Frances Wilkins

Frances Wilkins

Friday, February 17th, 1939 - Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
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"Some glad morning when this life is over I'll fly away
To that home on God's celestial shore I'll fly away"

Mrs. Frances Gaither Wilkins, of 705 Brevard Street, Statesville was born in Iredell County February 17, 1939 to the late Loren Patterson Gaither Houston and the late George “Sweet” Hickman.
An Iredell county sports legend and pioneering daycare provider Frances Wilkins passed away on
Wednesday April 1. She was a standout in county softball for over 30 years on the St. Joseph Church's
recreation league team . The stories of her athletic achievements were first started at Unity High
School. While at Unity High she excelled academically also by graduating Salutatorian. She later
attended Livingston College in Salisbury, NC were she played basketball and tennis.
If notoriety for sports and academics were not enough, Frances was also known for her strong gospel
singing voice. She was a longtime choir member and was often asked to perform solos at other local
Later in life she helped establish and run one of Iredell County's first minority operated childcare
facility Ruthie's Daycare Center. For over twenty-five years Mrs. Frances (as she was called) was able
to provide care, influence, and often first time jobs to hundreds of local families. Many of the alumni
and former youth employees at Ruthie's Daycare have went on to have very successful lives.
Frances Gaither Wilkins was born in Iredell County February 17, 1939 to the late Loren Patterson
Gaither Houston and George “Sweet” Hickman. She was preceded in death by her longtime husband
Willie Wilkins Jr., two loving daughters Joyce Kimberly Wilkins and Pamela Loree Currence. She was
also preceded by a brother Johnny Gaither Sr., mother in-law Floree Haney Wilkins, a foster sister
Beulah Brown, an aunt Eula Hickman Daniels, nephews Carl Brown and Tyree Dalton, and foster
parents Geneva and AJ Robinson who raised her.
She is survived by sons: Kenneth Wilkins (LaChay), Victor Wilkins, and Ronald Wilkins (Eva), her one
and only son in-law: Gregory Currence Sr., two lifelong loving sisters: Josephine Parks and Flora
Griffin, an aunt: Connie Patterson, special grandchildren: Gregory Currence Jr. (Shirelle), Charre
Currence, Roneisha Wilkins, Sierra Wilkins, Chandler Rhyne, and Letisha Lewis, great grandchildren:
Traven Lassiter, Cameron Smith, Jada McCain, Elijah Lacy, Julian Speller, Essence Whiteside and
Deldrick Lewis.
She would like to acknowledge her nieces and nephews whom she helped raise: Phyllis, Paulette,
Ernestine, Albert “Benny”, Karen, Tracy, Lorna, Alisha, Sharon, Yvette, Johnny “Toby”, Cathy, Chris,
Derrick, Robin, Trivia, Lavetta, Richard “Zeke”, Jesse, Johnny, Sam, Elaine, David, and Georgellen.
Special God Sons: Scottie Tucker, Vinson Smith, Sonny Schofield, Marcus Stevenson, Anthony
Stevenson, Brian Stevenson, Isaac Johnson, and Keith Lawrence.
Foster Grandkids: Donna Johnson, David Rucker and Errick Davis
Family Friends: Mildred Scott, Ethel Mae Gaither, Dolleither Daniels, Gabby McClellan, Punchie
Starks, Becky, Tammy Rhyne, Joyce, the Johnson family, Jason and Tabitha.
Special CNA Care: Wanda McCombs and Stella Johnson
Special Family Medical Care: Trivia Griffin (Nurse Practitioner)
Special Medical Donors: Terry and Lorna Parks
Special Doctors: Dr. Harlan Hicks and Dr. Jean-Claude Hyppolite
Special former Daycare Employees: Mrs. Flora, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Ruthie, Mrs. Nichols, Mrs. Gloria,
Mrs. Carrie Bell, Aunt Lucille, Mrs. Caldwell, Mrs. Reek, Ernestine Perrin, Karen Perrin, Mick Miller,
Freddie Williams, Sidney Morrison, Chris Daniels, Jimmy Lackey...and many others.
Special Everyday Love & Care: Eva Wilkins (daughter in-law)

Celebration of Life Services will be conducted Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Baptist Church. Reverend Thomas Dye will officiate and Reverend Darrick Clemons will eulogize. Burial will follow in the Church Cemetery.
Mrs. Wilkins will remain at Rutledge and Bigham Funeral Home.

There is NO PUBIC VISITATION, HOWEVER GENERAL public viewing will begin Monday, April 6, 2020 until 7:00 p.m. and resume on Tuesday morning, April 7, 2020, until taken to the church to lie in state at 12:00 noon.
Visit the Book of Memories for Mrs. Wilkins at Rutledge and Bigham Funeral Home is serving the Wilkins Family.

Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 Virus we, at Rutledge and Bigham Funeral Home, along with other funeral homes across the country, have been issued a mandate to limit the number of family and/or friends at funeral services. YOU CAN ONLY ENTER THE FUNERAL WITH A FUNERAL PASS WHICH WILL BE GIVEN TO THE FAMILY.
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Memorial Program

We have provided a digital copy (PDF) of the Memorial Program that we supply at the time of the service. To Download this file please click the filename below. Frances Wilkins - Memorial Program

Service Details

  • Service

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 | 1:00pm
    Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 1:00pm
    St Joseph Baptist Church
    413 Trinity Road
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Reverend Darrick Clemons
    Reverend Perry Dye
  • Interment

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 |
    Tuesday, April 7th, 2020
    St Joseph Baptist Church
    413 Trinity Road
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
Vanessa Dalton-Peele and Red, Pam, Von, Pee, Net & Family sent flowers to the family of Frances Wilkins.
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Juanita Norman

Posted at 10:13pm
Miss Frances was the essence of love for many children and their parents. My son was blessed to be one of her daycare children. She had such energy and compassion. The family and friends have much to remember and emulate. We offer our condolences and as God continues to Bless all of you and comfort you all during this time.
Marvin and Juanita Norman .

Tilda Stevenson Bruce

Posted at 05:39am
Miss Frances, as we all called her was such a beautiful person with a wonderful voice. She wasn't just a daycare worker, she was a neighbor, a friend and a mother with a lot of extended children allowing Kim and Pam to have sooooo many brothers; including my own son, Marcus who loved her dearly. She will truly be missed but GOD knows best. To the family, you are in our thoughts and prayers even though we could not be there. With Love and Blessings, Tilda Stevenson Bruce

Sandra C

Posted at 08:14am
Sending my deepest condolences to the Wilkins family. Vic I am sorry to hear about your Mother's death. She will be dearly missed by the community. May you find comfort knowing that our Heavenly Father cares for you and he will comfort you during this time. (2Corinthians 1:3,4) As we look to the future we can await God's promises at Isaiah 33:24 and Revelations 21:3-5 when there will be no one getting sick, no more pain, and even death will be no more. May you have peace. Many prayers are with the family.

Vanessa Dalton-Peele

Posted at 02:25pm
My sincere sympathy to the Wilkins family, thinking of you in this difficult time.
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Vanessa Dalton-Peele purchased the Love's Journey for the family of Frances Wilkins. Send Flowers


Posted at 06:47am
We are so sorry for your loss. Out thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Henry & Faye Shephard

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