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Phoebe Wilson

Phoebe Wilson, age 80 years, 9 months, and 2 days, passed away on February 12, 2023 and was placed in the care of Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home. She is survived by her sister, Peggy Rector of Marshes Siding; three children: Elizabeth “Beth” Kilburn (Lonnie) of Whitley City, Jimmie Cope (Danny) of Benton, KY and Derek Burke (Glenda) of Fairfield, OH; three grandchildren: Richard Wilson (Lindsay) of Louisville, Travis Blevins of Stearns, and Zachary Wilson (Lisa) of Strunk; and three great grandchildren: Marshall Wilson, Mitchell Wilson, and Mary Beth Wilson of Louisville. Funeral services were held Thursday, November 16, 2023, in the chapel of the Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home. Burial followed in the Holloway Cemetery. She is preceded in death by her parents: Nip and Evelyn Anderson Perkins, her brother, Patrick Perkins, her husband, Ralph “Sonny” Burke, and second husband, Cleo Wilson. Phoebe was born May 10, 1942 to Nip and Evelyn Perkins. She married Sonny Burke when she was fourteen and had three children by the age of twenty-one. Her education had been temporarily put aside to raise her family, but she earned her GED and attended Somerset Beauty College, becoming a licensed beautician and operating her own business for over 30 years. She pursued higher education in the mid-seventies and, over the course of two decades, earned her bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from Cumberland College. She became a teacher at Whitley City Elementary School and spent 25 years teaching first, second, fourth, and fifth grades. She was proud to be a teacher and enjoyed seeing her students succeed. Phoebe always wanted to stay busy. Before becoming a teacher, she also worked part-time at Academy Broadway. In addition, Phoebe and Sonny ran the club room at the Stearns Golf Course for a few years. They also operated Sonny’s One Hour Color, a photo and camera shop in Whitley City. Phoebe had a wide variety of interests and hobbies. She enjoyed singing and playing piano. She participated in various political activities, helping her parents with their political events. She played golf and even became Ladies Club Champion at Stearns Golf Course one year. Phoebe and Sonny had a host of friends. They enjoyed playing bridge and other card games, houseboating trips, travel, and other get-togethers with friends. Phoebe was widowed in 1997 and traveled extensively across America, Canada, and Mexico. She spend several weeks in Spain on a learning adventure. She then met her husband, Cleo, and they married in 2002. It sounds like Phoebe would have very little time left, but she spent a great deal of time with family. She was a loving and attentive grandmother to her grandchildren. They loved her dearly, but not as much as she loved them. Her extended family of cousins seemed just like having a bunch of extra siblings. Phoebe will be sorely missed by so many. Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home was honored to serve the family of Phoebe Wilson. Obituary was written by family members.

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