Muriel Eleanor McCluskey Wilbur, age 96, passed away peacefully August 25, 2023. She was born December 19, 1926 in Hartford, Connecticut to R. H. and Jesse Biddy McCluskey. Academically focused she graduated Valedictorian from East Providence High School. She was introduced to her future husband, Stafford Williams Wilbur, by his best friend and Muriel’s younger sister in Rhode Island where they both were raised. They married in April of 1951, moved to Virginia and had four children. Stafford preceded her in death in 2013.
A lifetime of service was important to Muriel. She joined the United States Cadet Nurse Corps in 1944 and received her diploma from the Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing in 1947. She worked at the Rhode Island Hospital as instructor of anatomy and clinical surgery until her marriage.
She moved to Virginia with her husband and stayed home to devote time to her family. Her four children, (Larry, Nancy, Steven, and Laura) kept her busy as they grew up with scout activities and school. She was the first aider for Laura and Nancy’s Girl Scout troops as well as teaching many badge requirements. She volunteered at Walter Reed Elementary School. Shortly afterwards she was offered and accepted a position to implement an elementary mathematics program. Next, she moved on to become a parapro in Kindergarten classes where she remained until retirement.
The Falls Church Episcopal Church was an important part of Muriel’s life. She was an active member of the Altar Guild, cleaning and decorating the church for the seasons; sewing vestments and altar clothes. She demonstrated her love of flowers through her active participation in the church flower arrangements and by planning, planting and maintaining the Memorial Garden. Intercessory prayer was a calling for her. She attended many Bible studies and retreats. She became a member of The Falls Church Anglican Church later in life.
Muriel’s friends and neighbors will remember her as being involved in their lives whether it was helping with someone sick or ailing or baking meals and sweets. She was especially known for her Christmas Tree shaped cinnamon buns that she baked and distributed yearly.
Throughout the years Muriel showed her creative side through hooking rugs; sewing clothes, curtains, and decorative touches; knitting, tatting, cross-stitching, crewel embroidery and, finally, quilting. She made quilts for all four of her children, then her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Precious memories for anyone lucky enough to have a piece of her handwork.
Muriel is survived by her sisters, Emily McKenney and Violet Reilly, her children Lawrence S. Wilbur, Nancy W. Pallansch, Steven W. Wilbur (Kathy) and Laura J. Roberts (David); grandchildren Gregory T. Pallansch (Jean Kim), Eve P. Yen (Jason), Matthew W. Wilbur (Jessi), Melanie L. Ricker (Mike), Janet C. X. Wilbur, and Jack S. Wilbur; and her multiple great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. All of these she loved and touched deeply.
We will have a celebration of life, interment of ashes and reception for Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 10:00 am at The Falls Church Episcopal Church, 115 East Fairfax Street, Falls Church, VA 22046.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at act.alz.org.