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Richard Marlin Wilkerson was born October 22, 1941 in Jackson, Tennessee the son of the late Willard Farris and Ruby Lee Gray Wilkerson. Mr. Wilkerson graduated from Selmer High School. He was a proud alumnus of Mississippi State University, where he joined the Kappa Alpha Fraternity. After college Mr. Wilkerson spent a brief time in the restaurant business, operating in Columbus, MS and the Dixie Cafe in Selmer, TN. He was best known as a third generation grocery store owner and operator, following in the footsteps of his grandmother and father. Their family business was founded by his grandmother at the Selmer North Y in 1932, and expanded to the operation of several retail grocery stores. Richard worked alongside his father, Farris learning the business. He returned to Selmer in 1972 to help his father rebuild his newly constructed supermarket which was heavily damaged by a tornado. This was the first modern day “supermarket” in McNairy County which he operated alongside his father until his father’s death in 1984. Richard’s ambitious business sense enabled him to expand to over 10 stores located throughout West Tennessee and North Mississippi during his career. The Wilkerson family served McNairy County residents in the grocery business for over 75 years. Richard’s son Will is still in the business today as a 4th generation Wilkerson grocer. Mr. Wilkerson was an avid car enthusiast, and enjoyed boating on Pickwick Lake. He was a member of the Selmer First United Methodist Church. Mr. Wilkerson departed this life on August 2, 2011 in Savannah, Tennessee at the age of 69 Years, 9 Months, 11 Days. He is survived by a daughter, Joy (Wilkerson) Sharpe and husband Keith of Memphis, TN; a son, William F. Wilkerson and wife Tori of Humboldt, TN; five grandchildren: Caitlyn Rebekah Sharpe, Tyler Andrew Sharpe, Halen Hugh Wilkerson, Mailey Morgan Wilkerson, Selah Shayne Wilkerson; and many extended family and friends. In addition to his parents, Mr. Wilkerson was preceded in death by a sister, Charlotte McCarter.
Graveside funeral services were held on Fri., August 5, 2011 at 10:00 AM at Mars Hill Cemetery with David Comperry officiating. Interment followed in the Mars Hill Cemetery near Adamsville, Tennessee. Shackelford Funeral Directors of Selmer were in charge of arrangements.
Memorials may be made to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
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