Born: June 30, 1924
Died: June 24, 2014
James Little Wilkison
June 30, 1924 - June 24, 2014
James Little Wilkison was born in Key West, FL to Cortez & Clarice Wilkison, and proudly called himself a Florida Cracker because of his humble roots.
Jim attended high school and later supported Dasher Bible School now Georgia Christian in Valdosta, GA. After graduating, he served in WWII in the Navy as Quartermaster on a PT boat in the South Pacific, achieving final military ranking of Quartermaster First Class.
Jim was married to Ruth Lake (Skinner) Wilkison 67 years.
He graduated from Abilene Christian University, degree in Chemistry, 1949, and took post graduate classes at Rice University in Chemical Engineering before beginning his 39 year career with Shell Oil Company. Shell moved Jim and family from Pasadena, TX to Anacortes, WA to Chicago, IL to New York to Houston, TX where he completed his career April of 1986. Though he continued as a consultant for 2 additional years before retirement, Jim & Ruth Lake returned to Anacortes, WA in 1987 to live in their new home called Eagles Rest.
Jim was an active leader in local churches of Christ where they lived, most recently the Skagit Valley Church of Christ in Burlington. He was a supporter of Christian education serving on the Board of Regents of York College. York honored Jim with the Doctor of Laws Degree in May of 1994. He also served on the Board of Georgia Christian in the 90’s.
Jim was a world traveler who loved nature. Besides visiting all 50 states, he traveled to Canada, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, the Philippines, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Yugoslavia, Denmark, Holland, Finland, Norway, Greece, Cook Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Panama, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa and Nigeria. A Nigerian orphanage was named in Jim’s honor for the assistance he and his N. Houston church gave to its foundation. Jim also participated with this church in humanitarian and mission work in Honduras following a devastating hurricane, serving as their chief cook.
His family also enjoyed his love for cooking including his famous grilled salmon, roasted Thanksgiving turkey, homemade crescent rolls and legendary swamp cabbage.
He was known for being an outdoorsman: fishing, crabbing and boating in Alaska and the Puget Sound, photographing wildlife in their natural habitats, hiking in the Cascades and on the Appalachian Trail, airboat riding in the Florida Everglades, canoeing the Brazos River and Okefenokee Swamp.
Jim was the oldest of 6 siblings and is survived by his sister, Rose Garner and brother, Roy Wilkison. Harry, Hood and Jane are now deceased.
Jim’s loving wife, Ruth Lake, died August 8, 2013 at age 92. Jim is survived by his 6 children: Steve Wilkison and wife Debbie, Joy Thompson, June Steen, Jane Mayeux and husband Rusty, Ron Wilkison and wife Raenell, Rick Wilkison and wife Shari; his 16 grandchildren: Sara Steen, Katie Congelli, James Steen, Kevin & Stephen Steen, Christine & Cassidy Thompson, Jared & Jillian Keahey, Pharrah Peek, Chase Wilkison, Cody & Corey Wilkison, Tannetje Crocker, Jessica Fry and Corey Mayeux, and his 9 great grandchildren.
Jim had several endearing nicknames: Jimbo, Papa and Old Smokey.
A memorial service will be held in Jim’s honor on July 26 at 2:00pm, Skagit Valley Church of Christ, 215 S Gardner Rd., Burlington, WA 98233. For those unable to attend, please send notes of remembrance to Skagit Valley Church of Christ. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Jim’s favorite Christian schools: Georgia Christian School, 4359 Dasher Rd., Valdosta, GA 31601; or York College, 1125 E 8th St., York, NE 68467. Please write “James Wilkison” on the check memo line.