Why We Give: Howard and Ann

No Nicer Way to Remember Her

Howard and Ann Wilkinson 

Howard Wilkinson remembers his wife Ann sitting on a milk crate, tending to her garden at their home in Ladue.

“She could work outside for hours,” he says. “Her garden was one of the most important things in her life.”

In Howard’s life, Ann was the most important. They were married 64 years, 7 months, and 22 days before Ann passed away in 2007.

“We had a lot of fun,” Howard says. “We did everything we wanted to do.” In Ann’s case, that meant gardening. The couple’s home included a 1.5-acre lawn, where Ann grew irises, azaleas, daisies, rhododendrons and, most enjoyably, boxwood.

Ann belonged to the Boxwood Society of the Midwest and, in addition to caring for her own boxwood, she volunteered with society members to trim boxwood at the Missouri Botanical Garden and other public venues. At home, she tended to a pair of enormous boxwood bushes native to the Balkans in Yugoslavia.

Howard dedicated a bench in Ann’s honor and plans to give a gift to the Garden in her memory beyond his own lifetime.

“She would like it, and that’s what matters,” Howard says. “I can’t think of a nicer way to remember her.”