Matilda W. Ripley

Matilda W. Ripley

Matilda Mae “Tillie” Ripley passed away on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, at Capitol Lakes Terraces. She was born over 100 years ago on June 13, 1920, to Hazel (Lyons) and Bryce Winder in Cincinnati, Ohio.

After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, she spent her lifelong careers dedicated to the care and enhancement of early childhood education in preschool teaching, programming, and licensing.

She married G. Birch Ripley in 1947. Together they enjoyed music, art, and traveling for 48 years living in NYC, Cleveland, and Des Plaines, Ill.

Armed with maps and grid system knowledge she drove all over Chicagoland, licensing daycare centers. After Birch’s death, Tillie moved to Madison to be near daughter Susan and grandchildren.

Ever independent, she explored Madison, participating in University classes, community events, music, art, and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. She loved connecting with people from all walks of life.

Her pursuit of justice, equality, and the meaning of Life was part of her Being, as seen in her eclectic library. She took civil liberties very seriously and voted at every opportunity.

Tillie was preceded in death by her two younger brothers, Daniel and Robert; husband, Birch; grandson, Erik Christensen; and son-in-law, Kurt Christensen. She is survived by her daughter, Susan Christensen, Madison; and grandson, Kevin and wife Brittany, Cudahy.

Inurnment will be held at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Arlington Heights, Ill. Online condolences may be made at

Tillie was a transcendent monument to a lifelong journey of open-mindedness, curiosity of all things, and unending compassion for others. One of her final messages to the world: “Keep your eyes wide open and on the path of Love.”