Carnations 3

Grace M Wilkinson

September 23, 1917 ~ March 10, 2022 (age 104)

Obituary

Grace Marie Wilkinson, 104, known to many as “Our Amazing Grace”, passed away on March 10, at home in Erie, in the presence of her daughters and son-in-law. 

Born on a farm in 1917 in Bucks County, Pa, she was the daughter of Erwin and Sallie Strawn. During the early part of her life she lived In Lansdale.  Among her memories from that period in her life was that of sewing seams in nylon stockings at the nearby hosiery mill, something in which she took great pride. She was the first of her group of girlfriends to get a driver’s license, often transporting friends to and from their various gathering places, including the beaches of the Jersey Shore.

She married Clarence ”Shorty” Wilkinson in 1941, and in 1952, they and their two daughters moved to Distant, PA, where he became the Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Southwest Game Farm. There Grace created a wonderful loving home for her family and began the tradition of Saturday night spaghetti dinners.  She welcomed many others over the years into their home, greeting each one with some of her fresh out-of-the-oven baked goods or a bowl of some of her delicious homemade vegetable soup.  Much of what she cooked over the years was a product of her bountiful vegetable gardens of which she was so proud, especially her asparagus bed. 

She also exhibited her extraordinary culinary skills during the 20 years she worked as a baker in Redbank Valley High School’s cafeteria. Students and staff remember with fondness the rolls and desserts that she made and always served up with one of her hallmark smiles. 

Not long after moving to Western Pennsylvania, Grace and Shorty joined the First Baptist Church in New Bethlehem and made the church a focal point in their lives.  For years, they led the church’s youth group, opening their hearts and home to many young people, helping them build faith-based lives.  After Shorty’s death in 1975, Grace remained very active in the church serving on the church’s mission society, women’s society and coordinating many, many church dinners. 

Grace was also very active in her community volunteering at the local thrift shop, working at civic club fundraisers and beautifying the town’s landscape through her participation in the Garden Keepers.  She also enjoyed many special friendships over the years she spent in New Bethlehem including her walking group, the Walkie Talkies; the women in her Koffee Klatch Club; and of course, her Red Hat friends. 

In 2011, Grace began living alternately with her daughter in Oil City and her daughter in Erie and then, in 2021, began living full time in Erie. In both locations, she maintained a faith-filled life, attending First Presbyterian Church when in Oil City and Wayside Presbyterian Church when in Erie. She could also be counted on to sing along, without the aid of a hymnal, the words of her favorite hymns.

In addition to her husband, Grace was preceded in death by her sister, Ruth Delp and brother-in-law, Ellis Delp.  Surviving to cherish her memories are two daughters, Sallie Johnson (Gordon) of Oil City, PA and Linda Wilkinson of Erie, PA; a granddaughter, Dr. Michelle Pierce of Salem, MA; niece Deborah (Delp) Neves and her husband John; and nephew E. Richard Delp and his wife, Susan in Eastern PA, along with their children and grandchildren; and a host of special friends in New Bethlehem, Erie, and Oil City.

The family also wishes to thank her many caregivers, especially Loni Stratton, Lea Jolley, and Oil City Healthcare and Rehabilitation for the love and care they provided to Grace in the past several years, along with the many friends who supported Grace’s daughters as they cared for her in their homes.

A viewing will be held from 3-7 pm on Monday, March 14, 2022, at the Rupert Funeral Home and Cremation Service chapel, 233 Penn Street, New Bethlehem, and again, on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 from 10 am until the time of the service at 11 am at First Baptist Church, 249 Broad Street in New Bethlehem.  Grace will be laid to rest at Oakland Cemetery, Distant, immediately following the service, after which there will be a luncheon at the church.

In lieu of flowers, please perform a simple act of kindness towards someone as a way to honor Grace and how she lived her life or with a donation in Grace’s name to the First Baptist Church, 249 Broad Street, New Bethlehem, PA; the Redbank Renaissance Garden Keepers, 209 Lafayette Street, New Bethlehem, PA or to a charity of one’s choice. 

Online condolences may be sent to Grace’s family at www.rupertfuneralhomes.com

 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Grace M Wilkinson, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Monday
March 14, 2022

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Rupert Funeral Home and Cremation Service
233 & 301 Penn Street
New Bethlehem, PA 16242

Visitation
Tuesday
March 15, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
New Bethlehem First Baptist Church
249 Broad Street
New Bethlehem, PA 16242

Funeral Service
Tuesday
March 15, 2022

11:00 AM
New Bethlehem First Baptist Church
249 Broad Street
New Bethlehem, PA 16242

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