Frances's Story

JONESPORT - JONESPORT-Frances J. Wilcox, age 76, better known by her family and friends as Jean, passed away peacefully October 6, 2015 at the Sunrise Care Facility in Jonesport surrounded by family. She was a strong-willed woman who succumbed to cancer after a 15-year battle. Jean was born in Newport, ME on August 3, 1939, the only daughter of Thomas and Natalie (Doherty) Matthews and the oldest of five children. She attended Newport schools and worked summers and evenings as a waitress and hostess at local restaurants to help support her family.

She married Elmer "Herky" Wilcox on November 23, 1957 in Newport, ME. Once Herky graduated from the University of Maine two years later, they moved to Newport, where they raised their family of three sons and a daughter. They also helped raise two nephews. In addition, several nieces and many neighborhood kids considered Jean's home to be their second home. Herky never knew how many kids Jean would have at the dinner table on any given night. She was active in the community as a cheerleading coach, organizer of the Policeman's Ball, Sunday school teacher, and school volunteer.

Jean was an avid candlepin bowler; bowling in two leagues and helping her team win the state championship in the late 1970's. She could always be found at every sporting event in Newport cheering on her children, nieces and nephews. This tradition continued as her grandchildren grew into athletes.

Jean loved nature. She and Herky spent much of their lives together fishing, hunting, camping and traveling. In their retirement years they would spend the winter in Florida, stopping in Cherokee, SC for a few days of gambling each way. Every other year they would travel through Laughlin to California to visit their eldest son. After Herky retired, they left Newport for Beals Island, which Jean loved. She was happy to be a lobsterman's wife and his number one sternwoman. Family and friends fondly knew Jean as the ultimate bargain hunter, never passing up the opportunity to stop at a yard sale, dollar store or Goodwill store.

Jean is survived by her husband Elmer "Herky" Wilcox of Beals; sons Scott and his wife Kathy of Verdi, NV, Stephen of Bangor, Shawn and his wife Vicki of Stillwater; daughter Suzanne and her husband Brent Johnson of Bangor; brother Dwayne of New Hampshire; nephews Nhan and his wife Arlene Matthews of Thomaston, Beerly Matthews and his partner Dick Winslow of Sanford; grandchildren Sarah, Peter, David, Baylee, Breanna, and Caitlyn; and four special women that Jean loved very much and considered daughters: Robin Matthews, Dee Dee Herrold, Joline Weeks, and Julie Dow. Numerous nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly also survive her.

Jean was predeceased by her father and mother; brothers William, Richard, and Michael, grandchildren (infant twins) Logan and McKayla Smith; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Herman Backman Jr. and Norma Backman; and numerous extended family.

A funeral service celebrating Jean's life will be held at the Beals Wesleyan Church, 21 Elm Street, on October 17, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. A reception will begin immediately after the funeral at the Beals Elementary School, 24 Mill Pond Road. The family will have a private graveside service before attending the reception.

The family would like to thank all the wonderful staff at Sunrise Care Facility in Jonesport. They treated Jean and all of the family like royalty. We truly believe there is no place better.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Sunrise Care Facility, 11 Ocean Street, Jonesport, ME 04649 in Jean's name. The family will have a donation box available at the service. Arrangements entrusted to Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home, Machias. Memories may be shared at
Published in Bangor Daily News
Services by

Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home

Funeral service events

Share this story with a friend: