Rollin A. Wilkens,
Rollin A. ”Wilks” Wilkens passed away at his residence in Elkton Florida on Jan. 10, 2014. Mr. Wilkens was born July 22, 1921, in West Bend to Herman and Martha Schoedel Wilkens. He spent his early years on the family dairy farm. He attended West Bend High School, graduating in 1939. In 1941 he enlisted in the United States Navy and served as a TBM pilot in the South Pacific aboard the USS Steamer Bay aircraft carrier. He flew air cover missions during the battles of Okinawa and Iwo Jima and was a decorated lead pilot. He reached the rank of lieutenant in the VC-90 squadron. The squadrons continued to gather at reunions every two years until 2005. In 1946 he entered the University of Wisconsin, graduating with an economics degree cum laude in 1950. While at the university he met his wife of 63 years Barbara. They were married July 8, 1950. He accepted a position with the DuPont Company in Martinsville, Va. He worked there until his retirement in 1980. He was an active member of the Martinsville High School Bulldog Boosters Club for a number of years. He and Barbara retired to Palm Coast, Fla. It was there he was able to expand his bicycle riding hobby and was well known for his colorful orange safety clothing. He had traveled to Israel on a group trip by bicycle, took part in a bicentennial trip across the state of Virginia. He and his son John made a cycling trip from Martinsville, Va., to Myrtle Beach, S.C. He made a cross state cycling trip in one day from Ormond Beach, Fla., to Yankeetown, Fla., on the gulf coast. While in Palm Coast he was active in St. Mark by the Sea Lutheran Church acting as a lay minister and teaching the adult Bible studies class. He also served on the State of Florida Bicycle Committee helping to lay out bike paths in Palm Coast. In 2001 he and Barbara returned to their native Wisconsin for four years were they became reacquainted with family members and attended several high school and family reunions.
In 2005 they returned to Florida and settled in Coquina Crossing. He was a member of the Memorial Lutheran Church, St. Augustine, Fla. He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Jeanette Ziehr, and a brother, Warren Wilkens. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara Richter Wilkens, and two sons and their wives, John and Lynn Wilkens and Tommy and Hilde Wilkens. He had three granddaughters, Barbara Weatherman, Carly and Chelsea Wilkens, and four great-grandchildren, Grayson, Madison, Ashton and Payton Weatherman. In addition he leaves two cousins, Merlin Wilkens and Leona Schuenaman, 11 nieces and nephews and numerous friends and Navy comrades.
Graveside services will be held on Tuesday at 1 p.m., Jan. 14, 2014, at Flagler Palms Memorial Gardens, Flagler Beach, Fla. The family wishes to thank VISTAS Hospice for their assistance and all his caregivers from Home Instead, especially Michael Cornell who did so much to make his final days pleasant. The family welcomes friends at their home. For online condolences go to www.craigsflaglerpalms.com, “online obituaries.” Arrangements are in the care and trust of Craig-Flagler Palms Funeral Home.