We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Wallace Broadview Funeral Home
Wilma Dean Franklin was born May 15, 1929 in Gorgas, Alabama to the parents of James Franklin and Bennie Lee-Allen Franklin. She was the fifth of eleven children. During her childhood, her parents relocated to Jasper Alabama. Wilma received her High school diploma from Walker County Training School in Jasper, AL.
Deeply rooted in the Franklin family was the love of God and service. Wilma accepted Christ earlier in life at Shiloh Baptist Church in Jasper, AL. Wilma’s love for teaching developed early when she became a kindergarten teacher in Jasper and she instilled that foundation of learning in all of her children and grandchildren. In 1949, Wilma married Wilburn Phillips. Their first born son was Reverend Charles Phillips. Like many others migrating from the South, Wilma and her son came to Chicago to join her other siblings on the South Side of Chicago. While she was working and finding her way, in 1955, she remarried. Three children came from the union to Clarence Wise Sr.: Clarence Wise Jr., Carol Annice Wise-Dillard, and Celina A. Wise-Robinson.
Wilma’s strength was cultivated and tested as she navigated the “Windy City” and she moved to the West Side of Chicago where her devotion to community and service began. Wilma’s strong work ethic was an inherited trait from the “Franklin Genes”.
Wilma dedicated over forty years to the service industry before retiring from Montgomery Wards in Chicago’s River North area. I remember her telling me when she met Diana Ross at her place of employment while she was filming the movie Mahogany. I also remember her describing to me the tension-filled day when King was assassinated and Black workers scrambled to get home safely to their families.
Wilma encouraged education and exposure to her children and grandchildren. “You can’t be bored.” “Read a book.” “Go to the museum.” “Just do something.” These are the loving reminders that her grandchildren will remember with affection. Anyone that met Wilma would immediately know these three things about her :
1. If you needed help, she was there.
2. Family meant everything to her.
3. Alabama has it all, why go anyplace else?
On June 11, 2022, at the age of 93 Wilma was called to come home.
Preceding her in death are her two children; Clarence Wise Jr. (Joyce) and Carol Annice Wise-Dillard. Wilma leaves to cherish her memory, two children; Rev. Charles Phillips (Carolyn) Broadview, IL, and Celina A. Wise-Robinson (Taylor) Oak Park, IL. Two brothers; Milton Franklin (Ida) Sheffield, AL, and Joel Franklin (Bernice) Munster, IN. Two sisters; Bennie Jean Franklin (Tommy Lloyd) Chicago, IL, and Dorothy Reed (Don) Jasper, AL. Eight grandchildren, Twelve great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews and beloved friends.