Wilburn Musgrave, 89

Beekeeper and 'honey man'

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Wilburn Louis Musgrave, 89, a longtime resident of Forest Park, died on June 15, 2019 at St. Alexian Hospital in Hoffman Estates. Born on Jan. 8, 1930, in Burnt Prairie, Illinois to G.A. and Ruth (Smith) Musgrave, he was later married to Betty Jean (Creekmore) Musgrave for 10 years and had two daughters.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he served in Germany from November 1950 to September 1954 in microwave maintenance and also the 8th Radio Relay Sq. APO 208. He also traveled to Europe as the equipment manager for the Landsberg Airbase baseball team.

When he returned from the Air Force, he and his brother, Leland, went to Chicago and worked on a farm in Sycamore. After that, he found a carpentry job at Griffith Labs, went to night school, and became their master carpenter. Mr. Griffith would send him to Lake Geneva in the summer months to work on his deck, boat, and house. 

Mr. Musgrave was also a beekeeper for 55 years, known as "the honey man." He enjoyed working with "his girls," as he called them. In his spare time, he would come back to Burnt Prairie and work on the farm with his brother Allen. Other interests included locksmithing, reading, and fishing in the U.S. and Canada.

According to his former neighbor, Martin Tellalian, Wilburn lived on Jackson Boulevard in Forest Park for many years and was well known by many as a beekeeper and handyman. "He was a great neighbor and was always pleasant and helpful," Tellalian said.

Survivors include two daughters, Patricia (James) Bouchard and Victoria (Gary) Rotell; three grandsons, Donald R. Busch, and Steven and Sean Niece; two great-grandchildren; one sister, Jane Sharp; sisters-in-law Phyllis, Pauline, and Chris Musgrave, along with several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; three grandsons, Kyle Stott, John and Phillip Harlin; five brothers, Allen, Dellos, Carole, Leland, and Coil Musgrave; and one sister, Dorothy Mowry.

Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, at Johnson and Vaughn Funeral Home in Fairfield, Illinois, with burial in Simpson/Musgrave Cemetery, in Burnt Prairie, with full military rites provided by Anthony Wayne Post #176 American Legion and Wayne County Post #4535 VFW. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, June 21 at the funeral home. 

Memorial donations can be made to the Life Fellowship Church of God in Fairfield, and will be accepted at the Johnson and Vaughn Funeral Home, which is in charge of arrangements.

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