Gary Dean Wilkerson
Gary went unexpectedly to be with the Lord February 15, 2015. Gary Dean Wilkerson was born July 16, 1953 in Pensacola, Fla. to Roland Ansel Wilkerson and Dorothy Vayle (Specht) Wilkerson. He was the youngest of four children, and being the only boy, he kept his parents on their toes. Gary was born in Florida as his Dad, who was a U.S. Naval Pilot, was called there to set up training programs for pilots returning from Korea. When Gary was born, his father didn't believe the doctor at first and said, Sure, doc. How much did she weigh? Being a military family, there were many moves during the early years of Gary's life. They moved from Florida to Sunnyvale, Calif. in 1954, and then to Hawaii, which was then only a territory and not a state, in 1956. While in Hawaii, Gary's mother learned that the red lava soil was very difficult to remove from the pants of a very active, blond-haired little boy. The family moved again to Cupertino, Calif., where he and his sisters loved to play in the building sites that were rapidly replacing the orchards. This was short-lived however, as the family was reassigned back to Barber's Point base in Hawaii, where Gary and his sisters had a marvelous time running around with herds of other Navy brats, and had the beach two blocks away. They loved to play at the beach, and used the remains of WWII pillboxes to launch themselves into the surf, or use the big airplane inner tubes that Roland supplied to jump on and land in the waves. As a child, Gary also had a great love for playing baseball. He often spoke of fond memories of playing Little League and even accidentally giving his sister Linda a black eye while playing catch.
After his father retired from the service, the family settled in Ashland, Ore. while Gary was in high school. He graduated in 1971 from Ashland High, and went on to study for a brief time at Oregon State University in Corvallis. However, he joined the Navy himself in 1973, and after his time in the service, found that he could earn a good living working in road construction.
On a lovely July day in 1978, he married Kathy Delsman, and together they had three daughters, Emily in 1979, Jessica in 1981, and Mary in 1983. The family loved camping, being outdoors, swimming, and listening to music. Gary instilled in his daughters a love for the Lord, joy in laughter, and to always show love toward each other. Although there were turbulent years, and Gary and Kathy eventually divorced, these values still made a lasting impression on his family.
In 2009 he met Pamela Mevis, whose bright smile and friendship he treasured. He married his best friend in 2010 in Grants Pass, Ore. along the Rogue River. Happily he gained three more lovely daughters, Bethanie, Melanie, and Libby. Both he and Pam shared a love for golfing and spending time outdoors. They wished to find a home to settle down in, and purchased their dream home in Wolf Creek this past year.
Gary was a blessing to all who knew him. He loved being outdoors, playing golf, working in the yard, swimming in the Applegate River, having fun with his grandkids, and making memories with those he loved. He was an extremely musical person, and could often be seen jamming to his favorite songs, playing the harmonica, or singing beautiful melodies. He loved his Lord with all of his heart, and it was apparent to all that there was something different about him. He was planning to retire this July from Knife River Materials, where he worked as a heavy-equipment operator in the paving department.
He is survived by his wife, Pam; his daughters, Holly Mitchell of Visalia, Calif., Emily (Ricky) Iboa, of Medford, Jessica (Austin) Maloney, of Beaverton, Mary (Paul) Allen of Eugene, Bethanie (Kevin) Wilson of Beaverton, Melanie (Tylein) Manumaleuna of Utah, and Libby Mevis of California; his sisters, Cathy (Don) Williams of Yakima, Wash., Patti (Terry) Adams of Ashland, and Linda (Grant) Godard of Central Point; his grandchildren, Brandon, Darian, and Jordan Mitchell of California, Isabel and Daniel Iboa of Medford, Aden, Dylan, and Ella Maloney of Beaverton, Caleb Allen of Eugene, Noah and Gracie Manumaleuna of Utah, and Ellison Wilson of Beaverton. He was preceded in death by his parents, first his mother in 1984, and his father in 2000.
There will be a graveside service to be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, February 23, 2015 at the Eagle Point National Cemetery, followed by a Celebration of Life service at 2:00 p.m. on the same day at Rogue Valley Christian Church, 1440 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford.