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Beatrice Wilma WilkinsonMay 21, 1920 ~ July 20, 2017 (age 97)
Gray-Beatrice Wilma Qualey Wilkinson of Shaker Road in Gray, Maine, died on Thursday, July 20, 2017, at the age of 97. Wilma's family adored her and they were by her side. She was born May 21, 1920, at the family homestead of Will and Alta Cook, overlooking Parker Pond, a part of Casco called Shadigee. She was so fond of Casco that on her 97th birthday she enjoyed a ride thru the memorable roads and familiar scenes from the little town of her birth. Wilma was the first child of Charles W. (Bill) Qualey and Alice Cook Qualey.
In her early childhood, she attended school in Casco, Raymond, Portland, and graduated from Pennell Institute, Gray in 1938. As a child Wilma and her mother Alice spent much of their time in different parts of this state where her dad "took to the road" with his "Big Mack'' to work on construction jobs. Then along came "Eddie" and they were married on October 11, 1940. He predeceased her in 1984, at the age 64. They raised three children, Terry, Susan and David. Wilma took care of their home and family, while Ed served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. She and Ed were one of the founding families of St. Gregory's Parish, of which they were lifelong communicants. Ed owned the ESSO station in Gray Center, where Wilma handled all bookkeeping. She later continued her bookkeeping work while supporting Ed as he started his own family business, Wilkinson & Sons Excavating. Wilma and Ed purchased a camper and enjoyed camping in many places along the coast of Maine. They were among the first campers ever offered the opportunity to camp at the weeklong Fryeburg Fair.
Wilma did some traveling. Her furthest venture north being Montreal, furthest south to Barbados, furthest west to Arizona, and furthest east to Eastport, Maine and all the many historical and beautiful places in between. One of the most important spots included the town of Benedicta, Maine, of which her family was one of the founding families when they came from Kilkenny, Ireland. She was very interested in history and her family genealogy. Wilma was an active member of the Pennell Institute Alumni and a Girl Scout leader at one time. She was on the board of trustees of the Gray Village Cemetery. She spent a great many years taking ceramic classes with friends. Wilma enjoyed her flowers and tending her many plants at her home on Shaker Road, where she lived for 65 years.
Wilma's greatest accomplishment was her family. She was blessed with 3 children, 10 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. She spent her entire life surrounded by all of them. She was a constant in their lives and present for all their milestones. The grands and greats brought her so much joy as she watched them all grow. They equally adored her and were very attentive to her all her years. She was lovingly known as "Big Gram." She is survived by her three children, Terry and wife Shirley, Susan and husband Ernest Austin, David and wife Sally, all of Gray; her ten grandchildren, John, Andy, Joel, Adam, Brett, Brady, Blessing, Breanne, Billy and Becky; and her 18 great grandchildren, Elyse, Riley, Sara, Kailey, Emma, Sam, Keagan, Maeve, Daelyn, Ava, Owen, Elaina, Hope, Holden, Hudson, Cecelia, Lydia and Ezra. She is predeceased by her beloved brother Charles W. Qualey Jr. and survived by his wife Barbara of North Anson; her four nieces, Karen, Linda, Joyce and Leanne; two nephews, Charles W. Qualey Ill and Christopher; and several great nieces and nephews. She has many cousins in the area and in Benedicta, Maine.
Visitation will be held 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Wilson Funeral Home, 24 Shaker Road. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Celebrated 11a.m. Wednesday at Saint Gregory’s Parish. Memorial Donations can be made to the Gray Historical Society, P.O. Box 544, Gray, Maine 04039 or Gray Public Library, 5 Hancock Street, Gray, Maine 04039