December 16, 1951 - December 15, 2020
Lakewood, Washington - Weston James Wilkins was born on December 16, 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts. He died on December 15, 2020 at home in Lakewood, Washington. Wes leaves behind a sister and a brother and innumerable stories of hijinks and mayhem. He will be missed by family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
Wes grew up in the Tacoma area. A few years after graduating from Lakes High School in 1970, Wes enlisted in the Coast Guard. For the rest of his life, Weston cherished memories of time spent on the island of Angaur in the Republic of Palau and regaled his nieces with stories of that period, notably the tale of the Sail Toad. Post-Coast Guard, Wes relocated to Tacoma and then made his way east. In his early forties, after a decade as a guard at the penitentiary in Walla Walla, Weston went back to school to earn his Associate's degree and eventually became a Licensed Practical Nurse. Wes eventually left the eastern Washington landscapes he loved and returned to Pierce County to be closer to family. He was still working as a nurse at the time of his passing.
An avid reader, Wes devoured books on just about every subject: geology, history, anthropology, and philosophy; he also enjoyed the true crime of Ann Rule, the western literature of Louis L'Amour, and every issue of The New Yorker. Sharing and swapping magazines and books kept Wes busy and connected to other readers in the family. After teaching himself jewelry-making techniques, Wes created many striking necklaces out of antlers, bones, and minerals. He was creative, a terrific storyteller, kind to animals, a lover of open spaces, and hostile toward traffic congestion. (Wes was also an early Muppets aficionado and did a spot-on Grover impression.)
Weston was preceded in death by his father, John Wilkins (Jack, d. 1977); his mother, Ruth Woodruff (d. 1999); and his younger brother Charles (Charlie, d. 2011). Mourning his loss are: Wes's sister Betsy Mathias and friend and brother-in-law Chuck Mathias of Steilacoom, Washington; brother Richard Wilkins of Puyallup, Washington; nieces Sarah Smith of Cheyenne, Wyoming and Cassandra de Kanter and Laura Mathias of Tacoma, Washington. Lifelong friend Pamela Moffett was chosen family to Wes and a companion for many good meals and adventures. Deeply loved and sorely missed, Wes will be remembered for his intellectual curiosity and big heart.
Published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on Jan. 3, 2021.