James Robert Wilkinson
James Robert Wilkinson
James Robert Wilkinson of Montevallo passed away on October 20, 2014 at the age of 85.
He was born in Cincinnati, OH on November 27, 1929 to Ellen and Everett Wilkinson.
Jim is survived by Sue Wilkinson, the mother of his children Beth and Stephen (Audrey), his brother Ed Wilkinson (Zona), his grandchildren Amanda Perrillioux and Ashley Wilkinson, nieces Dawn Jaffe (Warren) and Holly Burns (Christian), one great nephew Everett and his wife Bernice and her family.
Jim graduated from Miami University in Oxford, OH where he led the Mid-American Conference in hitting as a sophomore and junior and was second in the league as a senior. Upon graduation, he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps for two years. He went on to play minor league baseball as a catcher in the Cleveland Indians organization for three years. His baseball prowess was recognized in 1996 when he was inducted into Miami University’s Hall of Fame.
In 1957 Jim earned his master’s degree at Miami University and in 1958 moved to Alabama to become the Assistant to the Dean of Men at the University of Alabama where he served for one year. In 1959 he accepted the position of Dean of Men at Alabama College (University of Montevallo) where he became known as “Deano” to legions of former students. He served at the University of Montevallo for 32 years as Dean of Men, Dean of Student Life and Associate Dean of Student Affairs. The investment of Jim’s life in decades of students has earned him the love, admiration and respect of the men and women who attended Montevallo during his tenure. In 2011, the James R. Wilkinson Student Life Center was named in his honor, a recognition that he cherished. Jim was recently honored with the James Wilkinson Greek Loyalty Hall of Fame Award which was created to recognize those who have demonstrated their loyalty to the Greek organizations and students of the University of Montevallo.
Jim was active in the First United Methodist Church, served on the City of Montevallo Park and Recreation Board and was honored for his service to the Red Cross, Girl Scouts and Special Olympics.
Jim never met a stranger and always had an infectious smile on his face and a positive, uplifting and fun loving attitude. He fought his cancer to the bitter end and managed to maintain his sense of humor throughout his illness. Jim’s life will continue to enrich the lives of the many people he touched and cared for.
The visitation will be held at Montevallo First United Methodist Church at 10:00 on October 23 with a celebration of Jim’s life immediately following. Burial will follow at the Montevallo Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the James R. Wilkinson Leadership Scholarship Fund at the University of Montevallo.