Shirley Hankes

By on April 19, 2012

Shirley Hankes, 87, of North Aurora, Ill., passed away peacefully Tuesday evening, April 3, 2012, at Delnor-Community Hospital, Geneva. A woman devoted to her faith, Shirley celebrated her birthday with her family, and now celebrated the joy of Easter morn in Heaven, just a week later.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 3:6.

Shirley was born April 2, 1925, in Aurora, the daughter of John and Madeline (Bury) Weisgerber. She grew up in Aurora, where she attended local schools, graduating from East Aurora High School. Following graduation, she worked for the Burlington Northern Railroad for a time until she met Ray Hankes through mutual friends. Their courtship was not long, but the vows that were taken on April 7, 1945, bound their hearts together for a lifetime.

They began their married life on the farm in Sugar Grove, where they lived with Ray’s parents. Though Shirley did not begin as a farmer, she grew to share her husband’s love for the farm and was a part of much of the daily activity. She enjoyed her garden from which countless things were frozen to feed her growing family.

While she was a busy wife and mother, she always made time for others and volunteered in many places, including being active with the Helping Hands and Sugar Grove Boys 4-H clubs. Shirley was involved with many aspects of her church, Holy Angels Catholic Church, where she served as a volunteer for Holy Angels Food Pantry, and since 1985 had been a minister of care, taking Holy Communion to the homebound. In 2006, Shirley was awarded the honor of being “Catholic Woman of the Year”.

She and Ray were actively involved in the development of Waubonsee Community College. She also worked for the Girl Scouts for several years.

She was a lifelong member of Holy Angels Catholic Church Aurora, St. Ann’s Society, Kane County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee, the Canasta Club and the Kane County Home Extension.

Her family had a number of treasured traditions, and spending Christmas Eve together was one of the most important times. Phone calls and visits from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the sunshine of her life and memories that they will remember always. With hands that were never idle, Shirley found time to embroider tablecloths for each of her children, latch hook, and create centerpieces for the senior group. Those same hands were found each day holding the treasured beads of her Rosary. The prayers of each day supported those she loved and sustained her through all of the days of her life.

She is survived by seven children, Raymond (Ellen) Hankes of Gibson City, Ill., Elizabeth (Dennis) Engel of Hampshire, Ill., Nicholas (Darlene) Hankes of Virgil, James (Kae) Hankes of Galesburg, Ill., Joan (Paul) Burns of Springfield, Ill., Patricia (Gregory) Sinn of Tremont, Ill., Christine (Michael) Turner of North Aurora; and one daughter-in-law, Lorri Hankes of Sugar Grove; 24 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and one sister, Frances Adams of Sandwich, Ill.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Ray Hankes; her son, Robert Hankes; and one granddaughter, Michelle.

Her visitation was held Sunday, April 8, from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A Rosary began visitation at 3 p.m. A Mass will to celebrate her life was held Monday morning, April 9, at 10 a.m. at Holy Angels Catholic Church, 180 S. Russell Ave., Aurora. Interment followed at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Aurora.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Holy Angels Food Pantry, 204 S. Russell, Aurora, IL 60506. Tributes may be forwarded to the family at Conley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119, or on the web at