Bessegene Little Wilkinson, age 97, was called home on February 26. She was born February 22, 1922, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Mr. and Mrs. Eugene J. Little.
She attended Tulsa schools until her father found work in the oil industry in Longview, TX. The family moved to Corpus Christi where Bessegene graduated from Corpus Christi High School in 1939. After attending Texas Women’s University and Del Mar College, she married the love of her life Clarence Oscar Wilkinson on February 14, 1942.
Bessegene graduated from the University of Corpus Christi with a degree in secondary education in 1966, and began a teaching career in special education specializing in homebound education. She was empathetic to her homebound students and encouraged them to excel in their studies and in their lives.
Until his death, she cared for her invalid son James Clarence Wilkinson (Jimmy) who suffered from multiple sclerosis. She later also cared for her husband Clarence who suffered from cancer until his death.
Bessegene has been a member of First Methodist Church since 1938, where she also sang in the choir until the late1950’s. She was an active member of the Corpus Christi Retired Teachers’ Association and served as president from 1995-1997. She also organized the annual essay contest for the Corpus Christi Mayflower Society. Bessegene was an avid collector of dolls, antiques and other vintage collectibles.
She is survived by her children Mary Anne Wilkinson of Corpus Christi (Bill Samelson); George R. Wilkinson of Houston (Ellen Johnson); grandchildren Keith Anthony Marrocco and Julia Wilkinson Manley (Jesse); granddaughter Emily Ann Wilkinson; great grandson Marlowe Clarence Manley; and sister in law Mary Jane Wilkinson of Corpus Christi.
She was predeceased by her parents Mr. and Mrs. Eugene J. Little, her husband Clarence, her sister Mary Little Steffen of Phoenix, her grandson Eric Wilkinson of Houston, and her brother-in-law George M. Wilkinson of Corpus Christi.
The family would like to thank the staff at Holmgreen Center for 12 years of care for Bessegene, and Sam Sanchez and Garden House Residential Assisted Living and Lydia from Christus Spohn Hospice for their care in her last days.
A graveside service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, at Seaside Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Colorado Conservatory of Dance (3001 Industrial Lane #12, Broomfield, Colorado 80020 ); the James C. Wilkinson Endowed Scholarship at the Texas A&M Foundation (401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840); or to the charity of choice. Donations should note “In memory of Bessegene Wilkinson.”