Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home - Champaign Il

Today is

Marilyn E. Rickey

Marilyn E. Rickey, 86, formerly of Ottawa, Ill., passed away at the home of her daughter in Champaign on Friday, February 19.

A graveside Service of Prayer will be held Tuesday, February 23, at 2:30 p.m. at East Lawn Burial Park in Urbana. Arrangements are being handled by Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home, Champaign.

A memorial service for Mrs. Rickey will be held at a later date, both in Urbana and Ottawa for family and friends.

Mrs. Rickey was born in Ottawa to Harold A. and Elizabeth (Esmond) Mumper, December 2, 1934. She attended the Ottawa Public Schools, graduating from Ottawa Township High School in 1952. She was a member of the First Baptist Church in Ottawa.

After her family was raised, she attended IVCC and became a Registered Nurse, working for twenty years in Ottawa and later in Clarksville, Tennessee.

She is survived by her children, Sandra Ferguson of Champaign, Timothy (Virginia) Ferguson of Gallatin, Tennessee, Peter (Mechthild) Ferguson of Ottawa, and Scott Ferguson of Marseilles; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She is also survived by a sister, Louise Heimann of Far Hills, East Peoria, Ill. and David (Ann) Mumper of Ottawa as well as many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, Marian in infancy and Velma Mumper Jensen, also a daughter Susan Denise Ferguson who passed away at the age of five in 1960. Marilyn said of Susan that “God picks His flowers when they are most perfect.”

At the age of seventy Marilyn found a very strong faith as a Baha’i and was very active in Ottawa and Urbana in promoting its teachings. She left behind many of her thoughts regarding her life and her faith that she wished to share with her family and friends. They are as follows: “We were not a family with money, but neither did I ever feel poor. I grew up on West Main Street in Ottawa, Illinois toward the end of the Great Depression. I could not have had better parents and wish I had been more appreciative of them.  I didn’t know how blessed I was to grow up when and where I did. In my mid-years I got a degree and worked as Registered Nurse for twenty years. I hope I was a blessing to those for whom I cared but found no joy in it. That has nothing to do with the patients, but the way our medical system is set up.  At age seventy, I found the Baha’i Faith.  We Baha’is feel that our founder, known as Baha’u’llah (the Glory of god) is indeed not the one promised to Christians, but to all the religions awaiting the return of their Lord. The message I would leave with you, no matter that the world is collapsing around you, do not yield to despair. There is a beautiful new world ahead. On my honor, I believe it!”

Memorials for Marilyn Rickey may be sent to Interfaith Alliance of Champaign County, c/o Michael Crosby, First Mennonite Church, 902 W. Springfield, Urbana, Ill.

Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.HeathandVaughn.com.


Marilyn was a member of the Monday Club, a women's study group in Ottawa. We all enjoyed her company and her contributions to our discussions and programs. The members of the club wish to extend our sympathy to Marilyn's family.

—Nancy Harris