Dorothy Hope Lewis Wilkerson was born on July 3, 1924 and died on May 12, 2013 at Wesley Pines Methodist Retirement Center.
Born to Samuel Taylor and Effie Joyner Lewis on a tobacco farm near Farmville, NC, she was the youngest of eight siblings; seven sisters and one brother. "Dot" was educated at East Carolina Teachers College ( ECU) where she was elected President of the student body. She earned degrees in English and Business in 1945 and a Master's in Education in 1947. She served as the first Registrar of Wilmington College, now UNC-Wilmington then returned to Pitt County to teach accounting at ECTC. She married James Wilton Wilkerson in 1949. They moved with their two daughters to Lumberton in 1959 to manage the Robeson County Farm Bureau Insurance office. Dot served as business manager and was an invaluable resource to her husband, the agents, office staff and customers.
Dot's other passions included many leadership roles at Chestnut Street United Methodist Church and innumerable volunteer hours with Southeastern Hospice, Wesley Pines, Relay for Life, Meals-on-Wheels, the Southeastern Lifestyle Fitness Center, the Colonel Thomas Robeson chapter of the DAR and her book and garden clubs. After her retirement, she served on the Board of Directors of the NC Methodist Children's Home. She was appointed co-curator of the Robeson County History Museum. Named to the Senior Tar Heel Legislature, Dot was an outspoken advocate for social justice and elder rights. She received the Aging Advisory Council Member of the Year award. She also was awarded Volunteer of the Year over eight states by the Southeastern Area Agencies on Aging. Often folks remark, " It is hard to say no to Dot." Truly she walked a path that exemplified her beliefs. Her vitality will be missed by our community.
Dot is preceded in death by her infant daughter, Hope, her husband James Wilton Wilkerson and her beloved sisters and brother. She is survived by daughters Jamie Kate Wilkerson of Wilson, NC and Julia Burns and husband Andrew Burns of Chapel Hill, NC and five grandchildren: Damon and Kate Williamson, Andrew, Owen Lewis and Wilton Gray Burns. She also leaves many special nieces and nephews as well as friends at her church and retirement home.
The memorial service will be held at Chestnut Street United Methodist Church on Friday, May 17th at 11 a.m. Friends may call on the family on Thursday, May 16th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Wesley Pines in the Ruby Dowd Fellowship Building, 1000 Wesley Pines Road, Lumberton, NC. A private graveside service will be conducted in Farmville, NC.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Chestnut Street United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 1464, Lumberton, NC 28359, Southeastern Hospice, 2002 North Cedar Street, Lumberton, NC 28358 or Relay for Life of Robeston County, NC, 2202 Wrightsville Avenue, Suite 111, Wimington, NC 28403.
Arrangements by Farmville Funeral Home, Farmville, NC.