John R. Wilkinson
FUNERAL HOME
Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home, Inc. - Springfield
1947 East Seminole Street
Springfield, MO
John R. Wilkinson

Back Together Again

John Richard Wilkinson, 67, passed away in his home on Friday, January 11, 2013, surrounded by family and friends, after a long battle with cancer. John was born on July 3, 1945 to parents Dr. Richard and Virginia Wilkinson. He grew up in Springfield, where he attended Greenwood Laboratory School. John was drawn to music very early. At the age of 10, he famously sneaked into Elvis Presley's dressing room before a show at the Shrine Mosque in Springfield, telling Elvis, "you can't play guitar worth a damn." Elvis was amused and impressed with this kid and predicted they would meet again. They did. After playing in a high school band with his classmates called, "The Coachmen," John went on to make a name for himself as a folk and country singer and guitar player. He traveled around the country playing with such groups as The Kingston Trio, The Goodtime Singers, Greenwood County Singers, and The New Christy Minstrels. John and Elvis met again in 1968, when the King of Rock 'n' Roll invited John to join his band. John played over 1,200 shows as Elvis' rhythm guitar player, right up until The King's death in 1977. After that he played less music, and made a living in retail and airline services management. He married his wife, Terry, in 1983. A serious stroke in 1989 left him unable to play the guitar. Nevertheless, for several years after that, he traveled the U.S. and Europe, appearing with the old TCB band and others, singing and paying tribute to Elvis. He was proud of the fact that he never turned down a request for an autograph. Despite his amazing musicianship, the incredible places he got to visit, and his entertaining stories of meeting famous people, the most remarkable thing about John was his kindness. It didn't matter if he was meeting adoring fans, joking with Chuck Berry about keeping his B-string in tune, or if he was talking to a neighbor about her dog, people were people to him. Folks were folks. John would look you square in the eye and accept you, just as you were. There was nothing phony about him. He will be deeply missed. John was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Terry. The family would like to thank Mercy Hospital, Elfindale Manor, Barnes Hospital, and all the nurses and doctors who have been such great help the last four years. Cremation and a private graveside service will be conducted by Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, or the charity of donor's choice.

Published by News-Leader on Jan. 13, 2013.
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80 Entries
It was my honor not only to be John's manager in his final years but also have him as my dear friend. There were times when John was my rock and I will forever love him for being there for me. Hope you boys are enjoying Heaven. You and Elvis deserve it.
Debbie Baker
Friend
January 9, 2021
I have great memories seeing John Wilkerson playing at Elvis's concerts. I know he is up there with Elvis. GOD BLESS. RIP.
RAMONDA BRADY
Acquaintance
January 7, 2021
John Wilkerson, was Elvis's backbone, in playing guitar. Heartfelt prayer's sent for his family. I saw John Wilkerson play at 30 concerts i was at. RIP.
RAMONDA BRADY
Acquaintance
January 7, 2020
Hi Johnny. We miss Terry but know you are thrilled to have her back with you. Now you can truly RIP.
Debbie Baker
September 25, 2017
Still missing you.
Thanks for all the gifts that I treasure.
Your love and friendship I will never forget.
September 24, 2017
Ramonda Brady
July 21, 2016
Dear Terry,
I am so very sorry to hear about he loss of John your husband. It was such a pleasure to meet him back in the mid 1990's, respectively 1995,1996,1997 time frame when we were both working at Prime Option Mastercard in Sandy, Utah. It was a pleasure to come to your and John's home and get a signed autograph of him and Elvis! I hope you are doing well and if you would like to get in touch, you can find me on Facebook, Keri Thomas in Salt Lake City, Utah (send me a message to find out how to get in touch with you). Should I ever be in MO, I would love to take you out to lunch or if you ever come back this way to UT. Sending Love, Comfort, and Understanding your way. Your friend, Keri
Keri Thomas
July 19, 2016
Respect, Prayer's & Strength to the Family
Johnnie Lawson
August 4, 2014
Continuing to miss you and your great sense of humor. Love to Terry always.
Sandi Pichon
January 1, 2014
LOVE YOU JOHN.A TRUE GENTLEMAN AND GREAT FRIEND TO ELVIS.MISS YOU.RIP,BEAUTIFUL MAN
December 31, 2013
Missing you on your birthday, and every day, my friend
Sandi Pichon
July 3, 2013
miss you alot today,I guess because it is so quite,love you
May 5, 2013
We all miss you so much John. We are doing our best to help Terry. She misses you everyday but knows you are always with her. Today at my house there has been an "Early Morning Rain".
Debbie Baker
May 3, 2013
Think of you often Terry and hoping you feel some comfort knowing we all care deeply for you and are so deeply saddened at Johnny's passing. Love you
Terry, cousin Jane OKC
jane krizer
May 3, 2013
talk to you every day, miss you
May 2, 2013
Loving you and missing you my love.

