Wilgus History

Sussex County Beginnings

William F. Wilgus, Jr., once a State Senator, started the Wilgus Insurance Agency in 1945. He worked as a bookkeeper for a poultry and insurance firm doing business as Truitt & Steelman, located in Dagsboro, Delaware. Wilgus purchased the insurance portion of the business from Truitt & Steelman for $1,000.00. This young insurance company prospered and in 1956, Gerald W. Wilgus joined his father’s business after attending Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Delaware. Gerald proceeded to grow the business and became the first President and Chairman of the Board of Wilgus Associates, Inc.

The Bethany Beach Bowling Alley

Gerald Wilgus’ business career began in 1943 when at the age of seven he began setting up pins in the family owned and operated Bethany Beach Bowling Alley which was built by his grandfather, T.G. Walston, in 1930. By the age of 14, Gerald was managing the bowling alley. This was the same bowling alley where William F. Wilgus, Jr., established the first location of the Wilgus Insurance Agency. Gerald continued as the manager of the bowling alley until it was destroyed during the storm in March of 1962.

Expanding the business

It was during the 1980s that Gerald’s three children each graduated from the University of Delaware and joined the company to become the third generation to work at the family business: Michael in 1981, David in 1985, and Melanie in 1988. Michael initially joined the company as a clerk in the Summer Rental Department, advanced on as a Rental Agent, Sales Agent, and eventually a Real Estate Broker. David began his career at Wilgus in the Insurance Department as an agent and progressed to become the company’s Insurance Broker. Melanie headed the Appraisal Division for a number of years before she and her family relocated out of the area.

Passing the Torch

January of 2002 brought about many corporate changes at Wilgus Associates. Gerald, who had semi-retired several years previous, officially retired from the business. Michael became President while David continued as Wilgus’ Secretary~Treasurer. The first representative of the fourth generation in the Wilgus family began at the family business in June of 2006. Kylie Wilgus Givens, a graduate of Goldey Beacom College, continues to work in many areas of support at the company, including advertising, real estate sales and vacation rentals. Derek Wilgus began working at Wilgus in 2020 as an insurance agent upon graduation from West Virginia University. After 15 years in the restaurant industry, Chris Givens, Kylie’s husband, began working at Wilgus Associates in the Property Management Division as a Community Manager.

In Conclusion

Many years have past and much change has occurred since the days of the one room insurance office on the oceanfront in Bethany Beach. Without the dedicated staff and the loyal customers over the past seventy five years, Wilgus Associates would not have prospered and realized the success that is enjoyed today. Honesty, professionalism, and integrity continue to be the basis on which this company conducts business. To each of you that has done business with us, whether many years ago or just last week, we thank you. To those of you who may be interested in what we offer, come check us out!

Skip to content