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Grady Wilkerson '77 March 24, 2021 3:51 PM updated: March 24, 2021 4:04 PM

Grady L. Wilkerson
NOVEMBER 1, 1954 – MARCH 21, 2021

On Sunday, the 21st of March 2021, loving husband, father, and grandfather, Grady Lynn Wilkerson, passed away peacefully at the age of 66, surrounded by his family.

Grady Lynn was born on the 1st of November 1954, in Kilgore, Texas, to Geraldine Prickett Wilkerson and Grady Austin “Jerry” Wilkerson. He was their middle child, a little brother to Jerry Michael and big brother to Melanie. Grady spoke fondly of his childhood, recalling memories of big family meals around the table.

He attended high school at Odessa-Permian where he found his passion for football and helped lead a team to a state championship in 1972. As a blue-chip recruit, he then chose to attend Texas A&M University where he studied business management and excelled in football, lettering all four years and embracing the fighting Texas Aggie spirit.

As accomplished as he was in football, he would tell you his most defining moment in college was meeting the love of his life, Michele Upp. He spoke fondly of the memories and the fun times they shared, and on the 11th of November 1978, they wed in Sugar Land, Texas. Grady and Michele celebrated 42 years of marriage this past November. Their marriage was a true partnership – full of adoration, devotion, support, and undying love.

Grady and Michele first settled in Bryan-College Station after marriage and moved quickly thereafter to Midland in 1980 for his career. Grady found great success at Victaulic, where he devoted 41 years of service. As a young salesman, eager and driven, Grady moved up the corporate ladder very quickly. He held many influential positions, serving his final years as Vice President of Oil, Gas, & Chemical Market. The camaraderie and relationships he built during his tenure went beyond the office, where late night meetings often led to a round of liar’s poker. He took pride in his career and his journey, but his true purpose and joy in life came from his family.

In 1982 Grady and Michele welcomed their first child, Ryan, followed by twins, Kyle and Kelly in 1985. In 1991 they settled in Sugar Land where they planted their roots and raised their family. He was a dedicated father, ensuring he never missed a football or volleyball game. He was out in the yard running tackling drills with his sons, putting his little girl scout through cookie sales training, and always engaged in the moments, both big and small. He encouraged his kids to be the best they could be, but also to find their own passions and paths in life. He beamed with pride as they achieved every milestone, from high school to college graduations, excelling in their careers, and even starting their own families. They were truly his world, his greatest accomplishment, and his legacy is carried on through each of them.

In his final years he took on his most enjoyed role as “Pops” to his four grandchildren. Together they made memories fishing, taking boat rides at the lake, dressing up for Halloween, watching movies, and just having fun. He always would say to leave all the doors open so that he could hear the laughs and the wonderful “noise,” and in his final moments that is exactly what he heard.

Grady was larger than life. He was a force, commanding every room he walked into. He was a good time, always up for adventure and fun. He was authentic, always remembering where he came from and always humbled by what he had built. He enjoyed golf with his friends, traveling with Michele, fine wine, good music, and his dog, Lilly. As his anthem said, he was a young troubadour, when he rode in on a song, and he’ll be an old troubadour, now that he’s gone….

Grady is preceded in death by his mother, Geraldine Wilkerson; father-in-law, Edmund Loy Upp, and brother-in-law, Kevin Upp. He is survived by his devoted wife, Michele Wilkerson; his sons, Ryan Wilkerson, Kyle Wilkerson and his wife Lindsey and his daughter, Kelly Wilkerson Bronson and her husband Evan; four grandchildren, Mason and Olivia Wilkerson and Sutton and Hughes Bronson; brother, Jerry Michael Wilkerson and his wife Delana; sister, Melanie Miles and her husband Randy; mother-in-law, Ann Upp; and brother-in-law, Stephen Upp. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews: Jason Wilkerson and his wife Ellen, and their children, Cooper and Whitley, Darren Wilkerson and his wife Erin, and their son, Major, Lane Miles and his wife Sarah, Kristin Van Boesschoten and her husband Jason, David Upp, Michael Upp and his wife Courtney, and Rachael Carey and her husband Aaron.

Friends are cordially invited to gather with the family and share remembrances of Grady from five o'clock in the afternoon until seven o'clock in the evening on Thursday, the 25th of March, in the grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.

A celebration of his life is to be conducted at ten o’clock in the morning on Friday, the 26th of March, at Christ Church Sugar Land, 3300 Austin Parkway in Sugar Land, where Dr. Tom Pace, Pastor, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, will officiate.

Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception at a venue to be announced during the services.

Serving as honorary pallbearers during the service are Tom Wisler, Will Ebeck, Jeff Weiner, Mark Dennard, Phil Bennett, Blake Schwarz and Billy Herrin.

In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions be directed to the American Cancer Society, 2500 Fondren Rd. #100, Houston, TX, 77063.


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