Geneva C. Wilkinson

AUBURN – Geneva Cielinski Wilkinson, 99, a resident of the Woodlands in Lewiston, passed away on Feb. 27, 2020 at the Hospice House in Auburn. Geneva was born in Monmouth on Feb. 8, 1921 to Polish immigrants, Andrew and Stella (Blad) Cielinski. Her early years were spent on a farm in Wayne and later the family moved to Lisbon Falls.

As a young woman, Geneva took a job as a nanny to a family in Auburn. On Saturday evenings her sisters and she went to dances where she met her husband, James Wilkinson. After marrying, the couple settled in Auburn and became the parents of two children, Mary Ann and Robert.

In 1943 James, along with his three brothers, joined the United States Navy; so Geneva moved to Lisbon Falls where her sister could take care of her children while another sister and she worked at BIW. That might make her a “Rosie the Riveter”. When James returned from the military, the family moved back to Auburn. Geneva went to work at the Bates Mill evenings and James worked as a meat cutter. Geneva was a master seamstress and sewed for family and friends. In fact, she made all of her daughters prom dresses.

Along came the Korean War. James again enlisted in the Navy. This was when Geneva decided to learn to drive. When James returned, he went to Bliss Business School to earn a business teaching certificate and Geneva went to work at the Cowan Mill. Her job was to repair defects in material so they could never be found.

After business school, James taught in Casco and Phillips. In 1957 when daughter, Mary Ann was a sophomore at Edward little, James went to the University of Maine to earn his bachelor’s degree and Geneva was the sole family provider. Upon graduation, James took a job at Biddeford High School, but the family stayed in Auburn until the children graduated from high school. At that time James and Geneva moved to Biddeford and Geneva went to work at the Pepperell Mill, where she worked her way up to shift manager. She traveled to South Carolina for the mill to learn how veilleux blankets were made.

Upon James’ death in 1978, Geneva returned to Auburn and took a job in the fabric department of the Ames Department Store. Geneva was known as “Gram G” to her family and she enjoyed sewing, knitting, baking, crocheting, babysitting and helping them on a daily basis. She was a giver of her time and love to everyone. She lived on her own until she turned 94.

She is survived by her two children, Mary Ann (Dick) Norcross of Auburn and Robert (Joanne) Wilkinson of Biddeford; five grandchildren, Betsy (Rene) Norcross Plourde, Craig (Kristi) Norcross, Wendy (Dan) Brown all of Auburn, Daniel (Cheryl) Wilkinson of Biddeford and Tracy Corriveau of Sanford; and 11 great-grandchildren, Kory, Makayla and Piper Norcross; Jarod Norcross Plourde; Ethan, Austin and Oliver Brown; Katlyn Corriveau; and Blake, Baylor and Brynn Wilkinson. She is also survived by a sister, Micalena Farnum and brothers, Michael (Martha) Cielinski and Robert (Leann) Cielinski.

She was predeceased by a sister, Jenny Janosco and a brother, Stanley Cielinski.

Condolences and fond memories may be shared with Geneva‘s family at www.thefortingroupauburn.com.

A graveside service will be held at a later date in new Gloucester. Arrangements are under the care of The Fortin Group \ Plummer & Merrill Funeral Home, Cremation and Monument Services, 217 Turner St., Auburn, 783-8545.

Geneva C. Wilkinson

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