Monica McConnell Bilski
1937 - 2011, Santa Barbara
February 3, 1937 – July 8, 2011
Monica passed away peacefully on July 8th after living with Alzheimer’s disease for many years.
Monica was born in Clare, Michigan on February 3, 1937 to Dominic and Ella McConnell. She attended high school and the convent at Marywood in Grand Rapids, Michigan before going on to Aquinas College where she met and married Richard Bilski. After three children and too much snow, she convinced Dick to move the family to California where they had two more children and settled in Goleta in 1965. Monica highly valued education and once her youngest children started kindergarten, Monica enrolled at UCSB. She earned her teaching credential from UCSB and a Masters’ Degree in Education from Azuza Pacific College. Monica loved being a teacher and taught at many local schools including Marymount, Bishop Diego High School, Foothill and El Rancho.
A loving wife, mother and educator, Monica was also a devout Catholic and enjoyed old movies and reading, especially Agatha Christie, The Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter series. One of her great joys was writing and putting on an original play with her class each year. She loved to travel and was up for any adventure Richard suggested. The camper could be packed and ready on the spur of the moment for a weekend away. Monica could often be seen at her grand children’s sporting and school events. She and Dick created many wonderful memories together and with their children. She never regretted their decision to move to Santa Barbara. Monica cherished everything she had and worked in partnership with Richard to enjoy every moment of life.
Monica is survived by her husband of 53 years, Richard, daughters Stacey Bilski (David Yonke), Mary Kohler (David), Rose Bilski and Stephanie Robbins (Vernon). She is also survived by grandchildren Joseph and John Yonke, Kristi, Craig, Scott, Janelle and Steven Kohler, Amy Talmage (Luke) and great grandson Holden Talmage. She was predeceased by her parents Dominic and Ella, brothers Ken and Pat McConnell and son Stanley Bilski.
A Rosary in her memory will be held on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 7:00 PM and there will be a Funeral Mass at 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 16, 2011. Both services will be held at St. Raphael’s Catholic Church. A reception will follow the funeral in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bishop Garcia Diego High School. Arrangements are by Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Homes.