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Stanley Elbert Wilker

1930 - 2011 Obituary Condolences
Stanley Elbert Wilker Obituary
Stanley passed away on March 26, 2011 at the age of 80 following a brief but intense battle with cancer. He was born on December 1, 1930 in Tulare, California, the only son of Helen Elice Johnson and John Bertram Wilker. Stan graduated from Mount Tamalpias High School in Mill Valley, California in 1949, where he excelled at sports, lettering in baseball, football and basketball. He attended Marin Junior College and played Minor League Baseball before enlisting in the U. S. Army and serving in the Korean War. Following his active service, he was accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1956. After graduation, he was hired as an engineer by North American Aviation, which later became Rockwell International, working in Huntsville, Alabama and Canoga Park, California. In 1958, he was transferred to the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico, where he worked as a rocket test engineer. While living in nearby El Paso, Texas, he met the love of his life, Betty Jo Barnes, on a blind date and asked her to marry him two weeks later. Shortly after their engagement, Stan was transferred back to Canoga Park to test fire rocket engines at the Santa Susana Mountains Field Laboratory for Rocketdyne, a division of North American Aviation. Betty Jo joined him in Canoga Park following their marriage on December 23, 1958. Their only daughter, Carolynn Lee, was born in 1961. In 1966, Stan and his family moved to the unincorporated area of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, which later became the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, to accept a position as a project manager with TRW in Redondo Beach. He worked for the iconic aerospace company for twenty-four years, ultimately serving as contracts division manager, during which time he managed the contracts for numerous landmark space exploration and communication satellite projects. Stan served as class historian for the West Point Class of 1956 for 35 years, president of the West Point Society of Los Angeles (1968), and president of the National Contract Managers Association (1986-87). Following his retirement in 1990, Stan and Betty enjoyed twenty years of traveling the country together, buying and selling antiques, and pursuing their shared interest in American Old West history. Stan is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Betty Jo; his daughter, Carolynn and son-in-law, Andy Petru of Rolling Hills Estates; and several cousins. The family will be holding a private memorial service. Donations in Stan's memory can be made to the West Point Association of Graduates, USMA '56 Administrative Fund, c/o Gerry Richardson, 148 Indian Pass, Stormville, New York 12582, or another charity of your choice. Please sign the guest book at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.

"And when our work is done, our course on earth is run, may it be said Well Done; Be Thou At Peace."
Published in Daily Breeze on Apr. 5, 2011
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