Pamela Francis Wilson
October 12, 1954 – July 18, 2020
Pamela Francis Wilson, 65, beloved daughter, sister and aunt, passed away peacefully at her home and went to be with Christ on July 18, 2020 while recovering from a surgery.
She was born in Houston, Texas on October 12, 1954, and survived by her parents, Joanne Guest Wilson and Welcome W. Wilson, Sr., who have been married for 70 years. Pam grew up in Denton and Houston, with her four surviving siblings, Welcome Wilson, Jr. (Anita), Cindi Proler Ray (Sam), Craig Wilson (Lisa), and Joanne Wilson Castleberry. She was named "Favorite Aunt Pam" by her nieces and nephews, David Proler, Christina Wilson Altenau (Matt), Ryan Proler (Misty), Courtney Wilson McGregor (Hamish), Preston Proler (Taryn), Lauren Garrow (Adam), Kelly Wilson, Demi Wilson, AnnaCatherine Wilson, Elizabeth Castleberry Patton (Chase), Wilson Castleberry, Welcome Wilson III, Maryclaire Wilson, Jackson Castleberry, Christian Castleberry and Ava Wilson, as well as fifteen great nieces and nephews and numerous other extended family. She was Godmother to David Proler, Courtney McGregor and Ava Wilson.
Pam's love of animals began at an early age with her English equitation riding at Tri-Oaks Stables and later Western riding on the Salt Grass Trail Ride. She adored her dogs, Annie, Allard, Daisy, Pepper and Molly, her cat Noah, and her horses, Royal Echo on Parade, Sundance, Segovia and Bambino. Her favorite moments were spent outdoors.
She attended Kolter Elementary and the Kinkaid School where she was a cheerleader for seven years, played basketball, and was a straight-A student. She attended Rollins College and graduated from The College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas in Austin in 1977. Upon graduating, she developed her first business, Pam Wilson Graphics. In the 80's, after marrying a National Geographic photographer, her true passion for the medium was ignited. She went from being an Artistic Director to a world renowned Editorial and Advertising award winning photographer. Her portfolio includes multiple United States Presidents, Governors, Mayors, Chancellors, Hollywood Stars, Sports Figures, Music Moguls, Museum Directors, CEOs, NASA, and The Houston Texans. Her photographs have been featured in many national magazines and on publication covers, including Fortune, Time, People, Texas Monthly, Continental Airlines Magazine and many others. Some of her most famous subjects include Beyonce, B.B. King, Dennis Quaid, Kevin Costner, Lyle Lovett, J.J. Watt, George Foreman, George Strait, and Oscar Wyatt among many, many others. Her first studio was in the original 1913 DePelchin Faith Home building in Midtown, where she lived and worked for 15 years. She loved the neighborhood and once said, "This place has been the heart, the soul, the center of my universe." Pam Francis, Houston Press article.
Later she transformed a historic home in Hyde Park into a working studio. From there, Pam went on to develop three other businesses; Turn to Texas (website for artistic directors and photographers), Real People (a modelling agency in which she curated non models for photo shoots) and Hyde Park Studio (a venue for photographers, commercial and personal events). Pam was a true entrepreneur. When there was a need, Pam found a solution.
Pam volunteered her talents for many charities, including K9s4Cops, The Children's Assessment Center, Memorial Hermann Children's Hospital, HSPCA (taking free pet photos off Allen Parkway for donations ), Habitat for Humanity (donating large entry framed family portraits for over 65 families displaced and given homes after Hurricane Katrina), AAMA, Young Learners, Bonita House of Hope, Denver Harbor Clinic, Barbara Bush Literacy Campaign as well as many others too numerous to mention. She never said no to a cause to help the homeless, children or animals.
Pam always supported her family's interests in all of their endeavors. She photographed the University of Houston Board of Regents, Chancellor Renu Khator, as well as the official photograph of the University of Houston mascot, Shasta. She also photographed the Board of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Many billboard campaigns included the "GOT TICKETS" for the Houston Texans, the Houston Food Bank "GREEN APPLE" and Compaq computers. Her works received numerous professional awards, often being known as "the Annie Leibovitz of Texas".
Pam was a beautiful, generous & loving Christian who enjoyed life with a passion - helicopters in Russia, skydiving in the US and Australia, driving the yellow jeep with top down, motorcycling, riding in the Salt Grass Trail Ride and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade. She was an avid athlete with a competitive drive, holding records at The Texas Club, the Houstonian Club, as well as the Transco Tower Stair Climb. Her devotion to animals' rights and activism was outstanding. She loved to travel and experience different cultures which showed in her work. She had a deep love and caring for all humanity, especially those most afflicted by misfortune. Everyone was a friend and made to feel more at ease, more important and more beautiful and she was able to capture that on film.
