Jimmy George Wilkinson, 90, of Tama, passed away Saturday, April 6, 2013, at Carrington Place of Toledo where he had resided for the previous month under the care of Iowa River Hospice. Memorial Services will be held Tuesday, April 9, at 11 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church Worship Center in Toledo with Pastor Brian Oliver officiating. Interment will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo. Memorial Visitation will be held Monday, April 8, from 4-7 p.m. at Kruse-Phillips Funeral Home in Tama.
Jimmy was born on Nov. 9, 1922, in East Peru, Iowa, SW of Des Moines, to his parents, Clyde and Ruth (Smith) Wilkinson. They later moved to Winterset, Iowa, where he graduated from high school in 1940. He excelled in many sports in school in the late 1930's, including football, basketball, tennis, track, and baseball, even setting some school and state records which lasted up into the late 1970's. As teenagers, Jim occasionally played baseball with future pro ball player Bob Feller, where he managed to hit a double off him, something which still amazed him for decades later. He later attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, briefly before joining the Army for World War II. Jim served in the Engineering Corps, building Bailey bridges in Europe. He also participated in the Battle of the Bulge. Previous to leaving for Europe, Jim travelled on leave to Montezuma, Iowa, to visit his father working as a temporary pharmacist. Upon entering the small drug store where his father was at, he met an attractive young teenage Grace Irene Anderson, also working in the store. They were married shortly later in Ft. Smith, Arkansas on August 9, 1944, before he left for Europe, and were eventually together for over sixty-seven years of marriage. Upon returning home after the war, he enrolled and graduated from Pharmacy College at Drake University, eventually owning and operating the Wilkinson Rexall Drug store in Toledo, Iowa, with his wife, Grace. During this time, Jim enjoyed playing golf and bowling, going to many local and state tournaments. As an excellent golfer, he had a '4' handicap even into his 70's, often beating out many younger players he was with. Jim also loved flying aircraft, and in the mid-1960's accomplished getting his pilot license and part membership in the T&T Flying Club, many times flying with family and friends across the state. Jim always loved sports, following many of the local high school and college teams. He rooted avidly for the Iowa Hawkeyes for many decades, especially enjoying the games in the comfort of his recliner in his declining years. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his older brother, Robert Wilkinson (Fullerton, CA); and his older sister, Wilma Beverlin (East Peru, IA). Survivors include his wife Grace of Tama; two sons, Gary Dean (Nancy) Wilkinson of St. Louis, MO, and Terry Lynn Wilkinson of Tama; his nieces, Linda (Bob) Wankel of Placentia, CA, and Diane Concepcion of Cedar City, UT. Memorials may be directed to Christ United Methodist Church in Toledo or the Tama-Toledo Country Club.
Jimmy George Wilkinson