This is a summary of the life of Lewis Wayne “Dutch” Wilkinson that he called “his adventure,” which ended on January 27, 2019. Dutch was an optimistic, enthusiastic, and kind individual and will be missed by family and friends who will always remember his large smile and hearty greeting. He never met a stranger.
Dutch’s story began on January 22, 1939, the youngest of three sons born to Thomas Garland “Duke” and Hazel Graham Wilkinson in Coryell County, Texas, on land that is now part of Fort Hood. With the creation of the fort, the family moved north to Alvarado, Texas.
Dutch and his older brothers, Curtis David “Dave” Wilkinson and Thomas Jack Wilkinson began their education in a one room school house with one teacher for eight grades. They graduated from Alvarado High School while working with their father and mother on the family farm.
Each of the boys attended Texas A&M University, with Dutch graduating in 1960 with a degree in entomology. The experience at Texas A&M was transformative for all three Wilkinson boys and would continue to influence their lives going forward. Dutch was especially fond of his time in ”Spider D,“ his company in the Aggie Corps of Cadets, principally because of the many relations which continued until his passing.
Following graduation and commissioning into the United States Army, Dutch served in the Medical Service Corps before beginning a career in the agricultural industry, which would take him first to Lamesa in 1962 and on to Littlefield in 1964, where he built the West Texas presence for what was then Tide Products, currently Wilbur-Ellis.
In 1963, Dutch married Brenda Gay Hughes of Cleburne Texas, and the couple enjoyed fifty-five years of marriage before Dutch’s passing. They had two children, Marcia Rae, who passed as an infant, and Garland Wilkinson, born in 1965.
After sixteen years with Tide Products, Dutch acquired a General Motors dealership in Littlefield, which he owned and operated with Brenda’s help until 1990.
Shortly afterwards, Dutch and Brenda acquired the Plantation Inn, a lodge in Granbury, Texas, where he and Brenda settled for the remainder of his life. He kept in close contact with his West Texas friends just as he always maintained close ties with everyone from high school, college and the military.
Nothing in life brought Dutch more joy than time with his family and friends, particularly while roaming and sharing experiences with others. Into his late seventies, he traveled the country from Seattle to Key West on his Gold Wing motorcycle and celebrated his eightieth birthday while downhill skiing at Ski Apache near Ruidoso, New Mexico, where he and Brenda spent considerable time.
He was active with not only his motorcycle friends and skiing relationships, but also a civil war history group, a traveling Texas history group, and a men’s Bible study group. Of course, spending time with family was Dutch’s favorite activity, including travels with Brenda and the grandchildren to Croatia, Scotland, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.
Dutch is survived by Brenda and Garland, along with daughter-in-law, Melinda, and three grandchildren, Shelby, Grant and Nancy, as well as his two brothers, Dave and Jack, and their spouses, Jane and Alice, respectively.
A celebration of Dutch’s life with family and friends is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., Sunday, February 3, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church in Granbury, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, friends are invited to send contributions to The Association of Former Students, c/o The Dutch Wilkinson Class of ’60 Memorial Fund, 505 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840, for the purpose of providing Aggie Rings for veterans attending Texas A&M.