Obituary of Constance E. Wilk
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Constance Elwood Wilk (Connie), passed away peacefully with her four adoring daughters by her side on the early morning of July 25, 2021 at the Tribute Senior Living Center, in Prosper, Texas. Connie celebrated her 90th birthday just weeks before with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren all present to honor her amazing life. Connie was born on July 8, 1931, the only daughter of Anna Mae Elwood, and Ray Wellington Elwood, in Binghamton, New York. She was raised by her mother and extended family after Connie's father died when she was very young. She was a graduate of Binghamton Central High School, class of 1949, and earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the College of Mt. St. Vincent's near New York City. While she frequently commented that she missed out on the fun attending an all-girl's college (her mother's requirement), she made up for it with special evenings dancing the night away at famed nightclubs like the Copacabana where A-list performers like the Rat Pack were headliners during that era. She will always be remembered as being an amazing dancer. Following graduation, Connie spent several years practicing and teaching nursing back in her hometown, but craved change and landed at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, where she met the dashing surgical resident, Herbert Jack Wilk. Initially, the quiet but confident Connie wanted nothing to do with the loud, gregarious, self-assured young doctor, but after several attempts to woo Connie, Herb finally convinced her to have dinner with him as a thank-you after she came to his rescue with an unpleasant patient situation. The rest as they say, is history. Although their religious upbringing and personalities could not have been more different, (Herb a Jew, Connie a Catholic) they shared common a love of family, travel, good food, music, dancing, sports, and playing cards, as well as their keen respect for each other's careers in patient care, and a desire to build a family together. They eloped in New York City on July 28, 1962 with only their dear friends Irving and Freda as their witnesses. The 1960s were busy years as it brought Connie the birth of her four daughters, the start of Herb's medical practice, and the Vietnam War, which was significant because Herb volunteered through the American Medical Association where he served in provincial hospitals alongside Vietnamese physicians on two separate tours, for several months each time. Connie, a young mother with a houseful of babies and toddlers, was left to not only take care of the children alone but support the family financially working nights at the hospital, as there was no income while Herb was volunteering overseas. While Herb was lauded for his duty and received accolades in several newspaper articles, Connie was a true unsung hero during this challenging time in the young family's history. As a Mom of youngsters, she ran the household like a seasoned operations leader- color coding girl's socks, toothbrushes, and operationalizing household chores. While she loved caring for the girls, her heart was calling her back to work as Herb's practice administrator, a role in which she cherished until he retired. She was extremely active in the girl's activities, not only running them all over God's creation to a myriad of sports and activities, but as a loyal parent volunteer, who never turned away from thankless duties such as stuffing hundreds of booster club mailers, or tallying Girl Scout cookie sales for an entire troop. In the early 1980s, she was elected to the Board of Education at a pivotal time in the district's history as they worked through the issue of consolidating high schools. She served a five-year term, her last year as Board President. Connie always welcomed what seemed like an endless stream of friends and out-of-town visitors to the Wilk house. And as much as they loved being visited, they loved visiting. Together, they traveled the country in their Winnebago, exposing the girls to different important landmarks and cultures, as well as adventurous activities such as white water rafting and river tubing. Connie was as comfortable sleeping in a camper as she was being a season ticket holder to music and theatre events. Funny enough, while she loved her girls, she actually was more of a "guy's gal" who at family parties, loved to give men a run for their money shooting pool or playing euchre, all while hollering through football games, sipping her signature Manhattan with a twist of lemon on the rocks. The Mom of four teenaged girls, Connie's calm demeanor was fully tested as she mediated the girl's quest for independence against their strict father's rules. Things quieted down during the