BRADENTON -- Funeral arrangements are set for the Duette grandparents who died after a tornado picked up their doublewide mobile home early Sunday and dropped it 100 yards from its foundation, as the surviving relatives continue to recover.
Stephen Wilson, 58, and Kelli "Kade" Wilson, 51, their son Stephen Wilson and four grandchildren were all inside the mobile home when the tornado hit at 3:20 a.m. Sunday. The elder Wilson, who celebrated his birthday the prior Thursday, died instantly, while his wife managed to get out from under the debris but died of a heart attack later at Blake Medical Center.
The younger Wilson, his two sons, daughter and niece were all hospitalized for their non-life threatening injuries. The two girls had initially been listed in critical condition.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, a funeral will be held for Stephen and Kelli Wilson at Griffith-Cline Funeral, 720 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
"All the kids are stable and doing very well," according to family friend Brendan Betancourt. "I anticipate them to be out soon."
Betancourt works with Justin Hessinger at Charlotte County Fire Rescue and knows Hessinger's fiance Leah Patten, the parents of one of the little girls. Patten, a trauma nurse at Blake medical center, is Stephen and Kelli Wilson's daughter.
"They are holding up relatively well considering," Betancourt said. "The outpouring of support from all the community has been very overwhelming for them."
Betancourt established a GoFundMe account to help the family with funeral costs, medical expenses and other incidentals. As of Tuesday evening, the account had raised more than $26,000 of its $30,000 goal. To donate, go to gofundme.com/tdjpcxek.
Betancourt said he and colleagues at Charlotte County Fire Rescue have been bringing food to the family at the hospital.
A second GoFundMe account has been formed by Samantha Wilson Mollander for Stephen Wilson and his three children. It had raised more than $1,000 of its $10,000 goal by Tuesday evening. To donate, gofundme.com/duettetdadandkids.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.