Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

Jerry Morris Wilkins, age 83

Jerry Morris Wilkins, 83, passed away on February 10, 2024 at Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at Good Shepherd in Little Rock. Jerry was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, educator, and friend and will be deeply missed. Jerry was born July 20, 1940 in the Chadwick Community in Faulkner County to Jerry Marcus and Ola Dillon Wilkins.

Time in the 1940s during Jerry’s early childhood was spent, along with his older sister, Mary Lou, as the son of hardworking parents, living on 9th Street in the working-class neighborhood of Baring Cross in North Little Rock. His early memories included the family dealing with war rationing during WWII to parents who had survived the Great Depression. Baring Cross was where he would attend elementary school and gain a love for baseball, his beloved Red Sox and hero Ted Williams. He would regale his family with tales of many baseball games played with neighborhood friends on the grounds of Baring Cross Elementary.

The 1950s saw Jerry move to Parkway Drive in North Little Rock where he would learn to drive, develop a love of early Rock and Roll music by artists like Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly, and work as a delivery driver and soda jerk at Hill’s Drug Store in Levy. He would often hitch-hike or take a bus as an early teen to Traveler’s Field to catch a game. It was also during this decade he would graduate from North Little Rock High School in 1958.

In the 1960s, Jerry would graduate with a degree in mathematics from Arkansas State Teachers’ College (now UCA) where he paid his way through school laying tile, including work in the Titan II missile silos being built at the time. It was also during this time he married Lequita Tyler in the city of Corning, a marriage that would last over 55 years, until her passing in 2019. This decade also saw him start his career as an educator, teaching at Corning, Sylvan Hills, Perryville, MO and New Madrid, MO. They would eventually locate to the Burns Park area of North Little Rock, where they would buy their first home and he would begin teaching at Oak Grove High School in Pulaski County.

The 1970s would see Jerry gain a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas, a promotion to Mathematics Coordinator for the Pulaski County Special School District, and the arrival of a son, his only child, Marc. He would work nights at Willie Simpson’s Grocery Store and Filling Station to help pay for the birth.

The 1980s saw Jerry move from education into another phase of his life, where he served as General Manager of Arkansas Book Company in Little Rock and made many life-long friends. Aside from working, time in the 1980s was spent at baseball practice and games with his son and he never missed a single practice or game.  It was during this time the family moved to the Jackson Heights area of Jacksonville.

The 1990s saw another career change, first into publishing, and later as owner of the Sears Store in Conway, where he worked alongside his wife and son. The 2000s and beyond saw retirement, a move to his beloved home on Lake Conway, where he would enjoy many days tinkering and fishing, and the welcoming of a grandson he loved so dearly, Slater. After his wife’s passing, he was so fortunate to find love again, and marry Donna. She provided him with loving companionship through the last years of his life, and his life is richer for having her in it.  Theirs is a beautiful love story and proof you’re never too old to find love again!

Jerry was a man with a remarkable memory to the point of almost having total recall, who could give details on sights and sounds from throughout his life, from before age 2 to present. He was incredibly smart, witty, and loved baseball, music, the Red Sox, the Razorbacks, fishing, a tall cold one, and his family. He would often recite passages from his favorite poems from memory when a particular situation warranted. He was always thinking, even about minute details, often sharing his observations about life with friends and family fondly dubbed as “The World According to Wilkins”. Jerry always had a smile for everyone.

Some of his most treasured memories were of Marc and his baseball games growing up. But nothing gave him more joy than watching his grandson Slater play baseball. Jerry’s dad also loved baseball and handed down the family tradition.

Jerry would often remark about the innovation he witnessed during his lifetime. From staying with grandparents in Pulaski County who did not have electricity during his youth, remembrances of seeing his first TV through the window of a neighbor’s house in the 1950s, to a moon landing on his birthday in 1969, and then to a world where all things were available with the touch of a screen.

