WILKERSON, Ph.D., Harvey JoeAge 77 of Farragut, TN. Joe Wilkerson died peacefully at home on May 26, 2012 with family in attendance. Joe was a Professor Emeritus of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a Registered Professional Engineer. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1956, worked in Seattle, Washington for the Boeing Company as a research specialist in propulsion development and experimental flight test engineering, then received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in 1970. He was a professor for 31 years, retiring in 1999. He participated in the flight testing of the KC-135 refueling tanker and the development of the 747 propulsion systems. He was a licensed pilot at the age of 15 (two weeks before he got a driver's license), and was an active commercial pilot and flight instructor. He investigated and consulted on more than 37 aircraft crashes, including two with the National Transportation Safety Board. Joe was the UT recipient of the Nancy and Leon Cole Superior Teaching Award on two occasions, as well as the holder of many other awards, recognitions and committee chairmanships. In 1988, at the 75th Anniversary of Lebanon High School, where he graduated in 1952, Joe received the Distinguished Alumni Award in the Sciences. He held two patents, one on a takeoff performance monitor for airplanes and another for efficiency improvement on nuclear natural draft cooling towers. He was the published author of many national and international technical papers. Joe Wilkerson was born in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee in 1934. His parents were Harvey and Pearl Wilkerson of Middle Tennessee. Joe was married to Sally Dailey from 1959 to 1992. He is survived by his sister, Sue Corley, and her husband Bill Corley. Joe was unreservedly proud of and demonstrably loved his children, Julie Wilkerson Townsend, her husband Russell, Susan Wilkerson, John Wilkerson and wife Pennye. He was a supportive and most dear husband to Mary Catherine Christofferson. Joe Wilkerson was a gentleman. Arrangements are being provided by McCammon - Ammons -Click Funeral Home in Maryville. There will be a brief informal graveside service at Magnolia Cemetery in Maryville, Wednesday May 30 at 10 a.m. Friends will be received at the Farragut home of Joe and Mary following the service. In lieu of flowers, consider a contribution to: Friends of the Smokies or to Remote Area Medical (RAM). www.mcammonammonsclick.com. McCAMMON-AMMONS-CLICK FUNERAL HOME, (865) 982-6812.
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Published in The Tennessean on May 29, 2012