Cover photo for Catherine "Kitty" Bratton Wilbourne's Obituary
Catherine "Kitty" Bratton Wilbourne Profile Photo
1929 Catherine "Kitty" 2023

Catherine "Kitty" Bratton Wilbourne

April 10, 1929 — February 11, 2023

Formerly of Appleton

Catherine B. "Kitty" Wilbourne, age 93, died peacefully at home in Oak Forest, IL on Saturday evening, February 11, 2023 with her son Hurley and daughter-in–law Patricia by her side.  Catherine was born in Ronceverte, West Virginia on April 10, 1929 daughter of the late DeWitt and Rosa (Barksdale) Bratton. She soon after moved and was raised in Craigsville Virginia. On April 13, 1950, the former Catherine Bratton became the bride of Preston H. Wilbourne Sr., in Roanoke, Virginia.

Kitty, as most knew her, was a devoted wife and travel companion to Preston Sr.  She was known by many as the first lady of Air Wisconsin, where Preston Sr. spent most of his career, and is credited by many for contributing to his success.  Her greatest joys in life were her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  She also enjoyed,  and was proud of her time volunteering at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Appleton.

She attended and raised her children in the Methodist church.   Kitty never met a stranger, and charmed all who knew her–from nurses, to sales clerks, to her many dear friends.  She always had a joke or story at the ready to lighten any situation.  She demonstrated how to grow old with grace, dignity, perseverance, and a sense of humor. She was young at heart, and proudly  dressed in style.  She was often described  as “one classy woman.”    Her family described her as mom, and grandma, and great grandma–which was who she was at heart.

Survivors include her five children, eleven grandchildren and four great grandchildren: John (Peggy) Wilbourne of West Valley City, Utah, and children Angeline (Jason) Gallmeier and children Julian and Preston, and Catherine, Jacqueline (Brian) Swickard and child Rose, and Hailey Wilbourne; Cathy Wilbourne of Kernersville, North Carolina and  children Elizabeth and Rebekah Ehrhardt; Preston (Kanda) Wilbourne, Jr. of Sandy, Utah; Hurley (Patty) Wilbourne of Oak Forest, IL and their children Sean, Cassidy (Brandon) and child Jack, and Shannon Wilbourne; and Amy Wilbourne and  children Preston and Neve Carr, relatives, and many friends.  Catherine was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years Preston H Wilbourne Sr., parents DeWitt and Rosa Bratton and brother DeWitt (Ethel) Bratton and sisters: Gladys (Wallace) Kelly and Margaret (Tom) Ayres.

Funeral services for Catherine will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday February 20, 2023 at FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, corner of Franklin and Drew Streets in Appleton. Entombment will follow at Highland Memorial Park. Friends may call at the Wichmann Funeral Home, located at 537 N. Superior Street in Appleton on Sunday February 19 from 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM, and again Monday morning at the church from 10:00 AM until the time of the service.

The family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to everyone at Bickford of Tinley Park, IL for their love and concern. Your compassion and kindness will never be forgotten.




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Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, February 19, 2023

2:00 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Monday, February 20, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

First United Methodist Church

325 E Franklin St, Appleton, WI 54911

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At Rest

Monday, February 20, 2023

12:30 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

Appleton Highland Memorial Park

3131 N Richmond St, Appleton, WI 54911

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