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Grady McKinley Wilkes

March 11, 1931 - April 7, 2012

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If the Golden Gates of Heaven were squeaky, there is a good chance they are repaired by now. On April 7, 2012, one of God’s greatest handymen, Grady McKinley Wilkes, 81, entered into Heaven. Although surrounded by friends and family, the one constantly by his side, stroking his hair and kissing him gently on the forehead was his wife of 55 years, Patricia Fountain Wilkes. Her words whispered so quietly, “I’m not ready for you to go,” but were followed with, “but I know you are ready.” Visitation will be from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Townsend Brothers Funeral Home on April 9, 2012 with services and burial on the following day, Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at Bethlehem Baptist Church at 2:00 p.m. Rev. Matt Haywood, Rev. Tommy Pulliam, and Rev. Mike Wynn will officiate.

Mr. Wilkes was a dedicated husband, father and “PaPa” who will be greatly missed. He will also be missed by his church family. Mr. Wilkes had dedicated himself to God 35 years ago. With his dedication came the responsibility of a new church family at Bethlehem Baptist Church. He took this responsibility very seriously and any project, regardless of how small or large, he took it on without hesitation. The man could work miracles with a hammer and a few nails. It was also always somewhat of a mystery to those at Bethlehem. It seemed everything was always taken care of, but nobody really knew how. This is the way Grady wanted it. He was not one for recognition or praise; he did what he did out of dedication and love. But, regardless of his wish for anonymity, the church family could no longer let him go unnoticed. He was bestowed Father of the Year in 2004. He also was active in other areas with the church. He loved to sing and was part of the choir. He was a deacon and Chairman of the House and Grounds Committee. He was also a member of The Brotherhood. And, when he wasn’t tending to his own church family, he took his show on the road as a member of the Baptist Builders, who were known for rebuilding churches that had fallen in disrepair, such as the churches victim of Katrina. He was an active volunteer with the Salvation Army and could be found at Christmas time greeting people and ringing a bell for a cause he held close to his heart.

Mr. Wilkes was also a professional man, having worked at J.P. Stevens as a lead loom mechanic for 18 years before transferring to Robins AFB where he worked as a lead machinist. He eventually retired from Robins AFB, but never really figured out what retirement was all about. If there was an odd job or need for an extra hand, he was quick to let it be known he had two hands and time.

He is preceded in death by his mother, Lora Strange Wilkes, his father, William McKinley Wilkes, brother, Larry Wilkes, Sr., of Dublin, Ga., sister, Nellie Blalock of Swainsboro, and brother, Charles Mervin Wilkes of Dublin. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Fountain Wilkes of East Dublin, and two sons, David K. Wilkes of East Dublin and Stanley P. (Wendy) Wilkes of Bonaire, three grandsons, Devon (Autumn) Joiner and Dakota Wilkes of Bonaire, and Jacob Wilkes of Dublin, and a granddaughter, Savannah L. Wilkes of Bonaire. In addition to his immediate family, Mr. Wilkes is survived by two brothers, Rewl Wilkes of Dublin and Gene (Shelby) Wilkes of Swainsboro, and two sisters, Hazel (David) McNutt of Augusta and Nyla Fennell of Dublin, and many nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers will be Herman Faircloth, Jimmy Faircloth, Louis Jones, Tony McNutt, Larry Wilkes, Jr., William Wilkes, Michael Wilkes, and Mervin Wilkes. Honorary pallbearers will be the F. A. Josey Sunday School Class and the deacons of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Townsend Brothers Funeral home is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bethlehem Baptist Church building fund.

Facts

Born: March 11, 1931
Death: April 7, 2012

Services

Visitation

Monday April 9, 2012, 6 - 8pm at Townsend Brothers Funeral Home
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Funeral

Tuesday April 10, 2012, 2:00pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church
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Burial

Tuesday April 10, 2012 at Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery
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