April 1, 1992
Dear friends of Ms. Vera Gale Wilkerson,
††† On Feb 8, 1992, in the wink of an eye my mom unexpectedly passed away in her Chicago condo and slipped quietly & peacefully into eternity. She would have wanted me to touch base with everybody, as she was such a social person sweetly taking the art of conversation to new heights. As her personal representative I want to get off this" last letter from Billie."
††† Please forgive me for taking so long to notify you but as you can imagine an executorís job is overwhelming in the midst of such bereavement. Even two months later now I can feel a void that only a motherís love can fill. In some ways I suspect I will never be the same. There will always be an image, song, or odor that will remind me of her.
†† Mom was
born in St. Louis in 1914 where her young mother quickly became a doctor.
She was very proud of her role model who died at an early age. They gave
me the gift of good genes.
†† The early years when she and dad (Jupe Prewitt) raised my sister and I were very fulfilling for her. As I recognized toward the end, nothing would ever surpass her joy of motherhood. This was the highlight of her life, which she would never stop talking about, at least to me.
† Then came her final reward, what I call "the good 19 years " from 1964 to 1983 with her new husband (Lee Gale) on their thoroughbred horse farm which were wonderful for her. She never looked and felt better. Her kids were grown and she was well taken care of. ††††† Motherís maternal instinct would always keep her up all night by her horseís side when one was foaling. During those times she loved to entertain and Lee and Billie traveled all over the world. She enjoyed life and all of the Palm Beach social life activities.
† I find peace knowing that most of her years here on earth were happy and productive experiences. After she survived both of her husbands the only people in her life were my sister and I, and have course you, her dear friends.
†† Finally in the twilight of her life I would see her almost every day and we became closer than ever. I think I was successful in trying to be all things to her. She voiced her appreciation often. In the last few months of her life when I was ready to leave after a visit, I would hold her for an extra few minutes standing quietly at her doorway. It was then she would sometimes get a little choked up and just say, "I'm going to miss my boy." I inevitably knew that one of these visits would be the last. She had done a lot of living and I could see her white flag going up slowly.
†† A decade ago she gave me the opportunity to get started in real estate ownership and management. We were partners in business and in life. I'm glad she was able to see my progress and of course I will always be grateful for all of the support only a mother can give a child. If indeed I have been successful, I owe it to her.
†† I would like to thank you all personally
for enriching mothers life by being kind to her with your friendship, as well
as any gifts and cards you may have given her. (After going through everything
over the last two months I can testify that there wasn't much she could bring
herself to throw away.)
† The paintings and sculptures that she made with her own hands are throughout my house. I am now surrounded with her good taste and beautiful things. I know some of them came from all of you and I acknowledge and thank you for that.
†† As per her wishes she was cremated on Feb 13, 1992, and my sister and I shared her ashes. With them enclosed in a unique container I have created a cute little "shrine" here in my living room with her violin, passport, and other personal mementoes representing to me her well-traveled and fulfilling life.
† I thought that you might appreciate this little biography and if you have any questions or just want to talk, don't hesitate to give me a call or write. Just as the chain of command passes on the baton, I am now stepping into my motherís shoes and I am thankful for some new friends whom I have acquired through my mom.
† Therefore, I will still be here for you, just as she was during her lifetime. Mom taught me honesty and loyalty--and would you really expect anything less from a boy who was raised right?
Sincerely, her grateful & devoted son,