GARDNER – Judith Katherine Wyffels Ahearn, 73, of Gardner, Illinois and Estero, Florida passed away Wednesday, January 3, 2018 in Bonita Springs, Florida. She had been a seasonal resident of Estero since 2000.
Judith was born in Henry County, Illinois January 26, 1944, the daughter of William and Alma Francque Wyffels.
She was educated in St. Mary’s Academy, Nauvoo, and went on to receive a BA in voice and music education from the University of Illinois, and later an MA in reading from Olivet Nazarene.
She taught music, kindergarten, and elementary school at Mazon-Verona-Kinsman High School, Goodfarm School, and Dwight Grade School.
After retiring, Mrs. Ahearn pursued her hobbies of cooking and gardening. She attended the Culinary Institute of America in Chicago; enjoyed entertaining and used her cooking skills and wine knowledge to host family and friends on many occasions. She was a noted pie maker.
As a lifelong learner, she took University of Illinois Extension courses to become a Master Gardener.
Mrs. Ahearn was an avid reader and traveler. She visited all seven continents. Her two most notable trips were a safari to Africa and a small ship adventure on her own to Antarctica.
In her free time, Mrs. Ahearn volunteered teaching English as a second language in Bonita Springs, and worked to distribute food through the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, We Care of Grundy County, and the Food Pantry at St. Lawrence Catholic Church.
The importance of family was evident in her life, as Mrs. Ahearn traveled weekly to see her mother, Alma. She was also sure to send cards and notes to her large extended family for birthdays and special occasions.
Mrs. Ahearn was preceded in death by her parents, William and Alma Wyffels; her sister and brother-in-law, Joyce and Mike Kuhne; and an infant sister, Julie Wyffels.
She is survived by her loving husband of 50 years, Lawrence V. “Larry” Ahearn; her beloved daughters, Jennifer Ahearn of Westchester and Christine Ahearn (fiance Don Trinco) of Chicago; and her sisters and brothers: Joan (Jim) Van Lauwe of St. Charles, Missouri; Janice (George) Ralph of Loveland, Colorado; William (Jane) Wyffels and Robert (Vicky) Wyffels, both of Geneseo.
Services will be held in Illinois in April, and further arrangements will be announced.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to We Care of Grundy County, www.wecareofgrundycount
y.com; Heifer International, www.heifer.org; or St. Law-rence Catholic Church Food Pantry, 165 E. Rice St., South Wilmington, IL 60474.
Arrangements are being handled by Shikany’s Bonita Funeral Home.