Marjorie (Lucille) Wigton, 101, of Aurora, formerly of Batavia, now rests in the everlasting arms of her Savior after passing away peacefully on Thursday, Oct. 27, at Countryside Care Center in Aurora.
Technically born a Leo on July 29, 1911, Marjorie was really a “lamb” and was a blessing to her parents, Theron “Brownie” and Georgie (Snyder) Wigton.
From birth, Brownie wanted his baby girl to be a harpist, as he himself was a musician who played throughout the United States. He waited patiently for 12 years before her instruction would begin, and begin it did with practice six to seven hours a day. Wiggy took to it so naturally that after only two years learning under a local teacher, the “student became the master” and she was sent to Wurlitzer in Chicago to study under the great Italian Master, Alberto Salvi. He told most students to “go home and help wash the dishes,” but not Wiggy. Though practice took much of her time, it never deterred her from her studies, and she graduated from East Aurora High School in 1929. Her father died several years later, and so Wiggy put down her harp to help support the family.
In 1936, Wiggy became a “Zephyrette,” a group of women stewardess’ on a train that traveled nationwide. When the war came five years later, the trains had barely enough room for the soldiers, so the Zephyrettes were disbanded. Wiggy went back to Chicago and found work in accounting and later in the law departments of the Burlington Railroad. She retired in 1976 after 39 years of service.
Retirement gave her an excuse to return to her passion. She was known to say that you don’t “master the harp—the harp masters you.” Few could argue that she became one with her instrument, and her talent brought her into the company of many other locally renowned musicians and orchestras throughout the years, playing at the NBC Orchestra Silken Strings Hour, Chicago Amphitheater, The Aurora Symphony, Interlochen Music Camp Orchestra, Fox Valley Music Festival, Blackhawk Concert Orchestra—later, the Civic Orchestra of Aurora and soloed with the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra.
Wiggy also shared her passion at weddings, concerts and other functions throughout the Chicagoland area. Her heart was meant for playing music with a passion that wouldn’t be denied and although she never married, she was always quick to add that she “broke a lot of hearts.”
In recent years, she was known as the “Mayor of Stone Manor Circle” and had several articles written about her life and her playing that were featured in local newspapers and the Chicago Tribune. Wiggy also was a member of the Chicago Musicians Union for over 65 years. She had a great sense of humor, loved riddles and was a friend to many, often saying “I love everybody, no matter who you are or how you are made.
In recent years, Wiggy began every morning by praying for others while she played The Lord’s Prayer on her harp, sometimes having so many that she had to play it twice. She will be missed by many and although the sound of her harp now becomes a distant echo, she will never be forgotten in the hearts of all who loved her.
Survivors include one nephew, Ron (fiance Ann Brown) Wigton; two nieces, Janet (Pat) Inlow and JoAnn (Roy) Boeckler; three great-nephews, Ken (Wendy) Wigton, Jeff (Aimee) Wigton and Scott (Pam) Inlo; one great-niece, Sheri (Ed) Washeleski; three great-great nephews, Alex Wigton, Nathan Wigton and Carter Wigton; one great-great niece, Beth Wigton; cousins, Richard and Marie Murphy; and special long-time friends, Sharon “Sandy” Sanderson and Mary Anast. She was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Wayne Wigton.
Visitation to celebrate her life and her passion was held Monday, Oct. 31, at Conley Funeral Home. Private family burial will occur at a later date.
A memorial will be established in her name to benefit Wayside Cross and other favorite charities. Memorials checks may be made to the Marjorie “Wiggy” Wigton Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through conleycare.com.