Terry
March 5, 2013
Loving you and Missing you so much!

Terry
March 5, 2013
Rest in Peace!
Martha Khatchatooriantz
January 23, 2013
John, I congratulate you on being such an outstanding musician. First saw you on stage with 'ELVIS' in Aug. '70 at the International Hotel and many times in Vegas thereafter...also saw you everytime the concert came to Atlanta and also in Macon, Ga. What a legacy to have left in never missing one single performance. That's quite amazing in and of itself. However, my best memory of you was at EW in '02 when you rode with us to the concert at the Pyramid. We were all so excited, and you thought it was so amusing and funny. I thank my friend, Shantay, for calling you to come with us, and I thank you for accepting...that was so meaningful to us all...you were just so wonderful and gracious to all of us...will always remember you, John, for being such a beautiful, shining, musical light in our world...shine on and keep playing...we will all listen. Sending love and condolences to Terry, friends/family.
Teresa Campbell
January 22, 2013
Terry,
The band in heaven just got better. RIP Wilk! Michelle and I will always treasure the memories of the jam sessions and the bbq's on Golden Willow. Those memories will be with us always. Johnny was a great guy and a good friend. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Mike and Michelle...Sandy, UT
January 22, 2013
prayers and thoughts to all the family..He will be missed.
January 20, 2013
Thank You Terry for taking such good care of John. John and I met in 1969 at the International Hotel in Las Vegas and he and Al Dvorin were instrumental for me realizing one of my dreams.Working for Elvis and the Colonel.More importantly though the friendship we forged was the best. I will always take those memories with me and look forward to the time when my Best Man and I get together to again. I know you are playing the guitar again having a great time with E.Love You Brother we will miss you.God Bless You and Terry.
Jim and Wendy Mydlach
January 18, 2013
I saw him in several Elvis Concerts. He will be missed by All Elvis Fans. Best of Wishes and Prayers to his Family. RIP
Sue Campiglia
January 18, 2013
John,
You gave so much joy to us all. You will be missed, but never forgotten. I know you and Elvis are happily together again. God bless you Terry and family in your loss.
John was a wonderful man...
Helen Weaver
January 16, 2013
Rest in Peace
Scott Chamberland
January 16, 2013
Prayers for all the family and close friends.
January 15, 2013
JOHN, You may have never known what impact you and your music and you friendship with Elvis has had on the world. For Elvis to have included you in his band proved you were talented and the whole world got to enjoy it. To John's loved ones we know he belonged to you and meant more to you than we could ever understand or feel but we want to thank you for continuing to sharing him with us. He will be missed but now he is back in Elvis' band - there truly is a rock and roll heaven.
Kathy Goodwin
January 15, 2013
Thoughts an Prayers for the FAMILY !!! R.I.P. John, an Keep ROCKING & ROLLING With " ELVIS " !!!
Lois Neal
January 15, 2013
Thoughts & Prayers to his family.Glad I got to meet him 2005;Palm Springs event. You will be missed by many. Rest in Peace.
Marleen McKenzie
January 15, 2013
I was sad to hear of John's passing. He was a great talent and a good man. I only saw him on stage with Elvis, but I knew he was special. My prayers for comfort are with you Terry, and your family.
Ruth Daniel
January 15, 2013
RIP Johnny
January 15, 2013
My mom and I were lucky enough to meet John in Memphis during EP Week 2011. He told the most amazing stories and was such a wonderful man. Your family is in our prayers.
Kimberly Phillips
January 15, 2013
We were so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
All Shook Up N Vegas Judy Richard
January 14, 2013
We were lucky to have John and his talent in our world. May the love of family and friends carry you through your grief, Terry.
Nancy Cunningham
January 14, 2013
Warm remembrances and prayers of condolences to Terry and all those who knew and loved this accomplished musician and friend John, TRULY ONE of the KING'S MEN.....
Beverly Taylor
January 14, 2013
A talented musician who contributed to the many historic performing events in Elvis' life.
Michael Bartle
January 14, 2013
Spirits united again: with Elvis and others from the concert days. Thank you for all of the good music you played: rock, folk, pop. We'll remember you, John. ~~ Prayers uplifted to friends and family. ~~ On behalf of the Viva Las Vegas club. ~Respectfully,
Sue Laurenz
January 14, 2013
Love and prayer to John's family and friends. John you made a mark in this life that will never be erased. Thanks for the memories.
Steve and Ann Kelley
January 14, 2013
Rest in peace, dearest John.
Candis Mary Powell
January 14, 2013
MY PRAYES ARE TO THE FAMIKY REST IN PEACE JONH. YOU ARE NOW IN HEAVEN WITH ELVIS GOD BLESS YOU
January 14, 2013
Condolences to John's family and friends - a gentle man who will be missed - taking care of business in Heaven, strumming with his friend Elvis - R.I.P
BERNIE JENKIN
January 14, 2013
WILLIAM CLAYTON
January 14, 2013
Great friend, may you finally rest in peace. We love you forever
Bill and Becky Clayton
January 14, 2013
The Elvis world is sad today and missing a special man. John you were a special part of our lives. We will miss you so much. My love to you Terry and know that all who loved John are holding you in a big hug.
With love, Norma TCB-TLC
Norma Barton
January 14, 2013
So sad to hear of John Wilkerson passing. Prayer's sent for his wife Terry and family. A gentleman at heart.
RAMONDA BRADY
January 14, 2013
God bless and keep you. My thoughts are with your family at this time.
Shirley Connell
January 14, 2013
May you rest in peace John..you know how much we love you & you will be greatly missed...you are a gem! We hope to see you in April, Terry..can't wait to hug you. You are always in our thoughts...much love! God bless!
Bob & Bonnie Richardson
January 13, 2013
Terry...you know how much I treasure my long time friendship with Johnny. He was my friend, my mentor, and I feel so blessed to have had him in my life. It's been so much fun to reconnect with him these past several years and rekindle our old friendship...and to get to meet you! It's easy to see why he fell in love with you...and how wonderful you made his life! I loved your little trip to KC a couple of years ago, showing you some of the city...great memories!

