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Sylvia Wilson, 88, beloved Adair County personality, dies

Sylvia Wilson brought fame beyond Kentucky to Columbia's hospitality industry with her warm, friendly ways and her remarkable showmanship during 39 years with the Circle R Restaurant
Adair Countians are saddened to learn of the death of Sylvia Wilson, 88, 1200 Rooks-Denton Road, Columbia, KY. She died Wednesday, November 28, 2007, at 2:13pm, at Summit Manor Health and Rehab in Columbia, KY.

The funeral serice will be Saturday, December 1, 2007, at 1:00pmCT, at Grissom-Martin Funeral Home, 200 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY, with Rev. Dwight Forderhase officiating.

Sylvia Wilson was one of a kind, a woman whose memorable ways endeared her to tens of thousands of diners who were charmed by her smile, wit, and vivacious beauty, which she accentuated by her penchant for wearing a different, outsized--and sometimes outrageous--corsage every day she came to work during a tenure which spanned most of the history of the old Circle R Restaurant.

She has made a huge a difference in the life of the community, a difference noticed not only by locals and regulars, but visitors, travel writers, newspaper columnists, and radio and Tv reporters, who learned that a picture, story, audio or video clip of "the woman who wears the flowers," would always be winning copy.

Her contributions to life here were great. She will be warmly remembered.

She was the daughter of the late Zachery Taylor and Etta Floyd Sanders of Adair County. She was preceded in death by her husband, one time Columbia Postmaster William E. "Billy" Wilson; two sons, Donnie and Dickie Wilson; a grandson, Craig Wilson, and by one brother and three sisters, Raymond Sanders, Mary Pendleton, Maggie Collins, and Mabel Rooks.Sylvia Wilson is survived by the following:
  • One daughter: Linda Grigsby, Columbia, KY

  • Three granddaughters and their spouses: Melinda and Micah Rhoads, Edmonton, KY; Heather and Chad Shepherd, Russell Springs, KY; and Stephanie and Ray Cook, Brandenburg, KY

  • And by 10 great-grandchildren along with several nieces, nephews, and friends
She was a member of the Columbia-Union Presbyterian Church and was a waitress at the Circle R Restaurant for 39 years.

Burial will be in the Columbia Cemetery.

Visitation will be a Grissom-Martin Funeral Home after 2:30pm, Friday, November 30, 2007.

Grissom-Martin Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements

This obituary was made possible through the support of Grissom-Martin Funeral Home, established in 1926, located one block off the square at 200 Campbellsville Street in Columbia. To reach David and Cathy Martin, phone 270-384-2149, or E-mail: Large enough to serve comfortably; Small enough to serve personally.

This story was posted on 2007-11-29 14:16:56
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Grissom-Martin Funeral Home
Located one block off the Square at 200 Campbellsville Street in Columbia, KY.
To reach David and Cathy Martin, phone (270)-384-2149, or e-mail:
Large enough to serve comfortably; Small enough to serve personally.

G & G Monuments
Todd and Mandi Green and Jared Conover
1670 Liberty Road, Columbia, KY. email:, 270-634-0359
First Quality Marble and Granite

Stotts-Phelps-McQueary Funeral Home
Established 1922 | 210 Greensburg St., Columbia, KY 42728 | Jeff Jessie, Owner
270-384-2145,, email

Remembering: Sylvia Wilson 1919-2007

2007-11-30 - Circle R Restaurant - Photo From Family Album.
ONE OF THOSE TRADEMARK CORSAGES: Columbia's beloved Sylvia Wilson was wearing a particularly flamboyant corsage when Wes Green had his picture taken with her. Everybody wanted their picture taken with the woman who wore the big flowers and made them feel special. This corsage was a favorite one, as were all the red ones she wore. Since her death on Wednesday, hardly an Adair County alive doesn't have a story about being out of state and meeting a stranger who knew Columbia only as the home of the Circle R and Sylvia Wilson. Maxine Hodges related one yesterday about a Columbia truck driver striking up a conversation in a Texas diner. When the stranger found out he was from Columbia, he asked, "Do you know that waitress who wears the big flowers?" and the Columbian answered, "Yes I do. She's my mother." It was, we think, Donnie "Cruiser" Wilson, her oldest son. Mrs. Wilson died Wednesday, November 28, 2007. Visitation is today, Friday, November 30, 2007 at Grissom-Martin Funeral Home. The funeral is there, Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 1:00pmCT.

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