Cleo Wilborn

Obituary of Cleo Colleen (Kern) Wilborn

Cleo Wilborn's love of life did not end when the Lord took her to her permanent home. Cleo passed away on July 13, 2022, at eighty-eight years old, surrounded by her loved ones, who will continue to honor and celebrate her life by remembering all the good times.

Cleo was born on January 8, 1934. She shared a birthday with her celebrity boy toy, Elvis Presley! Her collection of Elvis memorabilia was mind-blowing, and her house looked like Memphis, New Mexico!

Her favorite part of the day was beer-thirty because it was also time for Jeopardy to start! She always had all those that knew her rolling with laughter with her quick-witted comments, and she could find humor in even the most somber moments and challenging trials. She went out with a bang: reminding her grandson-in-law that he "was dumb for getting involved with this family in the first place,” telling her granddaughter a mix of recounted past stories along with a few tall tales and flirting with the young male paramedics and nurses!

She was an incredibly special woman-a loving, caring person who was a true blessing to her loved ones and all those who had the pleasure of knowing her. She adored her family with all her heart and soul, and the sentiment was more than mutual. Cleo thoroughly enjoyed being a mother and, as a phenomenal cook and seamstress, made her children delicious home-cooked meals and trendy clothes. Always an incredibly hip woman, she often appreciated doing the same for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In addition to her children, many others called 2917 San Diego their home. Warm memories of waking up to the aroma of homemade food and a living room floor full of sleeping bodies still linger. She was always hemming a pair of pants or turning jeans into bell bottoms!

Cleo was born in Goodwin, South Dakota, and Maximillian and Goldie Emmanuel Kern raised Cleo with her sister Bonnie. She grew up in Illinois, bringing about an enthusiasm for the Chicago Cubs later in life. Cleo and her husband, Merle James Wilborn, began their family in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But, while traveling the southwest, she fell in love with Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she and her family settled.

Cleo left behind an incredible legacy chocked full of a dynasty that inherited her wit, humor, creativity, and a bit of playful mischievousness! Bound that she would write a best-seller about her family, her son-in-law frequently reminded her that she was the one who got all this started! Her six surviving children are Renee Huskey, Roxene (Rocky) Lombardelli, Kim Franklin, Merle (Jupe) Wilborn II, Guy Wilborn, and Wade Wilborn.

Fifteen grandchildren also survive her: Jared and Tonya Huskey; Jacqueline Kakos; Michael, Daniel, Mitchell, and Erin Lombardelli and Lisa Avilucea; Merle, Andrea, and Justin Wilborn; Bud and Greg Wilborn; and Ivy Anderson and Rebecca McDermott.

And yes, unbelievably, there's more running around! Additionally, sixteen great-grandchildren survive Cleo: Scot Huskey; Leondra Kakos; Jacob, Joseph, Kayla, Haley, and Austin Lombardelli and James and Alyssa Avilucea; Arianna Jefferson and Savannah Gutierrez; Annaleigh, Raelynn, Reese, and Graham Wilborn; and Willa Anderson.

Cleo also has an additional great-grandchild (Jameson McDermott) and her first great-great-grandchild (Ezera Kakos-Jenkins) on the way!

Instead of a memorial, Cleo requested that her loved ones and friends cheer to a beer, remembering her remarkable life and all the good times!

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Cleo
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Riverside Funeral Home of Albuquerque
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