Edward B. Wilkins died on March 12, 2021, in Portland, Oregon at 89 years old. Ed was born February 12, 1932, in St. John’s, Oregon to Edward and Eva Wilkins and was the youngest of four boys. His strong faith was guided by his Catholic education, as he attended Assumption Catholic Grade School, Central Catholic High School, and Portland University where he obtained his degree in English. Prior to his college years, his education was interrupted when he served his country in the USMC during the Korean War.
After returning, Ed married his childhood neighbor and friend, Aileen Rose Inkster and together raised four children. They celebrated 60 years of marriage until her passing in 2015.
Immediately after graduating from college, Ed found his niche teaching high school. He ventured to Valsetz, Oregon where he wore many hats as a teacher, coach, and mentor, thus the beginning of his closet full of hats. He eventually moved to Milwaukie, Oregon where he continued to teach and coach at Clackamas and Milwaukie High Schools. He ended his career as an Athletic and Attendance Director, and his impact on students was immeasurable. It was not uncommon for someone to recognize him from across the street, across the grocery store aisle, across the church, across the bleachers, or even across the river, with a “Hey, Mr. Wilkins!” His face lit up, and from there it was always a smile, handshake, or hug, followed by a memorable anecdote. He loved his students.
His loving and committed demeanor was evident in his strong marriage and dedication as a father. He was a role model in that he rarely missed a recital, a CYO game, a speech, or a graduation, and his love of sports was evident in the many hats he donned (about 40) from all of his children’s teams, their spouses’ teams, and eventually his grandchildren’s teams. He was always in the stands.
When he wasn’t in the stands, he was hosting gatherings at his beautiful and scenic home where he worked tirelessly in the yard, his sanctuary. Whether it was the annual Easter Egg Hunt, 4th of July Barbecue, Back To School get-together, or just a good day for a “picnic”, everyone was invited and any tag-a-long was welcome. From barbecues to volleyball, to horseshoes and boat races, his backyard and home were a place to relax and tell stories with the people who mattered most, his family and friends. He cherished the hellos and was always saddened by the goodbyes.
Ed will always be remembered as a teacher, but he too will be remembered as a life-long learner, evident in his love for reading. He was never at a loss for coming up with a fact, a quip, or a quote from his library of books which he readily passed on to others. His reading expertise aided in his gift of conversation which did not go unnoticed, as he was such a sweet and polite listener.
He is survived by his four children, Sharon Webster (Craig), Michele Powelson (Gene), Edward J. Wilkins (Lisa), and Daniel Wilkins; grandchildren, Brice (Megan), Addie (Jason), Michael, Madeline, Cade, Callie, and Allison; great-grandchildren, Isaac, Abe, Easton, and Lincoln; as well as many nieces and nephews.
A private funeral mass will be held at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Milwaukie on April 5, 2021. The service will be live streamed at 10 a.m. through the parish website https://church.sjbmilwaukie.org/. A visitation will be held from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday April 3, 2021 at Stehn Family Chapels Milwaukie Tribute Center, please click on the RSVP below for a reservation.
The family suggests contribution in his memory be made to St. John the Baptist Catholic School Education Fund (see information below).
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Edward Brice Wilkins, please visit our floral store.
Due to Covid, attendance is spread over 10 minute intervals. Family and friends planning to attend are kindly requested to RSVP to reserve their time slot. Masks are required.
St. John the Baptist Catholic School Education Fund
10956 SE 25th Avenue, Milwaukie OR 97222