Sarah Edna Wilkerson was born to Dr. Lonnie Otto and Edna Wickes Wilkerson on November 8, 1923 in Peking, China where the Wilkersons were serving as medical missionaries. After the family returned to Texas in 1924 and made their home in Bryan, Sarah attended Travis Elementary school and graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School in 1941.
From 1941 through 1945, she attended Baylor University, earning a BS degree with honors as a member of the Centennial Class. While at Baylor, Sarah was a member of First Families of Baylor, several honorary fraternities, and the International Club. After graduation, she worked in her father’s medical office until her marriage in 1946.
August 15, 1946, Sarah Edna Wilkerson and Joseph Nilsen Holmgreen were married in the garden of The Oaks in Bryan, Texas. While Joe, having served in the US Army Air Corps during WWII, completed his degree at Texas A&M, they celebrated the birth of their first child, David Nilsen, and lived in several local locations. Fall of 1948 brought employment with then Humble Oil Company for Joe and a gypsy-life with assignments in Overton, the King Ranch, Corpus Christi, Friendswood, Houston, and Beaumont for Joe and moves for the family, which now included John Morgan (1950).
After Joe’s resignation from Humble, Sarah, Joe, and family moved back to B/CS area to become part of the Wilkerson’s Diamond W Ranch endeavor. This resulted in living in Normangee and on the ranch in Brazos County with many adventures engendered by ranch life. Severe drought resulted in sale of Diamond W and a move to town, College Station, and a new life involved with a new business, Brazos Tire Service, a partnership, first with Mr. Franklin, and later with Joe’s brother, Dick Holmgreen. Sarah helped as part time bookkeeper for many years until the firm was dissolved in 1986.
1955 brought Joseph Barry into the family with all the joys and cares of Sarah’s being a mother and involved as Den Mother of a Cub Scout Troop and still part time worker at Brazos Tire Service. Daughter Sarah Elizabeth was born in 1959. And in 1960, the family moved into larger quarters in the home Sarah occupied until her death, and from which, all four children attended grade school and A&M Consolidated High School. Daughter Elizabeth brought two new activities into play, Girl Scouts and Brazos County 4-H English Riding Club. Sarah was assistant director of summer camp at Camp Howdy for the Girl Scouts one summer and director the next. She was co-sponsor of the English Riding Club and remained involved with horses until early 1980’s.
Sarah and Joe were confirmed in St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Sarah was active in, and became chairman of, the Altar Guild, served on the Vestry, and volunteered as treasurer of St. Thomas Early Learning Center from its founding in 1964 until her retirement 39 years later. The E.L.C. years were blessed by the friendship of, and work with, the wonderful directors and staff, parents, and students, and growth of the school.
Sarah’s interests included all things creative, horses, and cars, especially her Mercedes Benz.
She made over 200 needlework samplers, including marriage and birth records, and many Christmas stockings for children in the Brazos Valley. She also enjoyed making jewelry, which she shared with family and friends.
In her lifetime, Sarah was fortunate to travel both in the United States and Europe, enjoying places both far and near.
Sarah died on December 11, 2013 at her home surrounded by her children.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 33 years, Joseph Nilsen Holmgreen, son, David Nilsen Holmgreen, parents, Lonnie Otto and Edna Wickes Wilkerson, brother and sister-in-law, Lonnie and Betty Pate Wilkerson, and brother-in-law, R.J. “Dick” Holmgreen.
Sarah is survived by her sons, John and Barry, daughter Elizabeth and husband Steve Buckley, daughter in law Donna, grandchildren Rachel and husband Matt Nichols, and Allan, great grandchild Ian, grandfriends Jeremy and Kristen, great-grandfriends Hadley and Emerson, sister in law Gerry Holmgreen, and several nieces and nephews.
Graveside services are scheduled for Friday December 20th at 2 p.m. at the family plot in Bryan City Cemetery.
Memorials to St. Thomas Early Learning Center, Brazos Valley Food Bank or the charity of your choice are gratefully accepted.
“Think kindly of each other; love and forgive each other”
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