He is survived by his wife Donna Graham Wilkins of Little Rock, a son, Marc Wilkins and his wife Stacie, and  grandson, Slater, all of Vilonia; a sister, Mary Lou McCoy of Marceline, MO; two granddaughters, Brittanie (Rod) Warren of Kansas City, and Paige (Colten) Nix of Benton; two great-grandchildren, Rowan and Riggins Warren of Kansas City; step-daughter Dr. Missy Graham (Bobby) of Little Rock, stepson Ricky (Becky) Graham of Wake Village, TX; bonus grands Grace (Tanner) Turner of Hope, Abby and Kate Graham of Little Rock, Claire and Hope Graham of Hot Springs, Brianna and Braden Sellers of Little Rock, Bryce Sellers of Wake Village, and bonus great grandson Lecks Turner of Hope; and many beloved nieces, nephews and friends.

A celebration of life will be at 2 pm on Saturday, February 24, at A Natural State Funeral Service in Jacksonville. Jerry requested, in lieu of flowers, donations could be made to the American Kidney Fund, the National Kidney Foundation or a charity of your choice.

The family would like to thank Dr. Joe Peavahouse, Dr. Torin Gray, the staffs of Fresenius Kidney Care of Little Rock, Gentiva Hospice, and Good Shepherd for their loving care and attention, with special thanks to Victor James and Jessica Sewell.

Arrangements by A Natural State Funeral Service 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas 72076. 501-982-3400. Online guestbook available at


  • Richard Hawkins Posted February 14, 2024 1:26 PM

    Thank you for all the memories ! For being a friend and neighbor , you’ll be missed.

    • Donna Wilkins Posted March 3, 2024 4:48 PM

      Thanks, Richard. Jerry spoke highly of you.

  • Lisa Scudiero Posted February 14, 2024 8:34 PM

    My condolences to family. We Love our Uncle Buddy very much ❤️

    • Donna Wilkins Posted March 3, 2024 4:49 PM

      He loved his nieces! And his sister!

  • Ronald Bennett Posted February 16, 2024 8:06 AM

    I worked with Jerry several years at Oak Grove High School. He was an excellent math teacher and all around good guy.. Condolences to the family.

  • Ronald Bennett Posted February 16, 2024 8:09 AM

    I worked with Jerry several years at Oak Grove High School. He was an excellent teacher and all around good guy. Condolences to the family.

    • Donna Wilkins Posted March 3, 2024 4:56 PM

      Thanks, Ronald. He spoke highly of the faculty and his students at Oak Grove.

  • Gaywyn Golden Posted February 16, 2024 8:09 PM

    Donna, I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Jerry but after reading his obituary I know he was remarkable. I wish the two of you had been given more time together. Sending my love and praying you feel comfort only God can give.

    • Donna Wilkins Posted March 3, 2024 4:58 PM

      Thanks, Gaywyn, for your kind words. Love you, my friend.

  • Victor James Posted February 18, 2024 8:45 AM

    Love you and will definitely miss you Mr. Wilkins and my condolences to the family.

    • Donna Wilkins Posted February 20, 2024 4:58 PM

      He loved you dearly, Victor! And I still do! Your care and kindness will always be remembered!

  • Joan Smith Posted February 18, 2024 9:14 PM

    Love and prayers to Donna and Jerry’s family.

    • Donna Wilkins Posted March 3, 2024 4:59 PM

      Thanks, Joan, for your sweet message. I wish you could have met him!

  • Corey Archer and Family Posted February 18, 2024 10:58 PM

    I only met him a few times. He was always polite and loved to see his grandkid Slater playing ball as often as he could. He will be missed. We will still always offer him a seat at the ballgame in the memory of him. Rest well brother!!

    • Donna Wilkins Posted March 3, 2024 5:01 PM

      Thanks, Corey! There was nothing he loved more than watching Slater and his team play ball!

  • Virginia Sappington Taylor Posted February 24, 2024 5:47 PM

    So sorry for you loss , I was a student at
    OGHS .Mr Wilkins was a nice guy to be around .

    • Donna Wilkins Posted March 3, 2024 5:02 PM

      Thanks, Virginia! He loved his Oak Grove students!

Sign Guestbook

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A Natural State Funeral Service & Crematory