Caroline K. (Kirby) Wilson
February 12, 1942 – December 17, 2016
Caroline K. (Kirby) Wilson, age 74, of Elkton, MD, passed away peacefully at home, with her family by her side, on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
Born in Cincinnati, OH on February 12, 1942, she was the daughter of the late John and Louise (Mills) Kirby. Caroline graduated from historic Withrow High School in Cincinnati. As a young person, she dreamed of becoming a Rockette; fortunately for her many future grade school students, she was one inch too short for the job, so she made a practical choice to become a school teacher. At the University of Cincinnati School of Arts and Sciences, Caroline majored in Education and was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, serving one year as president. She began her teaching career at Oak Park Elementary School in Cincinnati.
After marrying chemical engineer Frederic Wilson in 1965, the young couple moved to Greenville, NC where Caroline earned a Masters of Education from Eastern Carolina University with a minor in Fiber Arts. During this time she worked at Elmhurst Elementary School in Greenville and also pursued her love of textile arts. She was engaged by the DuPont Company to demonstrate the artistic potential of novelty polyester yarns in a hand woven tapestry and she constructed “soft sculpture” art, working by hand and on a full sized loom.
Her next adventure was in Delaware where she worked in the Christina School District to support her husband in a University of Delaware PhD program. After the birth of her daughter, Erin, in 1971, the young family moved to Landenberg, PA.
Ten years and three more moves later, the family settled in Elkton, MD. Caroline collaborated on the design of the Wilson’s lovely contemporary home in Fair Hill, where she resided for 36 years until her death. Until 2008, she worked in the Avon Grove School District, teaching at Kemblesville Elementary, Penn London Elementary, and Avon Grove Intermediate School. Caroline was well known in Avon Grove District for developing and instructing a special class called Creative Wonders (CW). It was no accident that the program CW was given the same initials as Caroline Wilson herself. Whether the students were walking in nature, making Christmas ornaments for Jenners Pond residents or Longwood Gardens, building electrical circuits, or observing tessellations, the students and faculty of Penn London learned from Caroline. During this time, Caroline also continued her life long interest in painting, fibers, ceramics, loom woven fabrics, paper making, and soft sculpture. She was an award winning artist, participated in John Clayton Hall art shows, and was a member of the American Craft Council.
As an avid collector, Caroline was always looking for pieces to add to her elegant collections, which included Santa Claus figures, Christmas decorations, hand woven baskets, ceramic pottery, and the art of Africa and other indigenous populations.
In the tristate area, Caroline was a member of the Newark YMCA, the Pike Creek Court Club, and the Hockessin Athletic Club. She was also active with the Delaware Orchid Society and a lifelong member of Longwood Gardens.
Caroline’s beautiful face, her energetic demeanor and her creative mind blessed us all. She is survived by husband of 51 years, Dr. Frederic T. Wilson; daughter, Erin Detwiler (Michael); brother, Jack Kirby; sisters, Winifred Tabor and Norma Grosse; and grandchildren, Ian and Aidan Sweeney.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 1 pm until 2 pm on Sunday afternoon, February 12, 2017 at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 W. Park Place, Newark, DE, where a memorial service will be held at 2 pm.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Caroline’s memory may be made to The Lewy Body Dementia Association at www.LBDA.org.