Dec. 1, 1923 - Dec. 19, 2017
Funeral services are Thursday for George Franklin Wilkinson, a 93-year-old former resident of Weatherford. He died Dec. 19, 2017 at his home in Guthrie.
Services are under the direction of Lockstone Funeral Home in Weatherford. The funeral will be 10 a.m. in the chapel at Lockstone with the Rev. Roy E. Dobbs officiating. Burial will be 3:30 p.m. in Fairlawn-New Zion Cemetery in Cushing.
A memorial service will be 2 p.m. Friday in First Christian Church of Edmond. The Rev. Chris Shorow will officiate.
George was born Dec. 1, 1923.
In 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a military occupation specialist until his honorary discharge in 1953. He served during World War II and the Korean War.
He was on the island of Japan after the atomic bomb was dropped and was responsible for setting up ahead of the UFO shows to entertain and boost the spirits of the troops. In 1951 he received a Philippines Liberation Ribbon. After his discharge from the service he and his family moved to Weatherford.
George began working for TG&Y Company as the store manager in 1953 followed by a job at Owl Photo. He became Weatherford city manager.
George F. Wilkinson is among that rare group of public officials who served first as an elected official before becoming an appointed official in their community. Little did he or the community realize in the 1963 city commission election that his public service career would extend for more than 40 years.
In 1963, George was elected as street commissioner under the three-member city commission form of government in Weatherford. He served for five years, including holding the office of vice mayor. When the city adopted a strong mayor charter form of government in 1968, George was hired as the city administrator.
He held that post for 30 years until his retirement in 1998. Retirement did not end his service to municipal government.
He served on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Municipal Retirement Fund and was chairman beginning in 1996.
In honor of his tenure and contributions, the Weatherford City Council has named a meeting room at the City Hall as the Wilkinson Room.
George served on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Municipal League, the Southwestern Oklahoma Development Authority, the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce and the Weatherford Lions Club. He was a recipient of the Don Rider Award from OML and was inducted into the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame and the Cushing High School Alumni Hall of Fame.
He served as a member of the advisory board for the Oklahoma State University Center for Local Government Technology and on the Water and Sewer Certification Board for the State Department of Health. An award in George’s name was established by OKMRF.
While retired from his position with Weatherford, George remained active in other endeavors, including his passion for entertainment. He performed for many years as an auxiliary percussionist with the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Jazz “C” ensemble and as a drummer for the Byron Berline Band.
He served as master of ceremonies twice a month at the Music Hall in Guthrie and also the substitute drummer for them. He continued to operate the Rena Kays clothing store in Weatherford, which he owned more than 30 years.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the George Wilkinson Oklahoma Bluegrass Music Scholarship Fund, c/o Double Stop Fiddle Shop, 121 E. Oklahoma Ave., Guthrie, OK 73044.