Billy Ray "Red" Wilkinson, of Iantha, Mo., age 72, passed away Dec. 29, 2017 at Freeman Hospital, surrounded by his family.
He was born in Fredricktown, Mo., Aug. 24, 1945, to Lloyd Sylvester and Loretta Rose Mills Wilkinson. Red had many occupations but best known here in Barton County as the big strong ER nurse with the deep voice.
He was preceded in death by his father, Lloyd Wilkinson. He is survived by his wife of almost 40 years, Charleen K. (Smith) Wilkinson; his mother, Loretta Rose Wilkinson, of Festus, Mo.; a daughter, Katie Whitekiller and husband, Charles, of Neosho, Mo.; four sons, Billy Wilkinson and wife, Lori, of Sand Springs, Okla., Matt Hymer and wife, Holly, of Seneca, Mo., Chris Hymer, of Seneca, and Jacob Hymer and wife, Kristie, of Willard Mo.; 16 grandchildren, Jeff and wife, Talor, Josh and wife, Casey, Justin and wife, Christin, Hannah, Jessica, Lyndie, Lucy, Jacoby, Lance, Brady, Davy and wife, Taylor, Rachel, Mason, Dachel, Kailey, and Austin; and four great-granddaughters, Madison, Molly, Murphy, and Sophia. Also surviving are three sisters, Betty Ciolek, Ruth Greishaber and Nancy White; and four brothers, Henry, Ted, Charles and Tom; and many nieces and nephews.
Red attended Fredricktown High School, in Fredricktown, Mo., and then attended college at School of the Ozarks where he received an Associate in Business degree and was on the fire department where he became the youngest fire chief in the state of Missouri at age 17. He continued in the fire service for the next 26 years, serving on the fire department in Seneca and helped establish the certification program for the University of Missouri Fire Academy. He worked at BF Goodrich, in Miami, Okla., for 19 years and was in charge of fire safety and training. After BF Goodrich closed, he returned to college and completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Pittsburg State University, in Kansas. He started his nursing career at Oak Hill Hospital, in Joplin, Mo., followed by Barton County Hospital in Lamar. He served as the Director of Nursing at Buena Vista, in Carthage, and Joplin Healthcare Center. He retired from nursing in 2010 from Barton County Hospital and retired a second time from Truman Healthcare and Rehab, in 2017, at the age of 71.
He coached his daughter Katie's softball team, the Seneca Milnot Whippettes, as well as Little League and Babe Ruth teams in Jasper. As his family grew, he loved spending time with his grandkids and watching their many activities. He was so proud of his family and loved to hunt and fish with his sons and grandkids, and watch St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
There will be a memorial service on Saturday, Jan. 6th, at the Lamar United Methodist Church at 3 p.m. Friends will be received at the church from 1 to 3 p.m. prior to the service. Burial will be at the Iantha Cemetery immediately following the service.
Published on January 3, 2018