Thomas Lester Wilkerson, Sr., 88, of Varina, VA, passed away Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at the Hunter Homes McGuire Veterans Nursing Home. Born May 27, 1920 in Forest City, NC, he was the second child born to the union of the late Mary Rose Ella Reavis Wilkerson and Thomas Jethro Wilkerson. A 1937 graduate of Sunshine High School, he joined the U. S. Navy in 1939 and served aboard the USS Hopkins and USS Schenek. During World War II he saw duty in both the European and Pacific Theaters and served aboard the USS Ancon as chief radioman. He took part in the invasions at Normandy, Sicily, Salerno, and Okinawa, and was granted a medical discharge from the Navy in 1945. Mr. Wilkerson was a 1954 graduate of the University of Richmond from which he received an accounting degree. Until 1972 he was employed by Eubank White Truck Company as Secretary-Treasurer and in 1982 he retired from O’Boyle Tank Lines. Before his decline in health, he enjoyed deepwater fishing, golf, reading, and playing cards especially bridge and gin rummy. He was a great storyteller and loved a good joke. Thomas was a member and past president of the Varina Ruritan Club and in 1971, he received the Varina Citizen of the Year Award. He was a fifty year member of the Varina Masonic Lodge #272 and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #9808, Mechanicsville, VA. Mr. Wilkerson was baptized in Robinson Creek at Mount Harmony Baptist Church, Bostic, NC and was a member for forty six years of Four Mile Creek Baptist Church, Richmond, VA. At Four Mile Creek he faithfully attended Sunday School, was a deacon, and served on the finance and pastor search committees.Surviving are his loving and devoted wife of sixty-three years, Juanita Page Wilkerson of the home; children and their spouses, Thomas Wilkerson, Jr. and Linda of Moscow Mills, MO, Eugene Wilkerson and Megan of Oakville, WA, Marsha W. Whitehead and Brad of Courtland, VA, Malinda W. Blevins and Bill of Tallahassee, FL, and Richard Wilkerson and Shawna of Richmond, VA; sixteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first child, Sandra Floy Wilkerson and a sister, Hester Malinda Tony.The funeral was held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, November 1, 2008 at Four Mile Creek Baptist Church with Pastor Sam Grozdanov and Rev. Eugene Wilkerson officiating. The family will received friends at the church for one hour before the service. A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, November 3, 2008 at Forest Hill Cemetery, Morganton, NC. The family expresses their heartfelt thanks to the staff of the V. A. Medical Center Nursing Home for their patience, kindness, and exceptional care given to Mr. Wilkerson. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Four Mile Creek Baptist Church, 2950 New Market Rd., Richmond, VA.

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