CommunityVeterans In Focus


Widow struggling to keep WWII veteran's home standing

Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 19:58:14-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The widow of a World War II veteran and Nueces County Constable has tried to keep her home together ever since he passed away a decade ago.

Fred Wilburn spent more than 20 years as Pct. 1’s Constable. In fact, former Nieces Co. Sheriff Jim Kaelin was one of his deputies. But for the last ten years, his widow has struggled.

“It's been bad, bad for us,” said Lucille Wilburn. I miss him everyday.”

Things have been tough for Lucille ever since Fred passed away in 2011.

“I could never get used to saying that he was gone,” said Lucille, who admits she still talks to her husband regularly. “For me, he never left.”

Fred Wilburn joined the Nueces County Sheriff's Office in 1952, five years after he returned home from post-war Germany. For more than a decade, he patrolled the county.

“I was very worried, very worried (for him),”: said Wilburn. “You hear things that's unbelievable.”

In the 1960s, Wilburn ran for and was elected Pct. 1 Constable, a position he held until he retired in 1988. A rock for the community, but most importantly, for Lucille.

“I always depended on him, he was just there,” Lucille said.

When Wilburn passed, he left behind Lucille, their two daughters, and several unfinished projects around the family's home.

“This house, it was real nice at one time, now it's falling on top of us,” said Wilburn.

The Wilburns bought the house in the 1950s. Today, there are cracks in the walls and the ceilings leak because the roof hasn't been fixed in decades. There's rotted wood outside and the garage looks like it's ready to fall.

In her 90's and on a limited income, fixing the home she's lived in for more than a half century is well beyond Lucille’s means.

“Everything you go and try to fix is more than the money we have,” she said.