Meet Mabel Wilson

Meet Mabel Wilson

She’s Called Simpson House Home Since 2019

Focused on family values

Family comes first for Mabel Wilson, whose happiest memories are of family birthdays and Sunday dinners.

Born in Philadelphia in 1932, the former Mabel Jones met her future husband in kindergarten. She and James Wilson began to date at age 15, and they were married two years later. When he dropped out of school soon after, Mabel encouraged him to finish. He graduated, went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting and became a successful entrepreneur who made a positive impact in Philadelphia’s human services, business and political communities.

Mabel and James knew loss and joy. She suffered four miscarriages, and their firstborn son died at only four days old. They went on to raise a daughter and three other sons. Mabel paid them to work in the family accounting business to learn responsibility and she and James sent them all to college. The emphasis on education remains strong in the family’s next generation, too. Several of Mabel’s nine grandchildren graduated from Ivy League schools, including Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.

Mabel and James traveled to places like New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Hawaii and even Russia, mostly on trips related to his work in the senior services field with Mercy-Douglass Corporation, of which he was one of the founders. He passed in 2014.

After 65 years of marriage and raising a family, Mabel stresses the importance of talking things through with your children and spouse, of keeping issues within your marriage and of admitting when you are wrong. She also believes in reaching out to help others and to listen to them.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” she says.

After selling the family home, Mabel lived in a center city apartment for a while. In 2019 she moved to Simpson House.

“I love that the location is close to center city, but it has a suburban feel—and I enjoy the people,” she says. Respect for other people and walking, she adds, are keys to aging well. At Simpson House, she also finds peace working in the garden and reading. She especially enjoys autobiographies—perhaps because she has such a rich life story of her own.

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