The founder of one of Savannah's most famous restaurants was laid to rest yesterday, Sema Morris Wilkes, known all over the country as Mrs. Wilkes, died last Thursday. Monday, her life was celebrated at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church.
The church was filled to capacity as people came from near and far to say farewell. Mrs Wilkes was famous for her Southern-style cooking served at Wilkes' Boarding House for the past 59 years. Among the speakers at the service was Janice Shay, who recalled the words of John T. Edge, a man who has written several books on Southern cuisine and a good friend of Mrs Wilkes.
"When he referred to her food as history stood still on the plate for all to admire, I think that was the best thing that anybody could have said about her and her wonderful achievements in food," said Janice Shay of SCAD.
Mrs. Wilkes was famous all over the country for her food; here at home she was also famous for just being Mrs. Wilkes.
"She was just a great lady," said city alderman Ellis Cook. "Every time I saw her, she had a smile on her face. She always came up and talked to me. I just loved her to death. We're all going to miss her, but the tradition will carry on with family. I don't think they will skip a beat and I think she'll always be there in spirit."
Mrs. Wilkes was 95 years old.