As I read all the tributes to him, the one thing that keeps coming up is how very NICE he was...to everyone! Everybody loved him, because he was such a dear friend and he made everyone feel special! He didn't know a stranger, and drew people to him with his smile and kind words! I will miss him terribly, as will everyone who knew him. He left this world much too early, but I am so glad that he's no longer suffering. Just know there's truly a brighter star in the sky, and rest assured he and EP are TCB! I loved him, and I love you, and pray for the strength to help you get through this!
Cindy Chesher
January 13, 2013
Rest in peace John. You were always so sweet and kind hearted. Thank you for some great memories.
Cookie
January 13, 2013
I was so proud to call Johnny a friend. He was such a talented musician and such a wonderful man. I know there was a special place for him on that heavenly stage and he's backing up The Boss once again.
Angie Simpson
January 13, 2013
My deepest sympathies Terry. I am so grateful and thankful that we got to spend some time together. May God comfort you. Love, Jane
Jane Krizer
January 13, 2013
Johnny, I have so many great memories with you! 2003 watching you and Charlie being silly back stage. And of course 2010 when we were in Memphis together with Terry and my Frank when we ordered every dessert off the cart in the Peabody lobby! And most of all our chats on the phone when we hadn't been able to see each other in a while. Rest easy my dear friend, you have earned it! Hugs, Debbie
Debbie Baker
January 13, 2013
My thoughts and prayers are with you Terry.
Love,
Your sister Linda
Linda Cottrell
January 13, 2013
I am so saddened to hear this. My heartfelt sympathy to John's family and friends. He'll be greatly missed by all the Elvis world. He is now making music once again with Elvis
Thank you for all your beautiful music
Noreen
January 13, 2013
Very sad news to hear! My heart is heavy reading this. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Heaven has another member of the band up there. Rest in peace John....you'll always be remembered. Thank you for all your beautiful music

