Elba - Mary E. "Johnnie" Wilford, age 89, passed away on Thursday, March 3, 2022 at The Friendly Home in Rochester.
She was born on August 8, 1932 in Batavia, a daughter of the late Edward L. Hottois and Bessie Johnson Hottois. Mary grew up in North Bergen and graduated from South Byron High School. She worked as an accountant at Batavia Times Publishing Co., Peterson Drug Company, and R&W Trucking and Excavating before her retirement. On May 26, 1951, Mary married the love of her life, Eugene “Bink” Wilford.
Always referring to herself as a “country girl”, Mary learned to drive a tractor before a car! In their retirement, the pair loved to camp and travel, visiting 49 of the states. Their dog, Lori Lee, was never far behind. Especially if there were treats involved. Mary loved to be outdoors and was known for her green thumb. She possessed the rare gift of bringing light and life into every room she entered. From hosting family holidays to making sure to speak to every person at her granddaughter (Lisa Freeman)’s wedding. And then “borrowing” their drinks.
Mary touched many lives through her charity work and volunteering. She was a member for 70 years of the Elba First Presbyterian Church, serving as an Elder and Deacon. Her love of baking, cooking, and fellowship was shown in her participation in church bake sales, pot luck dinners, and the annual Turkey Supper every November, always sharing her famous “sweet rolls” with friends and family.
She was a natural born caregiver, spending many years volunteering with Crossroads House, Genesee Co. Hospice Foundation, Catholic Charities Home Visitation Program, and the Genesee County Senior Center.
She is predeceased by her husband of 53 years, Eugene J. "Bink" Wilford, who passed away on December 12, 2004, her sister, Priscilla (late Frederick) Facer, and two brothers, Edward P. (late Mabel) Hottois and David L. Hottois.
She is survived by her children, Debra (Derek) Reiss, Randy (Lorene) Wilford and Cindy (Scott) Freeman; grandchildren, Robert Reiss, Erika Reiss, Stephanie (Shawn) Eadie, Adam (Lexy) Wilford, Cody (Kari) Wilford, Lisa (Christina) Freeman and Christopher (Melissa) Freeman; four great-grandchildren and one step-great-grandchild; her sister, Dorothy (Floyd) Smith of Fremont, California, and several nieces and nephews.
Friends may call on Wednesday, March 9th, from 5 pm to 6:30 pm at the H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home, 403 East Main Street. Memorial services will immediately follow visitation at 6:30 pm. She will be laid to rest in Maple Lawn Cemetery, Elba. In lieu of flowers, memorials in her name may be made to Crossroads House, P.O. Box 403, Batavia, New York 14021 or the First Presbyterian Church of Elba, 23 North Main Street, Elba, New York 14058.