Alma passed away on Sunday, October 16, 2016 at age 93 in Tempe, Arizona. She was born on September 11, 1923 in Houston, Texas, the only daughter of Rudolph Lewis and Patricia Shannon Gaden and sister to 2 brothers and 2 half-brothers who all called her “Sis.” Alma graduated from Marion College in Indiana and worked as a stewardess for Chicago and Southern Airlines. She met the love of her life when her brother frequently brought his US Marine buddies home for visits. Alma married John Holroyd Wilkinson on March 15, 1947 in Houston, Texas. Alma and her husband raised a large family while Jack served with the Marines for 20 years, including World War II and The Korean War and while the family made several cross-country moves. Upon Jack’s retirement from the military, the family moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1962 and all remain in the Valley today. Alma is survived by her seven children: Patricia Lynn (Ron Johnson); John Holroyd, Jr. (Sharon Price); Holly Jane; Joanne Marie (Charlie Lee); Thomas Gaden (Debbie Johnston); David Malcolm (Cherie Miller) and Brian Allen. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren: Ryan Johnson (Jennifer Dougherty) and Micah Johnson (Vanessa Lejarraga); Erin, Wyatt, Caitlin, Zachary, Katie, Tavis and Traise Wilkinson; Madeline and Shannon Lee; and 2 great-grandchildren: Julia and Isabella Johnson and another on the way. Those who knew Mom, Nana, Alma, “Aunt Sis,” loved her for her infectious good nature, unconditional love, endless hospitality and her sincere enjoyment of good company. She maintained a positive attitude and an ability to always find the brightest side of any situation. While raising her family and through her retirement years, Alma enjoyed a busy and fulfilled life working and giving of herself: volunteering with the PTA and Little League, teaching Special Education, making quilts for the Christ Child Society, enjoying time with her bridge club and “stitch” groups and planning frequent family get-togethers. She ended her life surround by beloved family members. The family is forever grateful for the love and attention from the caregivers at Adult Transitions, Inc. Tempe and Hospice of the Valley. Alma will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her. Rest in peace.
A Visitation will be held at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Road, on Thursday, October 27, 2016 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm with a Scripture Service at 6:00 pm. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Theresa Catholic Church, 5045 E. Thomas Road, Friday, October 28, 2016 at 10:00 am with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Alma’s honor to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014 or The Christ Child Society, 4633 N. 54th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85018.