Mary Lou Tilberg

Mary Lou Tilberg, 84 died Sunday May 13,2018, at Brookfield Park, St Paul, Nebraska.  Funeral services were held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 19, at Ethan United Methodist Church with burial in Hillcrest Cemetery, Ethan, S.D.

Mary Lou Gilfillan was born Feb. 4, 1934, to Joseph Lynn and Mary Elizabeth Gilfillan in Wabash, Indiana.   J. Lynn Gilfillan moved the family to Mitchell, S.D., where Mary Lou grew up and attended the Mitchell Public Schools.  She graduated from Mitchell High school in 1952.  She received a B.A. in History with a minor in Secondary Education after study at the University of South Dakota and Dakota Wesleyan University.  She worked her way through college teaching at a rural school near Loomis.  In 1960, Mary Lou was appointed Director of the South Dakota Territorial Centennial Commission.  Her college advisor and teacher, Dr. Leonard Jennewyn, encouraged her to take on this leadership and organizational role. She traveled throughout South Dakota, coordinating and attending local celebrations honoring our Territorial history.  Her efforts and contributions can be seen today at the Discovery Mueseum on the Dakota Wesleyan campus. 

She met Randall K. Tilberg during her studies at Dakota Wesleyan.  They fell in love, and after Mary Lou’s work was completed with the State Centennial Commission, Randall and Mary Lou were married in November 1960.  Mary Lou loved the land and agriculture as much as Randall and they farmed and raised their family together in rural Ethan, S.D., carrying on the Tilberg family heritage.  Mary Lou loved family, farming, art, gardening, neighbors, and most of all God and her church.  She was a member of the Ethan United Methodist Church.  Mary Lou belong to numerous community groups as well, the Order of the Eastern Star, World Organization of China Painters Club.

Mary Lou was an accomplished ceramic and porcelain china painter, especially in the study of  flowers. Her works have been published in the International China Painters magazine.  She exhibited many of her works, and was awarded numerous Grand Champion ribbons at the South Dakota State Fair.  Her highest state fair accomplishment was being presented with the Governor’s Choice award, with that work now displayed at the State Capital in Pierre.  Mary Lou was a gifted women who was nurtured by her faith, family and farm and in turn nurtured us with her art.  

Survivors include her children, Deb and Leo Lukes Jr, Grand Island, Neb., Mac and Barb Tilberg, Mitchell, S.D., Greg and Marge Tilberg, Mitchell and Scott and Mary Tilberg, Ethan, S.D.; nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her parents and husband Randall.

Memorials may be directed to Ethan United Methodist Church and the South Dakota Alzheimers Association.  

Springfield Advance-Press

13 S. Marshall Avenue PO Box 78 Springfield, MN 56087