Frances  Gilkerson

Obituary of Frances Siddall Gilkerson

Frances Siddall Gilkerson died at home on May 3, 2019.

Mrs. Frances S. Gilkerson was born on October 29, 1924 in Sumter, SC.  She is predeceased by her parents, Thomas Henry Siddall Sr. and Mary Haynsworth Siddall; and her brother, Thomas Henry Siddall Jr.  She is survived by her husband, William Richard Gilkerson; and her daughters, Mary B. Gilkerson, Harriet H. Gilkerson and Julia S. Gilkerson.  She is also survived by two grandchildren, Richard Francis Campbell (Michelle) and Julia La Roche Gilkerson (Chris); and one great-grandchild, William Clarence Campbell. 

She was a graduate of Sumter High School, attended Winthrop College and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Art.  Before marriage, she worked at the Medical University of South Carolina and as a secretary at Sumter Machinery Company.

She met the love of her life one fine spring in 1956 and married him that fall.  For the next 63 years, they spent their lives together making a loving home for family and friends.  She combined a love of the creative with a lifelong interest in the natural world. She passed on that curiosity in the world around us and a fierce independence to each of her children. Her family and friends were often the recipients of wonderful water color illustrations for major life events.  She entertained her children, friends’ children and her many nieces and nephews with wonderful stories that captured her sense of the magic at the heart of nature. She instilled a love of reading (especially English murder mysteries) in her children that continued until her eyesight failed.  Her family lovingly gave her the nickname “She who must be obeyed”, a nod to her love of Rumpole of the Bailey series/books by John Mortimer.  She was notorious for changing the subject of a potentially heated discussion by pointing out an interesting bird that she “noticed” out in the yard. 

She was an amazing, smart, funny, complicated woman who was/is loved by her family and friends for all of her stellar qualities and her flaws that made her human.  She has left a legacy of 3 daughters, all healers in their own ways: an artist whose work celebrates the Natural World, healing the soul; a hydrogeologist whose work has been protecting and healing the water and this Earth we share; and a veterinarian who has cared for the animal kingdom. We will miss her every day that we draw a breath on this earth.  But each dawn, each flight of a bird that we see and every breeze rustling the leaves that we feel, will remind us of this remarkable woman.  And we will be glad in our hearts that we knew her.

Thompson Funeral Home is assisting the family. The family will host a gathering in the near future to remember and celebrate the life of Frances S. Gilkerson.  To honor her memory, the family requests that family and friends make a donation to their favorite charity if they so desire.  Two of her particular favorites were Pets Inc. and Harvest Hope Food Bank.  She would also be delighted if small random acts of kindness were done in her memory.

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