Mary Jean Tull
2/22/1926 - 9/29/2018
PEKIN ~ Mary Jean (Dimler) Tull, 92, of Pekin unexpectedly passed away at 3:42 a.m. Saturday, September 29, 2018 at Farmington Country Manor in Farmington.
Born February 22, 1926 in Pekin to Paul and Amalia (Dietrich) Dimler, she married Thomas B. Tull on May 18, 1947 in Pekin. He died December 11, 2009. She was also preceded in death by her parents, sister and brother.
Surviving are daughter Claudia (George) Komer of Atlanta, Georgia, son Richard Tull of Florida, 4 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren and 2 nephews.
Jean attended Pekin schools, graduating from Pekin Community High School in 1944, where she excelled in drama, speech, music, and cheerleading, among others. She took the Individual First Place Illinois State win in verse reading as well as was a cast member of the PCHS play that won first place. Just two days before her passing, she learned that she was the oldest living Illinois High School Association State Speech contest winner.
Jean was quite the thespian and proud to have been offered a full scholarship in drama to Northwestern University in Evanston as well as the opportunity to participate in summer stock productions. Unfortunately, her very strict father forbade her from accepting the scholarship. Had she attended Northwestern, her classmates would have included actors Charlton Heston and Patricia Neal. She eventually furthered her formal education through LaSalle Extension University and studied Law.
Jean was Society Editor for the Pekin Daily Times as well as a reporter for the Peoria Journal Star. While at the newspaper, her boss Chuck Dancey introduced her to Tom Tull, a recent hire of the local radio station, whom she later married. Her further interests over the years centered on working with troubled youth as she counseled juvenile offenders and assisted Peoria County Law Enforcement as a decoy on several cases. Understandably, the decoy escapades drove her husband crazy!
Over many years of volunteer service Jean was a Charter Board Member and President of Youth Farm Residential Treatment Center for Boys in Peoria as well as was Founding Board Member with Tazwood Mental Health Center, now known as Tazwood Center for Wellness. In late 2016, Jean was honored by Tazwood for her 44 years of service and was thrilled to learn that the boardroom was named after her! She has served on the Central Illinois Criminal Justice Commission, State Criminal Justice Committee, Counseling & Family Service Board, Comprehensive Mental Health Board, Youth Guidance Council, and acted as a Tazewell County Court Counselor. Jean was also President of Pekin YWCA and active in United Way.
Prior to her retirement in 1989, she was Sales Manager for Pekin radio station WGLO. From 1990 to 2006 she volunteered two days a week at Pekin Manor in the activity department and later obtained weekly speakers for Pekin Estates until 2014.
Jean was a member of Pekin’s Grace United Methodist Church, where she served on several committees, taught Sunday school, volunteered her services, enjoyed her Tuesday night Bible Study group, and was a Stephen Minister.
Although she seldom mentioned it, Jean was a breast cancer survivor since the age of 29.
Jean wrote this obituary herself a few years ago. Her family has revised it to include additional information that she was too modest to share; however, these are her own closing words:
“She would like family and friends to be happy for her as she will now be joining the ‘love of her life,’ Tom. She shared a hope and prayer that everyone will let others know when they have done something right and good, as so often we only hear when ones have done wrong. Above all, keep God in your heart and mind. She looked to God as her very best friend!”
Her memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 13, 2018 at Grace United Methodist Church in Pekin. The Rev. Dr. Joel P. Catlin and Rev. Gary L. Ford will officiate. Cremation has been accorded. Arrangements are by Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin.
Memorial contributions may be made to Tazwood Center for Wellness, 3248 Vandever Avenue, Pekin, IL 61554.
To express condolences online, visit www.preston-hanley.com
James Rimington - Church Musician
Teresa Stalker - Employee of Tazwood
Mark & Rita McDannald - Friends