SAVANNA—Mary Elizabeth Wolfe, 90, loving wife, mother of three children, and grandmother from Savanna, died on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at the Good Samaritan Society-Mount Carroll.

Cremation rites have been accorded. A memorial celebration, on a beautiful spring day, will be announced in the near future. Burial of her cremated remains will take place in the Savanna Township Cemetery. Online condolences may be left for the family at

Mary was born Dec. 31, 1928, in Savanna, the daughter of Roy and Bertha (Beaver) Hummel. Her mother passed away shortly after childbirth. As an infant, Mary was adopted by Henry and Ruby Winkler of Savanna.

At the age of 11, Mary was informed she was adopted, and at 21, she was invited to Lanark to meet her biological family. To her surprise, she met her father, Roy, who she had recognized as one of her regular drug store cafe customers, four sisters and three brothers.

At the time, her early 20s, Mary was moving on from a short first marriage, and walked away with a loving son, James Allen Engleking. Mary raised James as a single mom into her 30s. Train trips to see the country with James, including a rodeo in Wyoming, was her greatest joy at the time.

Mary worked several jobs as a single mother, and on her walks along Chicago Avenue in Savanna to her railroad clerk job, she noticed a gentleman, taking smoke breaks on the porch at Law-Jones Funeral Home. The gentleman, referred to as "the friendly undertaker," started waving to her. She had met the love of her life on those walks, and two years later, on Feb. 20, 1965, she married Donald Stewart Wolfe. They raised two sons, Scott and Tim; in addition, Don adopted James.

In the following decades, Mary thrived as a mother, creating a traditional and loving home. She could always be found in the kitchen where she found great joy in cooking, but most importantly how it connected her family around the dinner table.

Holidays were spent baking and decorating her home. As the boys grew older, she opened her home to all of their friends and mothered them all. She created a life better than the challenges she faced, with the goal of providing every opportunity for her children and a safe loving home to come back to.

Later in life, she cared for Don, who was stricken with Alzheimer's. She selflessly spent most days at his side and was there to say good-bye to him in the end. The idea of her reunion with the "the friendly undertaker" is a sweet thought.

Mary will be dearly missed by her two sons, Scott (Lisa) Wolfe of Savanna and Tim (Heather) Wolfe of Chicago; a daughter-in-law, Joy Wolfe; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and several cousins, nieces and nephews.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents and adopted parents; her husband, Don Wolfe; one son, James Wolfe; and her siblings.