Noreen Hotch
January 13, 2013
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Jim and Donna Wright
January 13, 2013
God took another great person to heaven to be with him. Now he is with Elvis again.
Linda Marvin
January 13, 2013
Sing on Johnny, sing on and I'll always think of you when I hear a banjo. I'll miss seeing you when I'm in Springfield and so much love from Sandy, Utah. Love to you Terry. I miss you too.
Judy Ellis and Jim Cooper
January 13, 2013
Terry, my prayers are with you. I met John in early 82 when he was working at Hughes and playing a small club near the the airport. He was so proud of the guitar and necklace Elvis gave him. But what I remember most was just before you were married how happy he was and that he was so lucky to have you. I was just a fan but we talked many times and he made feel special. I lost touch after the move to Springfield but he was always in my thoughts. This is such a great loss, but he is playing with Elvis again and smiling down on us
Pat kelly
January 13, 2013
RIP John R. Wilkinson and continue to play in heaven with your friend Elvis. God bless your family and what a blessing it must have been for them to have you in their lives.
January 13, 2013
I really did love your man! He was good and kind and so interesting. I know he will be missed by all that knew him. My heart aches for you but I do believe that you will find the comfort and strength and be a great example of your faith and love for John. You were so blessed to have him in your life and we were so blessed to have known him. Like they say, "Til we meet again" and I believe that with all my heart and soul. Please know that he is your guardian angel now and he will take care of you and guide you daily. Rich and I love you and wish you the very best.
January 13, 2013
Terri, all good thoughts and memories go to you in Johnny's memory! Don and Linda
January 13, 2013
My sister, my friend, and myself met John in Houston the first time Elvis played the rodeo there. We went to Las Vegas to see the shows in the late 60s and early 70s, and we always spent time with John. He was a great guy and very talented. We all will miss him very much.
Rest in Peace John.
Joe Ann
January 13, 2013
Dixie Flowers
January 13, 2013
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Kathy Cummins
January 13, 2013
What a life experience meeting John. He made my 60th birthday special for me. I loved every minute he shared with my friends on that special day. Your shall always be remembered.
Sharon Medcalf
January 13, 2013
John So glad I got to see you at your house for one of our class parties. I have known you sence first grade and you were always my friend to me. I love you and you will be missed, see you on the other side. Love Always Dear Friend Linda Quinn McMillen.
January 13, 2013
So very sorry to hear of John's passing and so honoured that I did get the chance to meet him. Such a kind man.
Echo Starr Parker
January 13, 2013
John & I were friends growing up in Springfield. We even dated briefly but were really just good friends. We did a lot of fun things together and they will always be fond memories for me. I hope that your wonderful memories will help you cope with your loss. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Sue Ann (Van Duzen) Gaddie
January 13, 2013
You will be missed..
Charles Stone
January 13, 2013
My thoughts and prayers for the family and friends of John.
May God Bless you all through this time of sorrow.
Faith Fraser
January 13, 2013
~ John R. Wilkinson ~ We salute you and thank you for all that you gave us through your gift of music. Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. John Wilkinson. God Bless you all through this difficult time.
Sgt. Presly's G.I. Blues Fan Club
January 13, 2013
What a sweet man!! It was always so nice seeing him and listening to him. God rest his sweet soul.
Mary Pat Van Epps
January 13, 2013
Johnny, our friendship spanned many years. You were always a gentleman and a true friend. Your talent was amazing. Rock on with Elvis now and know that we, who are still earthbound, will miss you terribly.

Terry, my love, sympathy and prayers go out to you. God bless you always.
Sandi Pichon
January 13, 2013
JOHN YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN, YOU WERE A VERY SPECIAL MAN. YOU WILL ALWAYS BE IN OUR HEARTS AND SOULS.
JANIE & CHRIS MELTABARGER
January 13, 2013
I'm so happy I had an opportunity to meet John in person on several occasions. He will be missed. My condolences to Terry. Fred
Fred Ferris
January 13, 2013
John was a multi-talented person that knew what he wanted to do and sucessfully did it. But more than that he was one of the nicest guys I ever knew. I entertained a lot with JOhn in high school. Those are some of my most treasured memories. I was always going to make that trip to Springfield to visit John but this thing called Cancer got in my way too. Keep singing John, you had the voice of an angel. I love Ya buddy. Bill Johnson-One of the "Coachman" Jefferson,City Mo.
January 13, 2013
Johnny had the courage to follow his dream. My love to Terry during this time and always, Susan
Susan Ferris
January 13, 2013
John and I rode our bikes together, played tennis, and just enjoyed being each other's friend. I will always have fond memories of John. Best wishes to his family.
Michael Thiel
January 13, 2013
I met John when he played the first Houston Rodeo with Elvis. He was so friendly to me and my two friends. We stayed in contact for a number of years and saw him again in Vegas. He was a great guy, and will be missed. Rest in Peace John.
Sherry Swain
January 13, 2013
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