Magdalena Katharina (Bauer) Wilkins
Born on August 19, 1930, in Heubach/Rhön or Rhoen, Germany, to Heinrich Franz Bauer and Kunigunde (Baus) Bauer. She has three siblings: Carola, Ingeborg (Inge) and Heinrich.
Magdalena raised her younger siblings since her mother Kunigunde was working. She said that Inge was her baby to raise and she didn't mind at all.
She died of a short battle with pancreatic cancer on October 9, 2017 with her son Steven at her side.
Magdalena grew up in Aschaffenburg Germany during the second world war. She had a hard life growing up in Germany during the war. Her family was very poor. They had no meat to eat. Her mother would send her out to find anything to eat and bring it home for the family. She was given a basket and told not to come home until it was full. She would walk in the woods and find plants that were edible and bring them home. Her father didn't provide for the family. Her mother, Kunigunde, worked in a recycling business to support the family.
Since her father didn't support of the family, Hitler threw him in a concentration camp (Dachau) and forced him to work. Hitler sent money he earned in the concentration camp to the family. Her dad told his wife, Kunigunde, that she was not to spend the money. She took care of the family and then bought herself a dress.
When the war turned desperate for Germany, he was given a choice to stay in the concentration camp or go to the war in Poland. He went to Poland. He was later sent to Stalingrad, Russia where 3 in 1000 men survived the battle of Stalingrad.
During WWII and the allies started bombing Aschaffenburg, Magdalena picked up some shrapnel as a souvenir when she first saw it. Later, she said, there was a lot of shrapnel. She also said that the children were sent away to villages to get them to safety. The boys went to one town and the girls went to another. They were told to report to the villages.
Magdalena saw the Hindenburg when she was about five or six years old. The nuns in the area took care of kids when the parents were at work. One of the older nuns would sit and crochet fine needlework. There was a fenced-in backyard there. She said she was outside the fence when she saw the Hindenburg flying very low. It was low enough to see people in the craft, but not low enough to see their faces. The Hindenburg was moving very slowly in the direction of Frankfurt.
There was one time her dad came home with a parachute that he had found and put it in a white chest in the kitchen. Her mother, Kunigunde, made underwear out of the silk material. She couldn't make outerwear because others would know they had some silk.
Magdalena is preceded in death by her husband, Vyron Wilkins, her firstborn son, Hans, and her brother, Heinrich. She has three living children: Roger, Sharon and Steven. She has four grandchildren (Sarah, Matthew, Chris and Tim), and great grandchildren.
She was religious from a young age. She sang in the Aschaffenburg choir in Germany and was well known.
Magdalena went to college to be a teacher and met an American GI at a snack bar where she worked. She married him June 9, 1952, and moved to the United States. There she became a homemaker. She said that in the beginning it was very rough because her husband's military pay was fouled up. She stayed at home with a new baby so her husband had to go to the Red Cross to get some money for them to live on.
She liked to knit, sew, crochet, read and garden. She said she liked to do the things a mother did in those days. She even made her own clothes.
Magdalena, with a new baby (Roger), stayed with her mother in law for a year in Hartford, Arkansas, while her husband was in Korea. She even made Ella Lilly (Townsend) Wilkins, her mother in law, a dress that she prized. Magdalena would go to Fort Smith to pay the bills each month and would stop at a 5¢ and 10¢ store where she found the fabric for the dress (lavender and white lace). Ella wore the dress to all important occasions. She was finally buried with it on.
Since her husband, Vyron, was in the military, the family moved every 2-3 years from the U.S. to Germany. The family came to Norman in the early 60's and purchased a house.
Her husband retired with the rank of Command Sergeant Major in Landstuhl, Germany, before to returning to Norman with their two youngest children in 1978.
She was active with her church and was even a translator for German literature and an editor for two English magazines.
She was an independent person. And in regards to her life she said, "there is always room for improvement."
She was a loving wife and mother. Her focus was on God and her family. She is a spiritual pillar waiting her resurrection at the return of Christ, at the last trumpet (1 Cor. 15:22-23, 52). And she will be missed every day until then.
Published on October 10, 2017