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 Lois Burnham Wilson

Lois Burnham Wilson

Birth
Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Death 5 Oct 1988 (aged 97)
Mount Kisco, Westchester County, New York, USA
Burial East Dorset, Bennington County, Vermont, USA
Memorial ID 3025 · View Source
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Social Reformer. Known as "Lois W." she is remembered as the co-founder of Al-Anon, along with her husband Bill Wilson (later known as "Bill W."), a nationwide support group for the friends and family of alcoholics. The oldest of six children, her father was a surgeon and she was raised in the Swedenborgian faith (a religious movement founded by Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg in the late 18th century), of which her grandfather was a pastor. After graduating from Packer College Institute in Brooklyn, New York she worked for the Young Women's Christian Association and later taught at a school in Short Hills, New Jersey. In January 1918 she married Bill Wilson who was in the US Army and about to be sent to Europe to fight in World War I. While he was away, she worked as an occupational therapist. After he returned from the war, their marriage began to degrade due to the combination of her series of miscarriages and his alcoholism. Following her husband's rehabilitation, she began working on programs to help families of alcoholics, which led to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and later Al-Anon or Al-Anon Family Groups. In 1979 she published her autobiography "Lois Remembers." She died at the age of 97. In 2010 she was portrayed by actress Winona Ryder in the Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie "When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story," based on the 2005 book written by William G. Borchert. Her home in Bedford Hills, New York called "Stepping Stones" is on the National Register of Historic Places and in October 2012 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 6 Jun 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3025
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lois Burnham Wilson (3 Mar 1891–5 Oct 1988), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3025, citing East Dorset Cemetery, East Dorset, Bennington County, Vermont, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .