Susan Locke Wilkey, a Milwaukee community leader, national health care advocate and president of the Village of Chenequa, passed away Monday, September 24, with her family by her side. She was 78.
Born Susan Hutchins Locke in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 21, 1939, she was the eldest child of Thomas Ferguson and Frances (Howell) Locke. In high school, her family moved to the Chicago area, where she graduated from Lake Forest High School. Susan went on to attend the University of Illinois. After college, she worked in advertising and marketing in Chicago, rising to senior level positions.
On June 8, 1974, Susan was married to the love of her life, Richard L. Wilkey of Suamico, in Chicago.
From 2006 to 2014, Mrs. Wilkey was a trustee of the Village of Chenequa, where she was recognized for her dedicated service. She was elected president of the village in 2015, a position she held at the time of her death.
After her father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when she was a child, Susan devoted more than 30 years of her life to the fight against the disease. She served on the Board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society from 1983 to 2013; there she held the positions of Secretary and Chair of the National Programs Committee. She was also a member of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis. In addition, she was a member of the society’s Wisconsin Chapter Board of Trustees for 14 years and served as the first female Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary. Susan received a number of awards from the Society, most notably the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Hope Award.
Susan’s work touched the lives of many people with MS across the globe, but she may have been most proud of the work that she did for one family with MS in her own community. “For many years, Susan prepared and delivered an evening meal once a week to a local family coping with MS,” Wisconsin Chapter President Colleen Kalt said. “She was an extraordinary woman.”
Susan was a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors and served as the Chair of their Development Committee from 1987 to 2005. She also chaired the Symphony Fashion Show in 1990 and the Symphony Ball in 1992. Susan was a member of the Board of Directors of Chenequa Country Club; of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America and of the Marquette University Women’s Council, as well as a patron of the Haggerty Museum of Art.
Susan’s talents were many and her passions included cooking, gardening, entertaining and traveling with family and friends. Most important to her was her beloved large extended family. She will be deeply missed by all.
She is survived by her husband and best friend of 44 years, Richard; sons Richard (Wendy) of Watertown, David of Pulaski and Daniel (David) of Melbourne Beach, FL. Susan is also survived by her grandchildren, Richard (Shawna), Joshua and Abigail of Watertown, as well as her brothers, Ferguson (Pat) Locke of Whitefish Bay, James (Suzi) Locke of Indian River Shores, FL, John (Lynn) Locke of Charleston, NC and her sister-in-law JoAnn Blohowiak of Suamico. She will be forever remembered by her 17 nieces and nephews, 24 grandnieces and nephews, extended family and dear friends.
She was predeceased by her parents; her sister, Frances Phillips; brother Robert Locke, and brothers-in-law, Bob Blohowiak and Glenn Wilkey.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated in memory of Susan on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. (visitation) and 12:00 p.m. (service), at St. Charles Catholic Church, 313 Circle Drive, Hartland with Archbishop Jerome Edward Listecki officiating. A private family burial will be held in Suamico.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in memory of Susan may be made to charity of one’s choice.