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Walter William Wilkinson Family


Walter William Wilkinson Family

In 1908 Walter William Wilkinson arrived in Collegeport to look over land his father had bought on speculation. The young real estate agent returned to his native Belmont County, Ohio, to claim his sweetheart as his bride. He was born on January 9, 1887, the -son of John William and Amy Jane Hatcher Wilkinson, and had attended Mt. Union College in Ohio. He and Helen Lenora Gossett, whose birth occurred on January 20, 1892, were married in the home of her parents, John Ellery and Ella Inez McFarland Gossett, on October 21, 1909, at Bannock, Belmont County, Ohio. The newlyweds set out for Texas by train and became part of the "Homeseekers" of Burton D. Hurd's Land Company. They at first stayed in the Collegeport Hotel before securing a home of their own.


Mr. Wilkinson opened his Real Estate-Barber Shop in the growing community, and allowed room for the first public library in the county. Mrs. Wilkinson was a talented musician, and was the only living Charter Member of the Collegeport Women's Club in 1984, at the age of ninety-two.


Mrs. Wilkinson and children often traveled by ferry to Palacios to shop. When they returned to Collegeport, Mr. Wilkinson met them in his Model T. On one trip, she and the four children entered a dry goods store, where she timidly told the clerk she would like to look at some hats. They followed the clerk toward the back of the store, where she began to bring out hats for little girls. Mrs. Wilkinson said, "But I want to see some ladies' hats!" Because of her youthful appearance and petiteness, the clerk had thought she was the older sister of the small children with her, not their mother!


With the discovery of Spindletop and the beginning of the oil boom, Mr. Wilkinson became one of the earliest lease operators, and in 1920-21 drilled the deepest oil well at that time in Matagorda County. In 1922 he moved his family to Bay City where he opened his office upstairs in the Austin Building on the Square. Stricken by a stroke in 1961, he kept up with his business by telephone from his home west of Bay City. He died on April 20, 1968, and was buried in Roselawn Memorial Park, Van Vleck, Texas.


The Wilkinsons were the parents of four children. Walter William, Jr. was born on May 18, 1910, the first boy born in Collegeport. He attended Schreiner Institute in Kerrville, and The University of Texas; and engaged in farming and the oil business. On September 27, 1933, he married Marjorie Jim Bruce, daughter of James Arthur and Lorena May Nolte Bruce, in St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Bay City. They were the parents of two daughters: Jean, who married Dr. Gordon E. Richardson of Bay City; and Helen who married Clyde H. Fitch, Jr. and resided in Corpus Christi. Walter and Marjorie Bruce Wilkinson had six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.


In the fall of 1911 the little family of three returned to Ohio by train where their second son, John Paul, was born on October 25, 1911, at the home of his maternal grandparents at Bannock, Ohio. He was graduated from The University of Texas School of Law, and opened his practice in his father's offices in the Austin Building. He married Lydia Rasmussen on December 18, 1935. She was of Danish ancestry and a native of Nebraska. Their children were Carol Ann, who married Ray Basom of Tucson, Arizona; John Paul, Jr., who married Pamela Fannin on November 14, 1964 and resided in San Antonio; Marion Frances, who married Darrell Reaks Lester and lived in Fort Worth; and Janet Lucille, who married James Corbin Considine on August 18, 1967, and resided in Midland, Texas. Due to the asthmatic condition of his daughter, Carol Ann, John Paul moved his family to Midland, Texas in 1946 where he practiced law and was engaged in the oil business. He died in an automobile accident near Midland, Texas, on October 5, 1957. The posterity of John Paul and Lydia Rasmussen Wilkinson is their eleven grandchildren.


Frances Virginia Wilkinson was born on August 13, 1913 in Collegeport. She attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati, Ohio, and received her Degree in Music from Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana. On September 14, 1935, she married Lyle Lee Cummins, who died on February 20, 1970. Their son, Kent Wilkinson Cummins, resided in New Braunfels.


Robert Jay Wilkinson was born in Collegeport on September 9, 1915. He held a Degree in Journalism from the University of Texas. Following his discharge from the Navy at the end of World War II, he founded the Bay City News of which he was owner-editor. He was later an independent oil lease broker. He married Luceile Huebner on December 28, 1939, at the First Presbyterian Church, Bay City. She was the daughter of Marion Taylor and Lillian Hurst Huebner. Their daughter, Martha, married Clayton Edward Lake, and resided in Las Vegas, Nevada; and their son, Robert Jay Wilkinson, Jr., married Peggy Dianne Menke, and resided in Bay City. Robert Jay and Luceile Huebner Wilkinson had four grandchildren.


Jean W. Richardson & Mrs. Bob Wilkinson


Historic Matagorda County, Volume II, pp 562-563


Collegeport Chronicle, April 4, 1910



Robert J. "Bob" Wilkinson

Robert Jay "Bob" Wilkinson

Robert Jay "Bob" Wilkinson, 84, of Bay City died September 22, 2000 at the Gulf Coast Medical Center in Wharton, Texas. Mr. Wilkinson was born September 9, 1916 in Collegeport, Texas to the late Walter William and Helen Lenora Gossett Wilkinson. He graduated from Bay City High School, where he delivered the salutatory address for the class of 1934. In 1938, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Mr. Wilkinson was elected to SIGMA DELTA CHI, a national honorary and professional journalism fraternity. He worked on The Daily Texan, the university newspaper, writing the first story about the UT tower illuminated in orange following football victories.

