WILKES, James Robert, Sr., 84 of Brooksville, passed in to eternal life on Saturday, May 13, 2017.
He was born in Panama City, Florida, to Shannon Stephen and Ollie Bea Wilkes on January 12, 1933. One of four children growing up during the WWII Era, he was known as James Robert. In 1947, while James was in 8th grade, his father took a job in Dothan, Alabama, moving James and the rest of the family away from the place and friends that they had grown up with. After graduating from Dothan High School in 1952, James married in 1956 and moved to Lakeland, Florida where he was employed with Publix Supermarket. In 1959, he was transferred as assistant manager to the Publix store in Brooksville. His first son, James Robert, Jr. had just been born, and in 1961 Richard was born. The longer J.R. lived in Brooksville, the more he came to love it and all the people who lived here, including a special friend, Tom Varn, Sr. “To me, I had arrived in God’s country”. Over time, he made many friends in Brooksville, and became known as James, Jim, J.R. or whatever other nickname he may have been given. In Brooksville, he became owner and operator of Wilkes Oil Company. He was one of the founding members of Brooksville Country Club, active with Dixie Youth League Baseball and was a member of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Shannon & Ollie Bea Wilkes and his sisters, Rita Wilkes Thacker and Sylvia Wilkes Ford. Survivors include his sons & daughter-in-law: James R. “Jay” Wilkes, Jr. of Vail, Colorado and Richard Shannon, Sr. & Janelle Wilkes of Brooksville; brother & sister-in-law: Gary C. & Gail Wilkes of Panama City, FL and grandchildren: Richard Shannon Wilkes, Jr. and Kaitlin Elizabeth Wilkes. As well as several nieces and nephews, his special friend and companion, Julia Pittman of Dade City and the mother of his children, Nancy.
“I want to thank everyone for their prayers during my illness, and if I have ever offended or mistreated anyone, I want to ask that you forgive me. Love you all, and God bless you”
– James R. Wilkes, Sr.
Visitation for friends will be, Friday, May 19, 2017 from 5-7pm at the Merritt Funeral Home, Brooksville Chapel. Funeral services will be conducted Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 1:00pm at Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church with Pastors Dave Franklin and Matt Everhard officiating. Burial will follow at the Brooksville Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Dixie Youth League Baseball or Faith Presbyterian Church Youth programs.
MERRITT FUNERAL HOME
“Family Owned & Operated”
Charitable donations may be made to:
Hernando Youth League, Inc. fka Dixie Youth League
PO Box 12449, Brooksville FL 34603
Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church Youth Programs
200 Mt Fair Avenue, Brooksville FL 34601