Gale Francis


Gale Francis "Spike" Wilkins, 72, passed away peacefully at home on July 10 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Gale was born in AuSable Forks to Francis and Elizabeth (Richard) Wilkins on Sept. 17, 1946. He graduated from Corinth Central School in 1965 where he was an outstanding basketball player. He attended Hudson Valley Community College, St. Anselm's College and earned a B.A. Degree in education from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1970.
Gale married his high school sweetheart Leslie in 1969. He taught English at Saranac Lake Central School for 30 years and coached boy JV and Varsity basketball for 12 years. After he retired from SLCS, he worked as the athletic director for Willsboro Central School where he also coached girls JV basketball for several years.
Gale was a dedicated father and grandfather. Gale and Leslie raised one daughter and three granddaughters. He was very active in helping to develop his granddaughters' basketball skills by coaching girls youth basketball teams for many years, and continued to support them through AAU and many summer basketball camps. Gale could always be seen at their basketball games whether from the coach's chair or spectator stands.
Gale enjoyed watching basketball games, alpine skiing, hunting, boating, golfing, and fly fishing. He fished in Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska and enjoyed fishing in the AuSable River and Salmon River. He was an accomplished finish carpenter and could often be seen in the summer mowing his massive lawn which he took great pride in at his home in Willsboro.
Gale is survived by his wife, Leslie, of 49 years, and their daughter, Katherine (Corey), his beloved granddaughters, Alexis, Sheila, and Kaitlyn Wilkins, and grandson Ethan Graham, one great-granddaughter, Brinnlee, and one great-grandson, Lyric. Also surviving him are four brothers: Robert (Jill) of Corinth, N.Y.; Michael (MaryBeth) of South Carolina; Anthony of Naples, Fla.; and Patrick (Terry) of Queensbury, N.Y.; three nieces and one nephew; sister-in-law, Dianne Forman-Johnson (Steven) of Bolton Landing, N.Y.; and two nieces and two nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and two nephews.
There will be no public calling hours; a private memorial service will be held at the convenience of the family.
Donations may be made in Gale's memory to the American Cancer Society and High Peaks Hospice.
Arrangements are in the care of the Hamilton Funeral Home, 294 Mannix Road, Peru, 643-9055. To offer an online condolence, share a symbolic gesture, or share a photo in memory of Gale Wilkins please visit
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Published on July 11, 2019
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3 posts

Karen Harwood
Jul 17, 2019
Leslie, so sorry for your loss. ‘Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.
steve pidgeon
Jul 12, 2019
Our deepest sympathy to entire family .

Steve and Kathy Pidgeon
Liz Mahoney
Jul 12, 2019
So sorry to hear of Spike’s passing. May all the memories help you all during this difficult time.