Constance Caroline Wilkes
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Constance Caroline Wilkes

Knoxville - Constance Caroline Wilkes, age 77, passed away on Thursday, May 21, 2020. After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, West Virginia, Connie attended the University of Tennessee where she received her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees. While at UTK, she was honored with membership in Kappa Phi and Pi Lambda Theta Honor societies. Her passion for education led to a 41 year teaching career at Knox Central High School. Connie's wonderful friends Pat Cosey, Stephanie Patterson, Marshall Horton, Frank and Rhonda Humphrey made sure that Connie could do many of the things she loved. They enjoyed luncheons and visits to Historic Cities in East Tennessee. Most important, she was able to vote. Since they knew that she loved to read, they ordered subscriptions to all her favorite newspapers and magazines. The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to Dr. Susan Newman, University Cancer Specialist, Dr. Christine Lauro, UT Radiology, and Dr. Judith Kinzy at UT Faculty Internal Medicine for the compassionate and excellent care she received. Connie was preceded in death by her parents, William Wesley, Jr. and Helen Sisson Wilkes; brothers, William Wesley Wilkes, III and Robert David Wilkes; sister, Nancy Grace Powell; and nephew, William Wesley Wilkes, IV. She is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Jane and Edward Rymer; sisters-in-law, Deborah Wilkes and Jean Wilkes; and nieces and nephews, Fred Powell, Dr. Jennifer Rymer (Daniel Shumate), Kristin (Gary) Loveday, Courtney (Todd) Claxton, and James (Tonya) Powell, and best friends for over 50 years, Jean Payne. At Connie's request, There Will be no services. Online condolences may be extended at www.rosemortuary.com.






