Pam Francis Wilson
Pamela Francis Wilson, 65, beloved daughter, sister and aunt, passed away peacefully at her home and went to be with Christ on July 18, 2020 while recovering from a surgery.
She was born in Houston, Texas on October 12, 1954, and survived by her parents, Joanne Guest Wilson and Welcome W. Wilson, Sr., who have been married for 70 years. Pam grew up in Denton and Houston, with her four surviving siblings, Welcome Wilson, Jr. (Anita), Cindi Proler Ray (Sam), Craig Wilson (Lisa), and Joanne Wilson Castleberry. She was named "Favorite Aunt Pam" by her nieces and nephews, David Proler, Christina Wilson Altenau (Matt), Ryan Proler (Misty), Courtney Wilson McGregor (Hamish), Preston Proler (Taryn), Lauren Garrow (Adam), Kelly Wilson, Demi Wilson, AnnaCatherine Wilson, Elizabeth Castleberry Patton (Chase), Wilson Castleberry, Welcome Wilson III, Maryclaire Wilson, Jackson Castleberry, Christian Castleberry and Ava Wilson, as well as fifteen great nieces and nephews and numerous other extended family. She was Godmother to David Proler, Courtney McGregor and Ava Wilson.
Pam's love of animals began at an early age with her English equitation riding at Tri-Oaks Stables and later Western riding on the Salt Grass Trail Ride. She adored her dogs, Annie, Allard, Daisy, Pepper and Molly, her cat Noah, and her horses, Royal Echo on Parade, Sundance, Segovia and Bambino. Her favorite moments were spent outdoors.
She attended Kolter Elementary and the Kinkaid School where she was a cheerleader for seven years, played basketball, and was a straight-A student. She attended Rollins College and graduated from The College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas in Austin in 1977. Upon graduating, she developed her first business, Pam Wilson Graphics. In the 80's, after marrying a National Geographic photographer, her true passion for the medium was ignited. She went from being an Artistic Director to a world renowned Editorial and Advertising award winning photographer. Her portfolio includes multiple United States Presidents, Governors, Mayors, Chancellors, Hollywood Stars, Sports Figures, Music Moguls, Museum Directors, CEOs, NASA, and The Houston Texans. Her photographs have been featured in many national magazines and on publication covers, including Fortune, Time, People, Texas Monthly, Continental Airlines Magazine and many others. Some of her most famous subjects include Beyonce, B.B. King, Dennis Quaid, Kevin Costner, Lyle Lovett, J.J. Watt, George Foreman, George Strait, and Oscar Wyatt among many, many others. Her first studio was in the original 1913 DePelchin Faith Home building in Midtown, where she lived and worked for 15 years. She loved the neighborhood and once said, "This place has been the heart, the soul, the center of my universe." Pam Francis, Houston Press article.
Later she transformed a historic home in Hyde Park into a working studio. From there, Pam went on to develop three other businesses; Turn to Texas (website for artistic directors and photographers), Real People (a modelling agency in which she curated non models for photo shoots) and Hyde Park Studio (a venue for photographers, commercial and personal events). Pam was a true entrepreneur. When there was a need, Pam found a solution.
Pam volunteered her talents for many charities, including K9s4Cops, The Children's Assessment Center, Memorial Hermann Children's Hospital, HSPCA (taking free pet photos off Allen Parkway for donations ), Habitat for Humanity (donating large entry framed family portraits for over 65 families displaced and given homes after Hurricane Katrina), AAMA, Young Learners, Bonita House of Hope, Denver Harbor Clinic, Barbara Bush Literacy Campaign as well as many others too numerous to mention. She never said no to a cause to help the homeless, children or animals.
Pam always supported her family's interests in all of their endeavors. She photographed the University of Houston Board of Regents, Chancellor Renu Khator, as well as the official photograph of the University of Houston mascot, Shasta. She also photographed the Board of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Many billboard campaigns included the "GOT TICKETS" for the Houston Texans, the Houston Food Bank "GREEN APPLE" and Compaq computers. Her works received numerous professional awards, often being known as "the Annie Leibovitz of Texas".
Pam was a beautiful, generous & loving Christian who enjoyed life with a passion - helicopters in Russia, skydiving in the US and Australia, driving the yellow jeep with top down, motorcycling, riding in the Salt Grass Trail Ride and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade. She was an avid athlete with a competitive drive, holding records at The Texas Club, the Houstonian Club, as well as the Transco Tower Stair Climb. Her devotion to animals' rights and activism was outstanding. She loved to travel and experience different cultures which showed in her work. She had a deep love and caring for all humanity, especially those most afflicted by misfortune. Everyone was a friend and made to feel more at ease, more important and more beautiful and she was able to capture that on film.
Friends & family have commented, "Pam occupied this world generously." "Pam absorbed life as it came at her. Nothing slowed her down." "Her vision for the world was beauty. She saw this everywhere." "An artist in her own right, Pam made the world show brighter colors and revealed for us unseen treasure, sometimes at the simplest of life, sometimes at greater heights." "Pam had a joyous and funny selfless spirit and it was a gift having her with us."
Pam herself said, "It's a privilege but also a responsibility, because in a sense, you become the eyes of the thousands who view your work. Over the years I have developed a great skill of reading people, so I can usually tell what they would be comfortable doing. Rarely has anyone ever told me no. Nobody asks for resumes when looking at your work."
The family held a private service and are planning a Celebration of Life to be held next Spring, honoring her beautiful photographs and life. She will be laid at rest at her beloved ranch in Waller County.
Condolences may be shared on Earthman Funeral Directors website for the family. In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to BARC Animal Shelter, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Children's Assessment Center, or a Homeless Shelter of your choice.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Jul. 26, 2020.