Wilkie Charles Rathbone
Sept. 5, 1930 to May 11, 2019
Wilkie Charles Rathbone, 88, of Morganton passed from this life to meet his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Saturday, May 11, 2019. Born in Bakersville, NC on September 5, 1930, he was the son of the late George Rathbone and Bessie McKinney Rathbone. In addition to his parents, Wilkie was preceded in death by his wife and love of his life, Meredith Juanita Bradley Rathbone; sisters, Cleo Wilson and Gladys Jones; and brother, Emory Rathbone.
He is survived by two daughters, Camille Carswell and LaWanda Willis of Morganton, a son in law, Todd Carswell of Morganton, and four grandchildren, Hillary Yarbrough and husband Joseph of Valdese, Alyssa Willis of Morganton, Andrew Carswell of Morganton, and Dalton Willis of Morganton. Wilkie is also survived by his great grandson, Kellin Yarbrough and great granddaughter, Selah Yarbrough. Mr. Rathbone is also survived by brothers Orlie Rathbone of Bakersville, and sisters Trula Gardner of Bakersville, Rosalee Ledford of Spruce Pine, Brenda Freeman of Marion, Georgia Riddle of Burnsville, and June Frye of Spruce Pine. Among the family include brother and sister in laws and a number of nieces and nephews.
Wilkie joined the Army in 1952 and served in Company C 38th Infantry Regiment during the Korean War. He received the Korean Service Medal with one bronze service star, the United Nations Service Medal, and a Combat Infantry Badge for his service on the front lines.
He married Juanita Bradley Rathbone on June 29th, 1957 at Beaver Creek Baptist Church in Spruce Pine. They worked at American Thread and moved to Marion, NC. They moved to Morganton in 1966 after Wilkie was hired as shipping manager at Highlander Textile Plant. They lived in Morganton for 49 years in the Brentwood Development while he worked as a machinist at Great Lakes Carbon and Rexnord until he retired. Wilkie and Juanita kept foster children for several years, were faithful to the Lord and His church, and helped many with their clothing ministry.
His greatest joys were attending Burkemont Baptist Church, fishing, listening and singing gospel music, and spending time with family and his Sunday School Class at Burkemont. Wilkie and Juanita moved to Springs of Catawba Assisted Living in Hickory, NC in January 2014, and lived there until moving into Memory Care at the Garden Place at Carillon of Newton in April 2016. In March of 2018 he moved to the memory care unit of the NC State Veterans Home in Black Mountain, NC. He enjoyed listening and singing the gospel songs he loved with his family, and was very appreciative to each who attended him. Thank you to each who visited and spent time with him while in assisted living and memory care.
The family would also like to thank the ministerial staff of Burkemont Baptist Church, Lou Lovelace's Sunday School Class at Burkemont, the staff at Springs of Catawba Assisted Living, Dr. Isabelle Eustice, Dr. Charles Davis, Robert and Tammi Brown, the staff at Carillon of Newton, and all of the staff at the NC State Veterans Home in Black Mountain for their loving care of Wilkie.
The family will receive friends from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at Burkemont Baptist Church. The funeral will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the church with Dr. David Mills officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery with military honors provided by the NC National Guard and the Caldwell County Veterans Honor Guard.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Good Samaritan Clinic in Morganton or Gerald Wolfe’s “Operation Sing Again,” (www.goseplmusichymnsing.com).
Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.
You are invited to send personal condolences to the families using the form below.
If you'd like to subscribe to receive notifications of new obituaries you can do so on our obituary notification signup page.
- Jo Ann Crawley Reece
- Myrtle Lee Littlejohn Hardin
- Murray Toney Rhodes
- James Edwin Bass
- Calvin Alexander Carswell