Winifred Ann Wilkens


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Salem, MA - Winifred Ann Wilkens, age 77, known to her friends as Win, passed away from cancer Saturday evening, February 2, 2019, at her Salem home, surrounded by family.
Win, born on Staten Island, NY, on September 6, 1941, was the eldest of four daughters of the late Francis and Winifred Leahy. There, she attended St. Louis Academy and met her future husband, Edward James Wilkens, when they were both 12 years old, Ed one day her senior. They married on August 31, 1963, at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Staten Island, and moved to New Jersey to raise a family. Win earned her Associates Degree in Library Science from Brookdale Community College in 1981 and began her career as a librarian at PerkinElmer. Brookdale would later award Win a Distinguished Alumna designation in 2010.
In 1988, Ed and Win relocated to Cambridge, MA, where Win worked for Harvard University as a librarian, first at the chemistry library, later at the botany library. Over an eight-year period, she earned her B.A. from Harvard, with a focus on Comparative Theology, obtaining her degree, Cum Laude, in 1996.
In 1997, Ed and Win moved to Salem, MA. Win commuted from Salem to Cambridge until her retirement in 2003. She joined the Salem Athenaeum, at which she served in the capacities of both librarian and trustee, and from which she was chosen as the recipient of the first Edward Augustus Holyoke award. In her retirement in Salem, Win thrived, participating in the Garden Club, various charitable and religious organizations, Explorers, where she continued taking classes with Ed, and taking daily walks around her beloved Salem. She delighted passersby on Botts Court with her lovely and well-curated garden. Most important, Win was much beloved by her adopted community and will be missed by a large group of friends.
Win is survived by her devoted husband Edward James Wilkens, son James and his wife Lisa Wilkens of Marblehead, MA, son Eric Wilkens of Sunnyvale, CA, daughter Jill and her husband Stephen Atkins, of Westford, MA, and daughter Lynn and husband Jeffrey Schwarz, of San Francisco, CA. Her grandkids miss her already: Gemma, Paul, and Leo Wilkens and Owen and Sierra Atkins. Win’s three sisters, Patricia Accardo, Mary Thomson, and Virginia Sheeran, mourn the loss of their sister.
Win’s funeral arrangements are being handled by Murphy Funeral Home. Her services will be at St. Pius V Parish, located at 215 Maple St, Lynn, MA 01904 on Saturday, February 9, at 1:00 PM. Donations can be made in Win’s name to the Salem Athenaeum. For more information or online guestbook, please visit or call 978-744-0407.
Published on February 6, 2019
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