School in Bainbridge, Md. It was while in the Navy she was introduced to her future husband through a mutual friend, Sue’s brother-in-law John J. Jansen of Vincennes. After a brief courtship Sue and Roger were married on Feb. 18, 1956 in Bainbridge, leading Sue to give up her Navy life and become a Navy wife.
She enjoyed relocating and the travel associated with her new life, making homes for her growing family first in Pittsburgh before moving on to Virginia, Georgia, California and Maryland. Over Roger’s 25 years of service, Sue easily made friends through bowling leagues, PTAs and bridge groups. She continued her love of cooking and eagerly taught each of her children how to succeed in the kitchen. Sue was an incredible cook, whether preparing a meal for seven or 70, was known for her lavish Thanksgiving dinners and never turned away a stranger from her table. She was also a remarkable bowler with countless trophies and awards to her credit.
Her passion however was being a wife and mother. With Roger often overseas or away at school she kept a neat house, made sure her kids stayed active in various pursuits and encouraged both education and outside interests. She was a Cub Scout den mother, Little League team mom and was active in her local church.
Upon Roger’s retirement from the Navy in 1976, Sue returned with her family to her Indiana roots, settling in Washington.The family became members of St. Simon’s Catholic Church and Washington Community Schools. Sue worked several years at the local Sears store before an 11-year position with the Washington City Utilities Dept. She was an active member of the Alpha Psi chapter of Psi Iota Xi sorority for 41 years.
Sue’s interests included the St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana University men’s basketball. She enjoyed and actively supported the Washington High School Hatchets and Lady Hatchets sports programs and received, along with Roger, the annual Hatchet Super Fan Award one year. She loved a good joke and was proud of the fact that she never received a speeding ticket or pumped gas in her life.
Sue was the first female member of the Washington Kiwanis Club and a proud Democrat who “reached across the aisle,” once running for local office. She could appreciate a good slot machine and made frequent trips to the French Lick casino in search of one. She enjoyed MGM musicals and international travel and was proud to have visited all 48 contiguous U.S. states. In May of 2018 Sue and her husband flew to Washington D.C. as a part of the Honor Flight of Southern Indiana.
She was an unofficial president of the Johnny Mathis fan club and traveled to many various locations over the years to see his concerts.
Funeral arrangements are being made through Goodwin-Sievers Funeral Home in Washington and will be announced later.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Alpha Psi chapter of Psi Iota Xi, c/o Barbara Perkins, 464 S 200W, Washington, IN 47501.