Marion Elizabeth McGilligan

Marion Elizabeth McGilligan

Madison – Marion Elizabeth McGilligan, age 99, passed away peacefully at Middleton Village on November 20, 2017, joining her beloved husband, William Anthony McGilligan, in eternal life.

Born to Leonard (known as Leo) and Mary (Marie) Herbrand Schubert on November 1st, 1918 in Madison, Wisconsin, Marion grew up on Williamson Street with her younger brother Donald and together they attended Holy Redeemer Elementary and Edgewood High School. As a girl, she played the guitar and baseball and dreamed of becoming an actress. In 1940, she married her high school sweetheart, Bill McGilligan, at St. Raphael’s Cathedral. When he was drafted, she followed him to Texas and California, where she took drama classes at the Pasadena Playhouse before joining the Women’s Army Corp in March 1944. She guided generals and Hollywood celebrities around the military bases and hospitals. After the war, Marion and Bill returned to Madison. Together they raised five children while Bill, with his brother John, took over McGilligan’s Upholstery and Furniture shop.

Besides being a wonderful mother and homemaker, Marion worked hard at other jobs, including as a secretary at the Madison VA Hospital for a French neurosurgeon and as a census-taker. She and Bill instilled the love of show business in their children with dance, voice, and instrumental music lessons. Marion talked her husband into moving back to California in 1975, where they built a small apartment complex in San Clemente that overlooked the ocean and became a haven for the next generation. In California, Marion worked as an administrative assistant for the U.S. Geological Survey. After retiring, she and Bill joined the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, assisting local police. When Bill passed away in 1993, Marion remained in California for a decade before moving back to Madison in 2004. She loved reading, going to movies, gambling a little at the casino and traveling (Ireland, France, Italy and Israel were stamped on her passport). She generously took her family on trips to Hawaii, Rehoboth Beach, Mexico and the Caribbean. The Marion McGilligan Scholarship was inaugurated at Kohler High School in 2014 with $1,000 bestowed annually on an exceptional female student for college study in theater or the arts.

Surviving are her children: Dennis (Mary Louise Griffin) McGilligan and Maureen (Steve) McGilligan-Bentin, of Madison; Patrick (Tina Daniell) McGilligan of Milwaukee; Luann (Leroy Gomez) Engstrom, Carlsbad of California; and Susie (Jim) Setmire of Oregon. Marion was proud of her fourteen grandchildren (Tobin, Fiona, Liam, Michael, Jeremy, Kyle, Clancy, Bowie, Sky, Alicia, Adam, Elisa, Zach and Nikolay) and ten great-grandchildren. She fostered our passions and believed in us. She will be dearly missed and always loved. Our family is grateful to the caring staff of Agrace HospiceCare and Middleton Village. A funeral service will be held at a later date.

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