Winifred McMillen Wilson was born at home in Shelby Springs, Alabama on November 15, 1919 and died January 2, 2014. She lived in Durham for 72 years: on Oakland Avenue, then David Street, and for 14 years at Croasdaile Village, moving from independent living to assisted living to the skilled nursing facility as her health declined.
Winnie grew up mostly in Alabama with a short time in Maryland, the youngest of four children. During the Depression she and her brother and sisters all had to work hard to pay college and living expenses at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. While working in the guest house at Berry she was proud that she served dinner to many, including Henry Ford and the Governor of Georgia. She was valedictorian of her class, as were her two sisters before her.
Winnie met Cullum Wilson at Berry and they married in 1942. She moved with him to Durham where they both taught school. Her teaching career was put on hold when a daughter Pat and, later, son David were born. She went back to work in 1964, teaching at Brogden Junior High for another 20 years until her retirement.
She was an accomplished seamstress, making and tailoring all of her own and Pat’s clothes; she passed that love of sewing on to Pat. She was a wonderful cook who was always trying new recipes. The decorated Christmas cookies she and Cullum made together were eagerly anticipated by their circle of friends and neighbors.
First Baptist Church was an important part of her and Cullum’s life as they sang in the choir for over 50 years. She taught children’s classes and led a women’s Sunday School class for many years. Members of the church were their best friends.
Family was central to her. She and Cullum celebrated 63 years of marriage before his death in 2005. Their children Pat Thomas of Raleigh and David Wilson of Gadsden, Ala., her grandchildren, John Paul Toronto and Katie Wilson Birmingham, and her son-in-law, Mike, and daughter-in-law, Paula, shared in that love.
A graveside service will be held 2:30pm Sunday January 5th at Maplewood Cemetery in Durham. In lieu of flowers the family requests a contribution in Winnie Wilson’s honor to a charity of your choice which supports young people.
The Wilson family wishes to extend a special thank you to the staff and caregivers at Croasdaile Village for their care, help and support throughout the years.
Arrangements for the Wilson family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences www.hallwynne.com, select obituaries.