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December 7, 1926 ~ August 25, 2023 (age 96) 96 Years Old
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Evelyn Briggs Wilson of Clarksville, MD, died from complications of dementia on August 25, 2023. Mrs. Wilson, a retired Media Specialist with Howard County Schools, died peacefully in her sleep, attended by family. She was 96.
Elizabeth Evelyn Briggs was born in her parents' home in Burnsville, N.C. on December 7th, 1926. Both of her parents, Dawson and Clara Banks Briggs, were teachers. Despite being an only child, Evelyn grew up surrounded by cousins and young aunts and uncles. She remembered that, although the Great Depression wiped out their family's savings, they never felt poor. She remembered buying the first refrigerator in the neighborhood, having family over to listen to the Grand Ole Opry on radio, and seeing Gone With the Wind premier in Asheville.
Pearl Harbor was attacked on Evelyn's fifteenth birthday. Summers during the War, Evelyn and her parents traveled to Washington, DC, where they all worked for the defense effort. Even though she was under-age, Evelyn passed the civil service exam and worked as a typist.
Evelyn attended Mars Hill College and Greensboro Woman's College, and, like her parents, became a a teacher. She taught English and French at Burnsville High School. On faculty there was her childhood friend Edwin Wilson, who was filling in as a math teacher while studying engineering at the brand-new UNC College Center in Burnsville and later at N.C. State. The two began quietly dating.
In April, 1952, Edwin, a World War 2 veteran, was called back to active duty for the Korean War. Plans for a summer wedding were stepped up. The closing of County schools for a week in March due to a Scarlet Fever outbreak provided an opportunity. Evelyn and Edwin eloped to Greenville, S.C. Family legend has it that Evelyn's students suspected the secret marriage and locked their young teacher in a closet until she confessed to marrying Mr. Wilson. Evelyn finished the school year at Burnsville High before leaving to join her husband in Texas.
After Edwin's tour as an instructor ended, the couple shared a teaching job in Micaville, N.C. beginning in December, 1953. Edwin was unavailable until February, so Evelyn returned from Texas ahead of him and took the job for two months.
That summer, they moved to Bristol, TN. where Edwin went to work for Sperry in Bristol, TN. Their daughter Susan was born there in October, 1955. Further engineering jobs led them on to New York (where their son Charles was born in Rochester in April, 1958), Pennsylvania and Virginia (where their youngest son Steven was born in August, 1965.)
The family finally settled in Clarksville, MD, where Edwin joined the staff of the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab. Evelyn returned to school at the University of Maryland, College Park, completing a Master's Degree in Library Science in 1971. She became a media specialist for the Howard County School System, retiring in 1983 after eleven years at Guilford Elementary School. She and Edwin founded a consulting firm which they operated for the next twelve years. Edwin died in May, 2017, after celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.
Evelyn was a founding member and longtime treasurer of Simpsonville's Holiday Hills Baptist Church (later Rolling Hills Baptist Church in Clarksville.) She loved travelling, reading mystery novels and crossword puzzles.
Evelyn is preceded in death by her parents, Dawson and Clara Briggs, her stepmother Joe Coffey Briggs, her granddaughters Elizabeth Cecile Parker and Jessica Lynn Headlee, and her husband, Col. Charles Edwin Wilson, Sr. USAF (Ret). She is survived by her children, Susan Wilson Parker, Charles E. Wilson, Jr., and Steven H. Wilson (Renee); her grandchildren, Jamison Parker, Andrew Parker (Nicole), Dawson Parker, Patrick Wilson, Ethan Wilson (Rachel) and Christian Wilson; and her great-grandchildren, Leighton Parker, Cole Parker, Matthew Wilson, Chase Parker and Aubrey Wilson
The family will receive friends at Harry H. Witzke’s Family Funeral Home, 4112 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, from 5 – 8pm. Interment was private. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Yancey County Public Library.