Mr. Willkinson played in local dance orchestras, the Bay City Municipal Band, and was a member of the Longhorn Band at The University of Texas.

In 1938 he became sports editor and a news reporter for The Daily Tribune. On December 28, 1939 he married Luceile Huebner, daughter of Lillian Hurst and Marion Taylor Huebner, in the Presbyterian Church of Bay City. On January 1, 1940, he became the editor of The Herald a weekly Bay City newspaper.

With the development of WWII, Mr. Wilkinson joined the United States Navy in 1943 and while stationed at the Corpus Christi Naval Training Center, he was the editor of The Beam, the base newspaper. He left to serve in the Pacific aboard the U.S.S. Lind, with the third and fifth fleets, and at the war's end he was present at the Japanese surrender ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. Following, he served aboard the destroyer U.S.S. English, as part of the occupation force in Japanese waters.

He received his honorable discharge from the Navy in February 1946, and in June of that year published the first issue of the Bay City News. Eleven years later, he sold the Bay City News to devote full time to the oil business with his father.

The Business of W. W. Wilkinson and Sons was dissolved following his father's death in 1968, and Wilkinson became an independent oil operator and lease broker. His son, Robert J. "Bobby" Wilkinson joined him in 1977, becoming the third generation of Wilkinsons in the oil business.

He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, a founding member of the Bay City Country Club and Matagorda County Texas Exes, the Petroleum Club of Houston, and several professional and civic organizations.

Survivors include wife, Luceile; son and daughter-in-law, Bobby and Peggy Wilkinson all of Bay City; daughter and son-in-law, Martha and Clayton Lake of Las Vegas, Nev.; grandchildren, Malynn Ashcraft of Broken Arrow, Okla., Clay Lake of Las Vegas, Nev., Chris Wilkinson and Mindy Wilkinson both of Bay City; great grandchildren, Morgan Reber, Maurice "Buddy" Ashcraft III and Sarah Ashcraft all of Broken Bow, Okla., aunt, Jean Gossett of Salesville, Ohio; brother-in-law, Raleigh Huebner of Bay City; sister-in-law Jean Huebner of Bay City; nephews, Jack Wilkinson, Jr. of Houston, Kent Cummins of Elgin, Texas, Doug and Bill Huebner of Bay City; nieces, Helen Fitch of Corpus Christi, Carol Ann Bascom of Tucson, Ariz., Marion Lester of Fort Worth, Janet Considine of Midland, and Jean Richardson of Bay City.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Virginia Cummins of Bay City; brothers, John Paul Wilkinson of Midland and W. W. Wilkinson, Jr. of Bay City; brothers-in-law, Robert Huebner of Palacios and M. T. Huebner of Bay City.

Funeral Services were at 3 p.m. Monday September 25, 2000, at the First Presbyterian Church in Bay City with the Rev. Allen Anderson officiating. Internment followed at Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Van Vleck. Pallbearers were Chris Wilkinson, Clay Lake II, Clay Lake, Jack Wilkinson, Darrell Hertel and Jack Conner. Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church or the American Cancer Society.

Arrangements were with Taylor Bros. Funeral Home. A00011A2000SP26

THE DAILY TRIBUNE, Tuesday, September 26, 2000


Luceile Huebner Wilkinson
(February 1, 1918 - February 8, 2012)

Luceile H. Wilkinson, 94, of Bay City passed away February 8, 2012. She was born February 1, 1918 in Matagorda County, Texas to the late Marion Taylor Huebner and Lillian Hurst Huebner.

Her husband Bob Wilkinson and brothers Top Huebner, Bob Huebner and Raleigh Huebner all preceded her in death. Survivors include daughter Martha Wilkinson Lake & husband Clay of San Antonio; son Bobby Wilkinson of Bay City; grandchildren Clay Lake II, Malynn Wilkinson Ashcraft, Mindy Mechlem and Chris Wilkinson and great grandchildren Morgan Reber, Elton Maurice Ashcraft, Raleigh Ashcraft, Lillian Ashcraft and Isabella Ashcraft. She is also survived by her loving caretaker Lynn Guynes.

The family will receive friends and relatives from 5pm to 7pm Friday at the funeral home. Funeral service will be 2:00 PM Saturday, February 11, 2012 at the First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Mark Stoub officiating. Interment will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park in Van Vleck. Pallbearers will be Doug Huebner, Richard Knapik, Lindsey Thompson, Torsten Normann-Pererson, Jack Wilkinson and Rusty Green. Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Bay City.


Marker photos courtesy of Faye Cunningham


Copyright 2007 - Present by the Wilkinson Family
All rights reserved

Mar. 3, 2008
Mar. 3, 2008