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Published in Knoxville News Sentinel from May 22 to May 24, 2020.
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MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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39 entries
May 25, 2020
Ms. Wilkes was epic -- perceptive, funny, creative, eccentric, deeply kind, a brilliant teacher. I had never been interested in history until taking her World History class as a freshman at Central (1996-97), and then I kept coming back for her AP U.S. and European History courses, even though the latter meant a 7:30am start time for this non-morning person. We wore costumes, we played the stock market game, we were divided into nation-based teams and had to negotiate solutions to the major world wars. It was a wonderful, lively way to learn. And Ms. Wilkes was such a devoted citizen, encouraging us to show up to help, caring for the underdog, doing generous acts behind the scenes. I remember her saying that when she retired, she wanted to ride the K-Trans bus around town and eat at Amber Restaurant. I hope she had many wonderful days of doing just that! RIP Ms. Connie Wilkes, you were a true mensch, and we are the better for having known you.
Laura Rosser Kreiselmaier
May 25, 2020
You were always a friend when a friend was needed. I will miss running into you in unexpected places.
Pat Muncey
May 24, 2020
Ms. Wilkes was a wonderful history teacher at Central High School. Her students are better people for having been taught in her classroom, and I will never forget her impact in my life.
Alexia Eastman Speeks
May 24, 2020
Constance Wiles was my American History teacher at Central in 1981. I remember her distinctly! There were many special, funny moments in that class! At 56, I remember my past better than present time! Connie, I am sure, is in the perfect place, Heaven, at this time! My prayers are with you.
Joseph Carter
May 24, 2020
I was in her World History class her 1st year at Central. Thanks to her, I discovered that I could succeed in school. I went on to earn a BA in Social Studies.
Daryl Cox
May 24, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Jennifer Zaffarano McGrath
Student
May 24, 2020
Enjoyed teaching with her so much!
Betty Maloy
May 23, 2020
Mrs. Wilkes was a wonderful teacher. I still remember many things I learned in her class, and many of the projects we did. My sympathy to the family.
Cindy Walker
May 23, 2020
I am so sorry for your loss. I was very fortunate to have had Ms. Wilkes for World History and AP History. She was such a wonderful teacher..her teaching style was so enjoyable. She actually made you love history. Im so proud to have had her as a teacher and a friend. Rest In Peace my friend. You will be missed and remembered.
Janie Woods
May 23, 2020
When I was 15 or 16 years old, Ms. Wilkes told me I'd make an excellent lawyer. 20 or so years later I fulfilled that vision. Thanks, Ms. Wilkes for giving me my first trial experience in your classroom and for giving me a goal. I hope you'd be proud to know how you inspired me. I wonder how many trial lawyers you created in your history class?? Personally, I know 2! Thanks for everything.
Laree Hensley
May 23, 2020
I have told my children, husband, and friends about Ms Wilkes classes. She was what every teacher should aspire to be. The world is not as bright with her absence.
Ann Butler Watson
Student
May 23, 2020
Mrs. Wilkes was an amazing teacher of history and life. She always had that big smile on her face when students walked into her class. When I speak fondly of people who influenced my life, Mrs. Wilkes is at the top. Prayers for the Wilkes family. (Class of '77)
Tammy Baker Kimball
May 23, 2020
Ms. Wilkes was my favorite teacher in high school, I loved her history classes. So sad to hear of her passing.
Caitlin Stone
May 23, 2020
Had Mrs Wilkes for history in high school. She was the best teacher I think I ever had. RIP Mrs Wilkes
Charles Reich
May 23, 2020
Thanks for being a great teacher and person!
Donna Jenkins
May 23, 2020
Melissa Pointer
May 23, 2020
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James Powell
May 23, 2020
I still talk about my love of history and the teacher that inspired this love. She was quite an amazing person as well as an inspirational teacher. I've never talked with anyone that didn't love her class. She will never be forgotten by the many people that were fortunate to be in her path. Great job living and loving your life Ms Connie! You will be missed!
Central class of 1974
Sheila Cooper Willis
May 23, 2020
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Connie.
She was an adorable person.
She was so considerate and showed her kindness to the CHS Food Service workers. She was always telling us how much she appreciated us.
She loved her students. She would place an order with us through the week for her students to have breakfast on Friday.
Connie, rest in peace.
Jane Henegar
May 23, 2020
Ms. Wilkes was the consummate story teller. I will always remember her talking about her bus ride to Knoxville from her home in West Virginia and passing the Smoky Mountains exit... pronouncing the city Seeeverville'. Every new day, a new story... hers or some piece of juicy history we would have never heard anywhere else back in those pre-internet days. She took kids who had no interest in history nor its relevance and hooked us for life. (Tammi Welch. Class of 88)
Marie Illingworth
May 23, 2020
Dear friend and colleague, you will be missed
Suzanne Miller
Friend
May 23, 2020
Ms. Wilkes was one of my very favorite teachers and people. She encouraged me in and out of the class room. She taught my dad and aunts and uncles too. I consider myself blessed to have been taught by her. Central class of 92.
Connie Wright
May 23, 2020
M Garrett
May 23, 2020
I had Ms. Wilkes for World History and AP US History in the early 90s. She absolutely loved history and sharing it with her students. She had a way of making history come alive and make it very interesting to those like me who werent the biggest history fans. She helped me learn to appreciate history, and that has stayed with me ever since high school.
Leigh Anne Smith Hartman
Student
May 23, 2020
OH Connie, you will be missed. I always enjoyed our conversations in the teacher lounge between classes. You were funny and entertaining. I will always remember how devoted you were to your students.
Janet Wuethrich Hillier
Coworker
May 23, 2020
Ms. Wilkes was my World History teacher at CHS and her influence still effects my own teaching today! She was truly one of a kind. Her care, love, and enthusiasm made a difference in so many of our lives. She is one of my fondest memories. I am so sorry for your loss.
Michelle Miller Clupper
Student
May 23, 2020
In every family, it seems that there is always someone to whom everyone gravitates for thoughts, opinions, and advice. I remember my mom (Nancy) talking about how Aunt Connie was such a good listener & always seemed to come up with the right advice for any situation. Aunt Connie was particularly adept at taking someone facing a low point in their lives, and offering them encouragement & advice to lift them up & inspire them to move forward to better times. I'm sure that Connie's students also saw her in the same way. If everyone loved their job the way that Aunt Connie loved to teach, work would definitely not seem like work. To her students at Central High School, I can attest that she truly loved her work & you as well.
Jimmy Powell
May 23, 2020
You will always live in our hearts and prayers.
Susan Owens-Collins
May 23, 2020
You will be missed I loved your class and it turned into a life long love of History. Thanks for being a great teacher.Class of 92
Jada Bradley McManus
Student
May 23, 2020
Connie Wilkes was my history teacher and a neighbor to my Mom. Rest In Peace .
Deborah Hulsey
Student
May 23, 2020
Connie Wilkes provided both formative and summative support each and every day in her classroom. Ms. Wilkes' used history for supportive and contagious methodology thus enhancing each student through the critical years of their high school education at Central High School. Moreover, from a personal level, Ms. Wilks's enriching nature provided a spark toward 40+ successful years as a high school teacher. Gratefulness from a member of the + class 73' CHS. May Connie Wilkes Rest in Eternal Peace.'
John Michael Blankenship
May 23, 2020
Ms. Wilkes was my absolute favorite teacher at Central. I went into Teaching because of her influence upon my life. Thank You Ms. Wilkes!
Richard Cross
Student
May 23, 2020
Connie Wilkes was also my favorite teacher in high school. She inspired a real love for history in me. During my classes in the late 1960's she would lecture & we took notes. I had a question during one of our civil war lectures and she did not have an answer. The next day she was back with the answer. She truly cared for her students!
Katie Nelson
May 23, 2020
She was an outstanding teacher! Legendary.
Paul Canady
May 23, 2020
Wonderful teacher and friend. Rest In Peace .
May 23, 2020
Connie Wilkes was my favorite high school teacher. Because of her, I started out college as a history major. She was innovative and challenging and provided so much to the students at Central High School. May she rest in peace
Pat Johnson Flemming
Student
May 23, 2020
I worked with Connie for many years at Central High. She was one of the many excellent educators I was privileged to learn from. She was the first one to school every day and was always ready to help.
Gordon Sisk
Coworker
May 22, 2020
Was a teacher that inspired me to challenge myself to reach my fullest potential.She was my best teacher and enhanced my love of history. I would like to think my success in business came at her encouragement.She reached many students at Central and was the epitome of a caring teacher.May she rest in peace
Steve Mays
May 22, 2020
Best teacher I ever had at Central. Loved History because of Ms Wilkes.

Roger Flynn
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