Friends & family have commented, "Pam occupied this world generously." "Pam absorbed life as it came at her. Nothing slowed her down." "Her vision for the world was beauty. She saw this everywhere." "An artist in her own right, Pam made the world show brighter colors and revealed for us unseen treasure, sometimes at the simplest of life, sometimes at greater heights." "Pam had a joyous and funny selfless spirit and it was a gift having her with us."
Pam herself said, "It's a privilege but also a responsibility, because in a sense, you become the eyes of the thousands who view your work. Over the years I have developed a great skill of reading people, so I can usually tell what they would be comfortable doing. Rarely has anyone ever told me no. Nobody asks for resumes when looking at your work."
The family held a private service and are planning a Celebration of Life to be held next Spring, honoring her beautiful photographs and life. She will be laid at rest at her beloved ranch in Waller County. Condolences may be shared on Earthman Funeral Directors website for the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to BARC Animal Shelter, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Children's Assessment Center, or a Homeless Shelter of your choice.
A tribute to Pam which appeared in the Houston Chronicle is linked below:
Pamela Francis Wilson
September 20, 2020
I will always remember your amazing spirit in everything I do. Rest In Peace dear Pam.
August 2, 2020
Could count on a good story or two when working with Pam at her home. Seems there was always something that needed repair and we worked together as a team.
Her wit and recall of some of Houston’s past was always so interesting to me and her involvement to the community was substantial.
Will miss her and may she RIP
Prayers to the family
July 31, 2020
This photo is by Russ Webb taken at Spaceland in the mid 1990's, with "Animal" Art Ingrao during her training to flat back her canopy. We made some jumps together and of course had some good fun. I remember her fondly and miss her smile. I still have the T-shirt she got me from the Whenuapai New Zealand drop zone. A genuine free spirit and good heart. God bless you Pam and your family!
July 28, 2020
Sweet Lady, greatly missed
Great Lady, sweetly missed
July 28, 2020
I'll always be thankful for Pam's friendship and the opportunity she provided me to move to Houston to work together. Over the course of several years I worked alongside Pam as a photographer's assistant driving up and down Texas roads or flying to a location for an assignment. I have many great memories of those times together, the people we met and photographed, along with the places traveled. Pam had the ability to connect with people and immediately build a rapport, regardless of someone's social status, title, or place in this world. Pam was herself- there were no walls- and her warmth, humor, genuine curiosity and interest in someone's life, along with her self-confidence and comfort in her own skin was felt by people. Those qualities that are part of who she is helped her create captivating portraits of people looking natural in front of the camera.
I was glad to see Molly Glentzer's story about Pam in the Houston Chronicle. As I read, the sub-heading 'Sassy and self-assured' stood out and took me back to a photo shoot in the summer of 2000 with then Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush. We drove early one morning to Austin for the photo shoot at the governor's mansion, the Secret Service safety checked all the equipment upon arrival, and we began setting up four separate lighting sets in preparation for the afternoon photo shoot. We were dressed in our Sunday best for the occasion and it was a typical hot, humid summer day. Pam wanted to take the first images outside and I recall my suit being drenched in sweat by the time (Pres.) Bush arrived and Pam still looking cool as a cucumber. After the shoot began, Pam was directing him at one point how to sit and he looked over at me with a smirk and said "She's a sassy gal, ain't she?!!" I smiled and agreed, and Pam laughed and went right on shooting. Rest in peace, my friend. You had a kind heart and made this world better. I'm praying for the Wilson family.
July 26, 2020
I met Pamela at the Houston Rodeo back in 1980. She really enjoyed the western life from riding in the Salt Grass Trail, the Grand Entry at the rodeo and other fun rodeo committee functions.
She was a great friend. The picture attached is from the rodeo back in 1980.
July 26, 2020
One of the most effortlessly “hip” artists I’ve ever met. And anything but boring. Great person all around.
July 23, 2020
Praying for all of Pam’s family. I am thinking of all of you during this sad time, when you have lost Pam. She was your Angel here on earth, she just has moved to Heaven to greet each one of you, when you take your eternal journey. Know she is watching over all of you and helping you,Cindi, take care of everyone! God Bless the Wilson family!