TUSCALOOSA | Thelma Crawford Wilkins, known to all as "T.C.", age 93 yrs. 9 days, of Tuscaloosa, died February 26, 2014, at Birmingham. Services will be 2 p.m. Monday, March 3, 2014, at Memory Chapel with Sam Frazier officiating. Burial will follow in Memory Hill Gardens with Memory Chapel Funeral Home, a Dignity Memorial Provider, directing. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the funeral home.
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She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Charles H. T. Wilkins of Tuscaloosa; her sister, Ruth Crawford McFadden of McKeesport, Pa.; her parents, Rev. Harry Lee and Betty Peck Crawford of Washington, D.C.
Survivors include her daughter, Linda Wilkins Kottmeyer and son-in-law, John D. Kottmeyer of Birmingham, Ala.; son, Charles "Chuck" H. T. Wilkins, Jr. of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; grandchildren, Charles "Chip" H.T. Wilkins, III and wife, Courtney Gilespe of Oneonta, Ala.; and great-grandchilren, Lily Grace Wilkins and Chanleigh Addison Wilkins of Oneonta, Ala.
Biography: T.C. was born in Chicago, IL, on February 17, 1921, while her father was studying to become a minister. A few years later the family returned to their Pennsylvania roots when her father became pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Duquesne, near Pittsburgh. T.C. & her sister, Ruth, spent many delightful summers at their great-grandfather's farm in Derry, PA.
Although T.C. was named for her favorite aunt, she never liked her given name. It was a high school friend who started calling her by her initials, and she has been "T.C." to friends & family ever since.
She graduated from Duquesne High School and was studying to become an interior designer at the University of Pittsburgh when WWII broke out. Like many young women, T.C. stopped her studies and joined the war effort, becoming an executive secretary in U.S. Steel's metallurgy department in Duquesne, PA. It was there that several years later she met the love of her life… Charles Henry Tully Wilkins, known to all as Chuck.
Chuck & T.C. married on August 3, 1946, in Duquesne, PA…T.C.'s father officiated.
In 1961, the family moved to Tuscaloosa when Chuck accepted an offer as Head of the Metallurgical Engineering Department at the University of Alabama. While Chuck pursed his teaching, research, and administrative duties, T.C. developed a passion for philanthropic work.
A member of the University Women's Club, she served in numerous capacities, including 25 years on its Scholarship Committee, 23 of those as Scholarship Fund Secretary/Treasurer.
Chosen Guest of Honor for their 2008 University Women's Club annual fund raising dinner, she was awarded a life-time membership for "her untiring dedication to and persistence in establishing a sound fund" which now provides a significant annual scholarship from only the fund's interest.
T.C.'s other passion was the P.E.O. Sisterhood, a philanthropic educational organization for women, based on the principles of friendship and loyalty, whose purposes are charitable and educational, and whose outreach is to women worldwide. Already a member of Chapter F, PA, when she left Pittsburgh, she joined Chapter I, AL, in Tuscaloosa upon her arrival.
She is a charter member & past-president of Chapter N. She was appointed to and served 5 years on the Alabama State Board becoming its 1970-1971 president. Upon completion of her presidential term, she was appointed to a 6 year term on the International Educational Loan Fund Board, serving 2 years as chairman. She was the first Alabama P.E.O. to serve on P.E.O.'s International Board. In her honor, The T.C. Wilkins Scholarship Fund was founded; it awards an annual scholarship in her name through Chapter N, Tuscaloosa, AL.
When Chuck died in 1988, T.C. took over the family ranch in Casper, WY, passing the reins to her daughter in 2008. The ranch is adjacent to the Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park, which is named for Chuck's mother.
T.C. was an active member of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa, for 53 years.
She also was an avid bridge player.
Honorary pallbearers: Joel Dorroh, Alan Hartley, Scott Coogler, Everett Nix & Cathy Carr, Sid Martin, Wayne Williams, Sammy Watson, Members University Women's Club, Members of Covenant Presbyterian Church, Steve Swofford, Stephanie Knight & Employees of Alabama Credit Union, Employees at Pine Valley, P.E.O. Sisters & BILs Chapter N, all of Tuscaloosa; P.E.O. PSP's Alabama; Robert Lee McFadden, Pittsburgh, PA; Marvin L. Bishop, III, & Deb King, Casper, WY; Tim Hicks & Employees at Somerby at St. Vincent's One Nineteen, Dr. Rob Spiegel & Pam Herron, Birmingham
In lieu of flowers: Please make a donation to either The University Women's Club Scholarship Fund or to P.E.O. International s/m The T. C. Wilkins Scholarship Fund.
Published in Tuscaloosa News on Mar. 1, 2014
Arrangements under the direction of:
Memory Chapel Funeral Home
2200 Skyland Blvd East | Tuscaloosa, AL 35405 | (205) 553-1430