Frances Kathrine Anselmo Wilkinson passed away on Saturday, January 30th at Conroe, Texas, surrounded by her devoted family. She was 90.
She was born on January 19, 1920, in Alta Loma, Texas, the seventh child of Domenica Guddemi and Girolamo Anzelmo, who immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island, New York, from Burgio, Sicily, in the early 1900’s.
In 1939, Frances moved to Galveston to help her newly-widowed sister operate a grocery store located on the East End. It was here that she met and married the love of her life, Covy Beard Wilkinson of San Augustine, Texas. They opened Wilkinson’s Grocery and Meat Market in 1946 at 12th and Strand, an establishment that was known for honesty, friendship, and quality meats.
They had four children: Lamar Vincent; Cynthia Marie, Covy Beard, Jr. and Toby Charles, who were the center of their world. Covy and Frances promised each other that they would raise their children as Catholics and ensure that they had a good education. Those promises were kept. The Wilkinson’s were devout Catholics and lifelong members of Sacred Heart Parish. They sent their children to Sacred Heart Elementary, and Kirwin, Dominican, and O’Connell High Schools. Since Frances and Covy had to quit school during the Great Depression, they wanted their children to have the advantages of a college education. Keeping her promise to her husband, she sent her children to college--she didn’t give them an option—where they earned advanced degrees in psychology, law, and education.
In 1955, Covy died unexpectedly at the age of 36, and Frances raised their four children as a single Mother while operating the store. Frances and Covy each had ten siblings, so she had an extended network of support from their Irish and Sicilian families, particularly from her sisters, Josephine and Mary, and brother, Kelly.
In 1968, Frances was forced to move her business to 12th and Postoffice Streets. She operated the store there until September 2008, when Hurricane Ike destroyed her equipment and forced her to permanently close the business. She and Wilkinson’s Grocery and Meat Market are Galveston legends and were institutions on 12th Street for over sixty years. She was a pillar of strength, a model of humility, and an inspiration to everyone who ever met her. She treated all of her customers like they were her family and earned the respect and love of thousands.
She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Covy, and her siblings Mike and Josephine Anselmo; Victoria and Ed Milligan; Pete and Annie Anselmo; Rosalie and Tony Dema; Mary and Charlie Borsellino; Frank Anselmo; Vincent Anselmo; Josephine Anselmo Freeman; and her grandson, Sean Wilkinson.
She is survived by her children, Lamar and Lyndal Wilkinson of Shreveport, Louisiana; Cynthia Marie Wilkinson of Alexandria, Virginia; Covy and Dorothy Wilkinson of Willis, Texas; Toby and Andrea Wilkinson of Greenville, Texas. Her grandchildren include: Andrea Wilkinson; Dana and Bradley Carpenter; Todd and Denise Wilkinson; Brian and Rachael Wilkinson; Kali and John Scheshuk; Mark Wilkinson; Covy Wilkinson III; Matt Wilkinson; Scott Wilkinson; Katherine Wilkinson; Trey and Amy Snyder; and Dustin Snyder. She is survived by 11 great grandchildren: Abigail, Elle, Colin, Hadley, Mary Elizabeth, Katherine, Addison, Jack, Isabelle, Aila, and Phoebe.
She is also survived by her brother, Charles Kelly Anselmo of Santa Fe, Texas, sister-in-law Rosemary Anselmo; sister, Margaret Wilson of Houston, Texas, brother-in-law, Newton Freeman of Galveston; sisters-in-law, Jean Wilkinson of Longview; and Erma Anselmo; niece, Michele Freeman of Austin; niece, Connie Borsellino; niece, Leslie Borsellino; Stacy, Kinley, Kamdyn, Kaden Freeman; numerous other nieces, nephews and cousins; as well as Anzelmo and Guddemi cousins in England, Italy, and her family’s village Burgio, Sicily.
Frances’ family will receive visitors after 5:00 pm, Tuesday, February 2nd, at Malloy & Son Funeral Home. A rosary will be held at 6:30 pm.
Funeral Mass will be 10:00 am, Wednesday, February 3rd, at Sacred Heart Church with Father Frank Fabj as Celebrant. Burial will follow the service at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Dickinson.
Pallbearers are Todd Wilkinson, Brian Wilkinson, Mark Wilkinson, Covy Wilkinson III, Matt Wilkinson and Scott Wilkinson.
Honorary Pallbearers are her nephews Dr. Chip Wilkinson, Paul Borsellino, Jerome Borsellino, Donald Borsellino, Randall Freeman, and Robert Freeman, as well as Andrea Liane Wilkinson, Dana Carpenter, Kali Scheschuk, Katherine Wilkinson, and Michele Freeman.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Holy Family Catholic School (formerly Galveston Catholic School), 2601 Ursuline, Galveston, TX 77550, earmarked for the Deserving Students Scholarship Fund.