Ila Kerkes, a resident of Wickenburg for over 68 years passed away on February 14, 2014 in Sun City West, Arizona at Hospice of the Arizona. Ila was born in Saskatchewan, Canada to Bob and Ethel McConnell on July 21, 1925. She was the youngest of four siblings and often recalled very fond memories of growing up in Mercer, Wisconsin. Following her graduation from Mercer High School, Ila moved to Chicago with her sister Iris where they worked for the Chicago Motor Company. Her parents decided to move to a small town in Arizona called Wickenburg where they secured employment at the Kay El Bar guest ranch. The call of the West beckoned her so she left the light of the big city and relocated with her parents in Wickenburg. Ila's first job in Wickenburg was at the La Cabana as a waitress. She remarked many times that working for Roy and Billie Pemberton at that establishment was the most enjoyable times she ever spent working! She met and worked with people that ended up becoming cherished and lifelong friends. It was there that she met a soft-spoken handsome, dark-haired gentleman bartender named Mitchell Kerkes. They were married on June 21, 1948_in Williams, Arizona. Mitch and Ila raised two daughters, Ronna (Doug) Murray of Glendale, Arizona and Linda (Tony) Melendez of Wickenburg, Arizona. Ila always placed her family first. She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. As a resident and business owner in Wickenburg, Ila got to know many people whom she called her dear friends. She also was leader for Troop 512 of the Girl Scouts of America and left a lasting impression on a good number of her daughter's friends and classmates. Mitch and Ila always opened their home to Linda and Ronna's friends fixing meals and providing hospitality to all. As the owner of two well-known beauty salons in Wickenburg; Ila's Headquarters and Ila's Other Place, she touched numerous lives with her friendly, helpful and generous ways. Truly the epitome of a "people person", Ila was happiest when in the company of friends and soon-to-be-friends! It was once said, "If you met Ilaa friendship would follow". She never knew a stranger! It goes without saying, her genuine joy in life was being in the company of her family first and foremost. She adored her beloved grandchildren Lindsay and Chris Melendez, Matt and Kristen Murray and her great grandchildren Kash, Kingston and Payton Zuniga, Beckett Peebles and Kenadee and Skylar Melendez. Outside of work, you could find her in her kitchen always planning and preparing delicious meals for family and loved ones. Her holiday meals will never be forgotten (especially her scalloped potatoes at the infamous Easter Picnic)! In addition to her daughters and sons-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Ila is also survived by her sister, Lorraine Carr of Wickenburg, lifelong friend Sandra Monroe and extended family Dennis McMillen. She is preceded in death by her parents, Bob and Ethel McConnell, her loving husband, Mitchell, her brother, Ron, her sister, Iris, her granddaughter Misty (Melendez) Peebles and her K-9 companion Moi Toi, but she is happily reunited with all of them now! We will miss our Mom and Grandma, but will always cherish the precious memories and the many ways she impacted our lives forever. Thank you for your sacrifices and everlasting love, Mama. Until we meet again A celebration and remembrance of her life will be held on Friday, April 4, 2014 at 3pm at the Presbyterian Church in Wickenburg, Arizona. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Wickenburg Humane Society.