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Manuel E. Wilkey

Obituary
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Manuel E. Wilkey, or "Wilkey" as he was known to friends and family, died August 24, 2013 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Born and raised in Illinois, Wilkey was assigned to the US Army base in Yuma after returning from the Korean War via an assignment at West Point Military Academy. As they traversed Telegraph Pass into the Yuma area, he joked with his Army buddy, "Who did we piss off?" Wilkey quickly fell in love with Yuma and remained there after his discharge from the US Army in order to pursue the American Dream. He pumped gas, bought the gas station, and started "Wilkey Motor Company" within a five-year period.

As the rapid population growth in Arizona continued, he transitioned from selling cars and started Midway Mobile Homes in 1963, which later became Prestige Homes, Inc. By the 1980s, he was the largest mobile home dealer in Arizona with locations in Yuma, Phoenix, Mesa, Tucson, Sierra Vista, Cottonwood, Kingman, and Las Vegas and Pahrump, NV. He ventured into land development, mini-storage, furniture sales and manufacturing, restaurants, race cars, fuel injector manufacturing, and a variety of pursuits that provided a myriad of humorous stories over the years. Managing these locations allowed Wilkey to pursue one of his strongest passions - flying. He owned numerous planes over the years, but his favorite was the V-tail Bonanza that he bought new from the Beechcraft factory in 1968.

Wilkey was a high-energy, outspoken individual who had a significant impact on his family, friends, and employees. Like so many of his generation with military experience, he believed that the greatest gift he ever received was being an American - a gift that he cherished and pursued through his business life. Wilkey is survived by his wife, Nancy; children: William, Jean, Marybeth, Lisa, Ann, Eric, Susan, Nathan, and Michael; 16 grandchildren; sisters: Carrie, Betty, Patsy, and Judy; and numerous employees. He is preceded in death by his son Matthew, daughter Jeri-Ruth, brother Jim, and ex-wife Mary Lou.

He was buried at the National Veterans Cemetery in Cave Creek, AZ. is a deserving organization for memorials.
Published in The Yuma Sun from Oct. 19 to Oct. 20, 2013
bullet Army bullet Korean War
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