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Walter "Wally" Wilkerson Jr. '51 July 20, 2022 4:29 PM updated: July 20, 2022 4:34 PM

Walter (Wally) Dumas Wilkerson, Jr.

June 7, 1930 - April 29, 2022

Walter (Wally) Dumas Wilkerson, Jr. was born on June 7, 1930, in Marlin, Texas and joined the heavenly communion of saints on April 29, 2022, after a brief illness. He grew up in Calvert and Bryan, Texas in a family rooted in farming, education and coaching. Wally loved to share stories of his idyllic childhood spent with his brother and many cousins…tales of elaborate Easter egg hunts, a watermelon with his initials carved into the rind on the Fourth of July and homemade fruit cakes soaked in bourbon at Christmas. As a young child, Wally served as the mascot for the football team at Calvert High School where his father was the football coach.

He was a proud graduate of Texas A & M University, Class of ’51, and received his M.D. at UT Southwestern Medical School in 1955. Wally met Neddie Jane Bullock while in middle school in Bryan. He fondly recalled holding her hand at a school play, and they would later fall in love and marry on December 19, 1954. After his internship at Houston’s Jeff Davis Hospital, he served as a Naval physician on the USS Hooper Island while stationed in San Diego, California.

In 1958, Wally and Neddie Jane moved to Conroe, Texas where his parents Walter (Topsy) and Frances Wilkerson had relocated after his father accepted the position as Conroe Independent School District Superintendent. Wally began his career as a physician with Dr. Deane Sadler and Dr. Irving Watson at Sadler Clinic where he had a distinguished career in general and family practice. He and Neddie Jane welcomed daughter, Nancy, in 1955 and son, Mark, in 1959. Wally and Neddie Jane were a true team who lovingly raised their children with optimism, patience and dedication.

Wally was blessed with boundless energy and exemplary leadership and organizational skills. He managed a robust life juggling both professional and personal interests. While managing the affairs of his busy medical practice, he served as President of the Sadler Clinic, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Doctors Hospital and Board member of Conroe Regional Medical Center. He served as Chairman of the Texas State Board of Health from 1995-2001. Wally was named the Texas Family Physician of the Year in 1991. While building a rapport with his patients and his staff, he earned the loving nickname “Dr. Wally”. In the early years of his practice, he was known for making house calls and receiving patients after hours at his home to stitch a wound or evaluate an injury. His greatest joy during his medical career was delivering thousands of babies.

Wally and Neddie Jane were long-time members of First United Methodist Church of Conroe and attended the Seekers Sunday School class. Wally was loyal to his church in worship and leadership. He took on civic roles as a volunteer and leader for numerous organizations. He served on the Advisory Council for the Salvation Army of Conroe and on the Board of Directors for the San Jacinto River Authority.

Early in his career Wally answered a call born from his sense of patriotism and love of country when he found his true avocation: grass roots politics. He served 56 years as Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party, leading to roles on both state and national levels as well. He served as a delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention and attended the inauguration of Richard M. Nixon following his election in 1968. He found himself in the company of office holders ranging from local precinct chairpersons to United States Presidents and remained humble, determined and tireless. Wally continued his involvement in politics into his 91st year.

Neddie Jane and Wally were lucky to have many loyal friends who brought laughter and love to their lives. As a couple, they hosted bridge club dinners and Aggie tailgates in College Station and beyond, caravanned in their camper with friends Bob and Betty Thompson to Alaska, and enjoyed trips to the California wine country, historical cities in Europe, the rain forest of Costa Rica and the artistic Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. On their morning walks, they carried a trash bag to deposit any litter they found along the way. Gardening, cooking, backyard birdwatching, and tending the koi fishpond were all cherished activities. Wally spent countless hours constructing a custom stereo system that filled their home with music. Unlike most people who set an alarm clock, Wally set his stereo to begin playing music each morning at 6am--a much more pleasant way to start the day. Ultimately, becoming a grandfather was his greatest moment. He relished getting to know each grandchild’s interests and pursuits; he was a true mentor and taught by his example of living an active and fulfilling life.

We will cherish his legacy and remain inspired by his vibrant and generous spirit. Everyone who met Wally could see where he gained his strength and support. Neddie Jane was his rock and the love of his life. Spending the last two years without her was his most difficult task.

Wally is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Neddie Jane Wilkerson; his parents Walter (Topsy) and Frances Wilkerson; his brother James Wilkerson; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins. He is survived by his daughter Nancy Brasher and husband James Brasher with their daughters Emma Brasher and Nora Brasher; son Mark Wilkerson M.D. and wife Karen with their daughter Elizabeth Wilkerson and her husband Stefanos Touzos and their son Jake Wilkerson and his wife Sara Wilkerson; sister-in-law Gay Wilkerson; and nieces, nephews, cousins.

A visitation with family will be held at 2pm followed by a Celebration of Life for Wally and Neddie Jane at 3pm on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at First United Methodist Church Conroe located at 4308 West Davis Street.

In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed to:

The Salvation Army P O Box 897 Conroe, TX 77305

First United Methodist Church 4308 West Davis Street Conroe, TX 77304

 

 



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