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Charles Edward Wilkerson

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Charles Edward Wilkerson, 92, died peacefully on Thursday, February 20, 2014, with his wife of 55 years, Sallie Ray Wilkerson by his side. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at Lakeside Baptist Church, 1501 Sunset Avenue, in Rocky Mount at 3 p.m. with visitation preceding the service at 2 p.m. and immediately following the service. Graveside services will be held on Monday, February 24, 2014, at Forest Lawn Cemetery, 407 East Laburnam Avenue, in Richmond, Virginia, at 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Wilkerson was a native of Essex County, Virginia, born on April 1, 1921. He was the youngest of six children born to parents John Pullen Wilkerson and Eva Eubank Wilkerson. He is preceded in death by siblings Alan, Thelma, Christine, Evelyn, and Marie. Charles was a 1943 graduate of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, with a degree in Architecture. He graduated as valedictorian of that class. He enlisted with the U.S Army in that same year and was assigned to the Corps of Engineers and shipped to the Philippine Islands following basic training. His unit was involved with fortifying beachheads in the South Pacific prior to the end of the Second World War, and he served as part of the U.S. Army's occupational force of Japan following that nation's surrender. Many of the friendships he forged in Japan, with two Japanese families, remained with him to the present day.
Mr. Wilkerson returned to the states to pursue his career in architecture in Richmond, Virginia, and in 1955 was named as a partner in the firm of Walford & Wright Architects. In 1956 he meet his future bride, Sallie Ray Bowers, a native of Halifax County, North Carolina, and the two were married on February 14, 1959. In 1961, he became a managing partner in his firm and the name was changed to Wright, Jones & Wilkerson Architects based at 22 East Cary Street.
Mr. Wilkerson's firm specialized in collegiate projects throughout the state of Virginia with numerous buildings still in use on the campuses of Virginia State University, James Madison University, Virginia Union University, The College of William and Mary, Mary Washington College and the former Southern Seminary College. In 1982, Mr. Wilkerson was awarded the William C. Nolan Award for outstanding achievement by the American Institute of Architects. In that same year, he was also named to the College of Fellows. His final professional project was the design of the Virginia Horse Center located in Lexington, Virginia, in 1991.
Mr. Wilkerson and his wife, Sallie Ray, raised three children in Richmond, Virginia; the late Judy Anderson, formerly of Raleigh; Ann Wilkerson Suber of Cary; and Ed Wilkerson of Seven Springs. He served as a deacon, choir member, and Sunday School teacher at Ginter Park Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, for more than 50 years before relocating to Rocky Mount in 2007.
Mr. Wilkerson is survived in death by his wife, Sallie Ray Wilkerson of Rocky Mount; daughter and son-in-law Ann and Paul Suber of Cary; son and daughter-in-law Ed and Dalva Wilkerson of Seven Springs; and six grandchildren; Ben Suber, Jonathan Suber, Camille Wilkerson, Sam Suber, Casey Wilkerson, and Connor Wilkerson. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions are encouraged to be made to the American Institute for Cancer Research, P.O. Box 97167, Washington, D.C. 20077 or to Lakeside Baptist Church, 1501 Sunset Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.
Arrangements entrusted to Wheeler and Woodlief Funeral Home, 1130 N. Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount NC 27804. You may share memories and condolences with the family by visiting www.wheelerwoodlief.com.
Published in Rocky Mount Telegram on Feb. 22, 2014
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