On July 10, 2012, Charles Van Nuis Wilkerson was called to be with his God and ancestors.
He was born October 11, 1942 to Charles H. Wilkerson and Elizabeth Virginia Millman Wilkerson in Milford, where he would live his entire life.
He spent much of his childhood in the company of his revered grandfather Charles Van Nuis Wilkerson who, along with his parents, Avenue Church ministers, Sunday school teachers, youth directors and certain special public school teachers, instilled in him the values that would guide him through life. He also benefited from the good fortune of growing up on Truitt Avenue in the vicinity of his grandparents, his father's sisters' families as well as frequent visits to his maternal grandparents' family farm where he got to know that side of the family.
Charles was a charter member of the first Cub Scout pack in Milford and spent many years in Boy Scouts, earning high rank to include the God and Country award and membership in Order of the Arrow. He always regretted that, although achieving all of the qualifications, he never received the Eagle award. He was a member of the first National Honor Society class at Milford High School and graduated in 1960. Charles graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965 having earned a five-year degree in electrical engineering and liberal arts with a concentration in US history and business.
After graduation he joined the Eastern Shore Public Service Company of Salisbury, Maryland that served the Delmarva Peninsula. The company was independent before being taken over by Delmarva Power in the 1980s. He spent his entire career in the highly specialized area of electrical system protection engineering and was instrumental in advancing the company's system protection devices from 1940s analog technology to modern digital devices.
Charles lost his legs after heart surgery in 1994 due to a clotting reaction. Although given up for dead at Peninsula General Hospital, his wife persuaded them to transport him to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore where they immediately removed his legs and saved his life. He returned to work until being downsized in 1998. After that, he started an online business that he continued until his death.
He was a proud member of the Delaware National Guard from 1965 until 1971, during the turbulent period of riot duty and preparation for possible service in Vietnam as an artillery unit.
Charles was a life-long member of Avenue United Methodist Church where he was a member of the church council, secretary of the building committee and construction accountant for the recent renovation project. He was also the historian/archivist and was instrumental in establishing an archive room for preservation and research of the Avenue ledgers and records. He was in the process of cataloging, transcribing and digitizing those Avenue records dating from the 1790s to the present.
Charles was an active member of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution. Until his death, he held the statewide office of second vice president. He was a Bayard Fellow and had received the Delaware Meritorious Service Medal and the Military Service Medal.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 44 years, Pamela Helen Augustinovicz Wilkerson, a wonderful daughter, Kathryn Louise Wilkerson, two brothers, James Henry and his wife Karen, David Alan and his wife Arlene, sister-in-law, Laura Orsini; his nephew Ty, the son of James and Karen; his nephew and niece John and Lisa, son and daughter of Laura Orsini, and his loyal dog Lola. In addition, he is survived by extended family on the Wilkerson and Millman side of the family.
Services were held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at the Avenue United Methodist Church, 20 N. Church St, Milford.
Burial was held privately.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations to the Archives Room Fund of Avenue United Methodist Church, 20 N. Church St, Milford, DE, 19963.
Condolences may be emailed at www.delmarvaobits.com/rogers. Arrangements handled by Rogers Funeral Home, Milford.