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F. Stuart "Stu" Wilkins

F. Stuart "Stu" Wilkins In Memoriam
F. Stuart 'Stu' Wilkins
83, of North Canton, passed away Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at Aultman Hospital, after a brief illness. Stu was born on Feb. 25, 1928 in Canton, Ohio, to Frederic S. and Alma G. (Moon) Wilkins. He was a lifelong resident of the greater Canton area. Stu and his wife, B.J., the former Betty Jean Bartlow, observed their 60th wedding anniversary on Feb. 2, 2011.
In addition to his wife, Stu is survived by a son, James S. 'Jim' Wilkins and his wife, Jill Jensen of Lexington, Ky.; sister-in-law, Arlene A. Bartlow of New York City; two step- grandsons, Paul (Kalissa Hugger) Jensen and their daughter, Corianna of Zion, Ill., and Todd (Zoe) Jensen of Boulder, Colo. Stu was predeceased by his parents; a brother, Richard S. Wilkins (1997); and brother-in-law, Carl E. Bartlow (1992).
A graduate of the former Canton Lincoln High School, Class of 1945, Stu was captain of the football team and class president his senior year. He was selected by the Associated Press as a first-team All-Ohio tackle in 1944. Stu received his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1949, and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1952. He played for the Michigan Wolverines football team from 1945 to 1948. Three of these teams won Big Ten Championships. He and Dominic Tomasi, a Phi Delta Theta Fraternity brother, were the starting offensive guards for Fritz Crisler's undefeated 1947 team and were known as the 'watch-charm' guards. The 1947 season was climaxed with a 49-0 win over USC in the 1948 Rose Bowl game. Stu also played for Bennie Oosterbaan's undefeated 1948 Michigan Wolverine football team that won an undisputed national championship. Stu was admitted to the bar in 1952 and briefly practiced law in Canton before receiving a commission as a first lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the United States Army. He served overseas at Camp Crawford, near Sappora, Hokkaido, Japan, during the Korean War. Upon his return to Canton in 1954, he was associated in the practice of law with his father, and Paul M. Perkins, William Cochrane, Jr. and John R. Milligan, a Michigan Law classmate. In the mid-1960's he became a senior partner in Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty law firm where he was managing partner for many years. Stu was an active lawyer in Canton for more than 50 years, having been involved in corporate, finance and real estate work. He served Citizens Savings Bank (now First Merit) as legal counsel and a member of the Board of Directors for many years. Stu's favorite avocation was flying. His lifelong interest in flying was a legacy from his father who was a private pilot and a founder of the Akron-Canton Airport in the 1940's. When a teenager Stu became a licensed pilot and later obtained multiple ratings. He especially enjoyed flying 4533Delta, the Beechcraft Bonanza that he shared with a friend. Many vacation flights are fondly remembered by his family. Stu has held leadership positions in many of the organizations he served, including the boards of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Akron-Canton Regional Airport, Canton Automobile Club, Ohio Automobile Club, American Automobile Association, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Stark County Legal Aid Society, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Girl Scouts of America Great Trail Council, United Way of Central Stark County, Game Reserve Association and the University of Michigan Club of Stark County. Stu was a charter member of the steering committee appointed to bring the Pro Football Hall of Fame to Canton, and was a founding member of its board of trustees in 1960. He remained a member of the board for more than 45 years and served as the chairman of the board from 1984 to 1997. Stu served as vice chairman of the Board of the American Automobile Association prior to serving as chairman for two terms from 1989 to 1991. Among the awards received by Stu was the Distinguished Service Award from the Canton Jaycees for his efforts in establishing the Hall of Fame in Canton. He was also named one of the five outstanding young men in Ohio by the Ohio Jaycees in 1964. In 2000 he received the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Award of Merit and a Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Canton Lincoln High School Alumni Association. He was inducted into the Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Stu was a member of Community Christian Church for over forty years and held leadership positions during his active years. The family would like to thank the professional and compassionate caregivers at Aultman Hospital and The Inn at BeldenVillage.
A life celebration for Stu will be held on Thursday, March 31st. at 11 a.m. at Community Christian Church, Dr. Donald Baird officiating with visitation from 10 to 11 a.m.Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Aultman Hospice, 2821 Woodlawn Ave. N.W., Canton, OH 44708, Community Christian Church, 210 North Main St., North Canton OH 44720, or the Pro Football Hall of Fame Museum, 2121 Harrison Ave. N.W., Canton, OH 44708 - in memory of F. Stuart Wilkins.
Arnold-Canton 330-456-7291

Published in The Repository on Mar. 30, 2011
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