college years, and it was then that Connie and Herb purchased their beloved cottage on Lake Genegantslet, where they spent quiet weekends and summers for the next several decades. This was Connie's favorite place to be, near the water, where she faithfully swam daily laps and enjoyed evening sunset boat cruises and card games with friends. Connie's happiness grew as the sons-in-law each joined the family, planning four beautiful and unique weddings in close succession, expertly managing the mountain of details, and maneuvering through the wedding rules of etiquette, and (sometimes) emotional terrain of her four brides. She did it all with incredible grace, as she battled breast cancer twice during this same decade. When Herb retired, she worked for her dear friend, Dr. Abe King in his practice, and then finally retired fully so she and Herb could be a bigger part of her grandchildren's lives. Connie was always family-first. Connie and Herb wintered in Deerfield Beach, FL, and you could tell time by Connie's 2pm daily arrival at the pool where she and Herb enjoyed swimming and socializing with their wide circle of friends there. She spent her golden years of retirement being present and helpful to her four daughters' growing families—and exploring new geographies both near and far with Herb. In her last decade of life, Connie experienced the double blow of losing her beloved Herb in the same week she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. In typical Connie fashion, she chose to lean in and dedicate her remaining years to her daughters and their families. Connie spent several months with each daughter/family where she relished in being an intimate part of their lives- attending hockey, football, lacrosse and soccer games, gymnastic, track and swim meets, dance recitals, prom photos, graduations, confirmations, and so on. She did this until she was no longer able to travel, when she landed in Texas, where she resided for her final six years of life. Connie cherished the special time she had with each of her grandchildren and enjoying many milestone events together. Connie will be most remembered for her amazingly calm, classy, competent, confident, and kind demeanor, her love of family and friends, and salty sense of humor. Even as she lost her memory and capabilities, Connie was a gamer—whether it meant tubing at 81 years of age behind a boat—or dressing up as an 80's rocker with her grandchildren for Halloween. Connie was always all-in. Connie was predeceased by her parents Anna and Wellington Elwood, her husband of fifty years, Herb, her granddaughter Sydney Leigh Braksick, her cousins who were like siblings to her, and many friends and other cherished relatives. She is survived by her four adoring daughters, Karen (Jared) Wells of Niskayuna, NY, Leslie (Matt) Braksick of Sewickley, PA, Michele (Donald) Haugh of Prosper, TX, and Nicole Warhoftig of Frisco Texas. She is also survived by her admiring grandchildren, Elizabeth, Emerson and Jamison Wells, Austin (Anna) and Madeleine Braksick, Harrison, Audrey and William Haugh, and Andrew, Zachary, and Elise Warhoftig, and great-granddaughters Sydney and Payton Braksick. She is also survived by her dearest friend, Lillian Fields, who turned a once part-time job into a fifty-years-plus loving friendship. A Funeral Mass will be offered at the Church of Saints John and Andrew, Vestal Avenue, Binghamton, Saturday at 10 a.m. Burial will be in Sewickley Cemetery, Sewickley, PA. The family will receive friends at the J.A. McCormack Sons Funeral Home, 141 Main Street, Binghamton, Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to The Connie Wilk Healthcare Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation for South Central New York, benefiting graduates of Binghamton High School who continue their education in the healthcare field with a demonstrated financial need. Checks can be made out and mailed to: CFSCNY, 520 Columbia Drive, Suite 100, Johnson City, NY 13790 with "Connie Wilk Healthcare Scholarship Fund" in the memo. Donations can also be made on-line at donorswhocare.org and clicking on the "donate" button, or clicking directly on this link: https://linkprotect.cudasvc.com/url?a=https%3a%2f%2fdonorswhocare.org%2fconnie-wilk-healthcare-scholarship-fund%2f&c=E,1,HQdYY4WCrSaABNk-fjPOba8wZhnhUxJunm3g_pF_UQnfNML7x7cqXRY0fkmJ3Oo5etC6t0354MoMO_WkqthShBdfN14orHX37wM8wgk-41WN7tdogKom&typo=1
Visitation at Funeral Home
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Friday, July 30, 2021
J.A. McCormack Sons Funeral Home, Inc.
141 Main St.
Binghamton, New York, United States
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Church Of Ss John And Andrew
1263 Vestal Ave.
Binghamton, New York, United States
Final Resting Place
501 Hopkins Street
Sewickley, Pennsylvania, United States