Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, November 23, 2013 at Cleveland Funeral Home in Cleveland. Funeral Services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 24, 2013 at Morrison Chapel Baptist Church in Cleveland with Rev. Percy Beach and Rev. Sephas Garrett officiating. Burial will immediately follow at Delta Heights Memorial Gardens in Cleveland.
Wilkerson was born on August 16, 1940 to Eddie and Lula Mae (Stewart) Wilkerson in Indianola. He attended Drew and Merigold schools. He married Shirley Parttridge on January 2, 1960 at the Sunflower Church of the Nazarene. He received his ministerial license in 1961. He pastored for 52 years at churches including Roundlake Nazarene Church, Davis Chapel Nazarene Church, First Church of the Nazarene in Greenville, Christian Fellowship Church, First Assembly of God, Sunflower Church of the Nazarene, and presently The Church of Faith.
Wilkerson was a bi-vocational pastor having also worked at Misceramic Tile, McKay Cleaners, Rogers Entomological, Fletcher Funeral Home where he sold burial insurance for many years, and the Mississippi Department of Corrections where he retired after 21 years of service in 2006. Brother James was so dedicated to the ministry and had served regular full time jobs and pastored full time for 45 of the 52 years. He continued pastoring full time after his retirement.
Numerous people have been called into the ministry under his leadership. He was always willing to be there for people regardless of the time of day. He was a loving man who kept a smile on his face. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. He will be missed by everyone with whom he came in contact.
He was preceded in death by his father, Eddie Lee Wilkerson; brothers, Edward Wilkerson and Sam Wilkerson; and a sister, Bonnie Wilkerson.
He is survived by wife of 54 years, Shirley P. Wilkerson of Drew; mother, Lula Mae Wilkerson of Cleveland; daughter, Debbie (Richard) Heffner of Boyle; son, James (Sarah) Wilkerson of Grenada; brother, William (Claudia) Wilkerson of Cleveland; sister, Elsie Cobb of Cabot, Ark.; 11 grandchildren, Scott Heffner, John Paul Wilkerson, Chelsea Heffner, Casey Wilkerson, Patrick Wilkerson, Kyle Parttridge, Michael Heffner, Olivia Pollan, Logan Heffner, Eli Pollan and McKenzie Wilkerson.
Pallbearers will be John Paul Wilkerson, Scott Heffner, Patrick Wilkerson, Michael Heffner, Kyle Parttridge, Taylor Oswalt and Logan Heffner. Honorary Pallbearers will be Bill Morris, Jr. Hopkins, Jim Warner, Charles Collins, George Haydel, Mike Chamness, Bobby Allred, A C Gentry, Louis Loper and Clarence Salley.
Memorials may be made to The Church of Faith 50 Elizabeth Road Cleveland, MS 38732.
Cleveland Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Online guest register may be viewed and signed at www.clevelandfuneralhome.net