Sunday, October 23, 2016

Happy Birthday, Grampy! Donald Munroe Wilkinson (1895 - 1977)

Donald Munroe Wilkinson - unknown year or location
He was born 23 October 1895 in Salem, Massachusetts

Donald and Bertha Wilkinson - 1924
at 7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts

My grandfather and I almost share the same birthday.  We were born 66 years and only a few hours apart.  Donald Munroe Wilkinson was born on 23 October 1895 in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Albert Munroe Wilkinson and Isabella Lyons Bill.  He had one sister who was three years younger.  Their father died young in 1908, when Don was only 12 and Janet was only 9 years old.  Their widowed mother ran a boarding house at 4 Loring Avenue in Salem, and among her boarders were her own mother, Annie M. (Bollman) Bill, her sister Jennie Bollman Bill, and her neice and nephew (Inez and Fitz Perkins).

As a young man Donald worked at banks, such as the Salem Safe Deposit and Trust Company, and the Salem Savings Bank.  By the time he registered for the World War I draft he was working at the United Shoe Machinery Company in Beverly, Massachusetts - where he worked until the 1960s.  He was a machinist and held other positions, and later in life he was a shipping inspector for the USMC.

He met my grandmother at church in Salem.  They married on Thanksgiving Day in 1926  at home 7 Dearborn Avenue, which was the home of his wife, Bertha Louise Roberts.  Her parents had bought the home soon after they immigrated from England in 1915.  Don's father-in-law also worked at USMC, and 7 Dearborn Avenue is just a few blocks away.   This was the home where they lived and raised three sons (Robert, Richard and my Dad, John) and where I lived, too, until 1969.  Great Aunt Jennie Bill (who never married and always lived with relatives) lived there until her death in 1946.

My grandfather retired from the USMC and my grandparents removed to Long Beach, California, where their son, my Uncle Richard Wilkinson was living.  They had a nice condo near the beach there, and enjoyed their retirement.  Later in life they joined the LDS church, just like my uncle.  Donald M. Wilkinson died on 24 July 1977 in Long Beach and is buried at the Westminster Memorial Park.  My grandparents from Long Beach are the only ancestors I have who ever lived or were buried west of New England.

Bertha and Donald's 50th Wedding Anniversary
26 November 1976.
Donald Munroe Wilkinson died 24 July 1977
in Long Beach California.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Happy Birthday, Grampy!  Donald Munroe Wilkinson (1895 - 1977)", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 23, 2016,  ( accessed [access date]).


  1. What a lovely tribute to your Grampy! I especially like the 50th wedding anniversary photo, truly a treasure.

  2. Hi, Heather. Great post! My grandfather, Charles Allen Taylor (1889-1976) also worked in the shipping department at the Shoe. He, too died in Southern California. I wonder if they knew each other.

    1. Wow! They were almost the same ages, and worked in the same's highly likely that they knew each other.