Ilo Marie Whitesell passed away peacefully on May 14, 2023. Ilo is survived by her daughter Caroline (Michael) Rhine and her two grandchildren, Jackson and Evan Rhine. She is preceded in death by her second husband George Whitesell (d. 2007) and her first husband, Robert Carlson (d. 1988).
Ilo was born July 13, 1941 in Lansing Michigan. She moved to Wilson, North Carolina in the 1960s where she raised her daughter, was active with the Girls Scouts, was a member of the Eastern Star of Wilson, and had a long, successful career as a records technician for Wilson Community College. After retiring, Ilo spent time at her home at Lake Gaston where she served as secretary for the Lake Gaston Estates Homeowner’s association. She enjoyed participating in pig pickings, caring for her many well-loved cats, feeding hummingbirds, and spending time on and around the lake watching and photographing wildlife.
Ilo moved to Florida in 2011 where she led an active life filled with family, friends and her love for all things nature. Ilo loved bingo, and her mother-daughter bingo nights were a regular part of her retirement activities in Florida. She was a crochet and knitting expert, and not only taught others how to crochet at the Pines of Delray craft club, but spent thousands of hours herself making crocheted animals for charity along with knitting many afghan blankets for the special people in her life. Ilo gave countless hours of her time volunteering at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and was recognized by the City of Boca Raton for imparting her knowledge and love of nature onto others.
But Ilo – “Mi Mi” -- was happiest when spending time with her two grandsons, Jackson and Evan. Sunday night dinners with her family were a weekly tradition that she rarely missed and she spent many weekends hanging out with Jackson and Evan helping them cheer on their favorite sports teams. She took an active role in their lives and was always there for them, whether for “Grandparent’s Day” at their school, helping them celebrate their birthdays or other special occasions, or taking care of the boys when their parents were out of town, a job she took most seriously, and ran a tight ship.
Ilo’s upbeat positive attitude, even in the face of adversity, and her willingness to always lend a hand to help others will be missed by all who knew and loved her. She always had encouraging words for others and a smile on her face that would brighten any room.
Details about a celebration of life will be coming in the future. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider a donation to the Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards or the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League.
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