Jack Edward Wilkinson

Born March 6, 1929

Jack Wilkinson, a veteran journalist who covered everything from plane hijackings to golf tournaments and whose career placed him in Atlanta for the last 40 years, died Wednesday (4-3). He was 84. Wilkinson, a long-time resident of Atlanta’s Morningside neighborhood, died in Piedmont Hospital of lung and heart failure, his family said. He had been admitted on March 19. A lover of old films and an accomplished caricaturist, Wilkinson worked for more than 50 years for United Press International, in bureaus across the nation and in the fields of news and sports. He retired in 2005 but continued to do freelance work for the news agency. He filed his last piece the day before he entered hospital. Wilkinson died on the 58th anniversary of his marriage to the former Beverly Busby. He is survived by her; by daughters Tracy Wilkinson, a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times based currently in Mexico City, and Kelly Wilkinson, a photojournalist for the Indianapolis Star; and three granddaughters, Lily, Willow and Camille. Jack Edward Wilkinson, born in the year of the great crash, 1929, and who grew up in the Fort Worth-Dallas area of Texas, caught the journalism bug while serving in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He spent his stint at naval headquarters in San Diego, Calif., writing and editing the navy newspaper. With his military duty over, rather than return to university, Wilkinson accepted a reporting job at the New Orleans Times-Picayune. There his career was launched _ and he met his future wife. In 1955, Wilkinson was hired by United Press International, then a dominant news wire service. He was soon and over the years transferred to Denver, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Oklahoma City, Okla., and New York City headquarters, where he became a national sports editor. In 1969, he loaded up his station wagon with a wife, two daughters, a cat and a cage of gerbils, and moved to Atlanta, where he held various positions at UPI. He covered a state governor named Jimmy Carter and a young golfer named Jack Nicklaus. He nurtured many up-and-coming Unipressers and, in his spare time, drew acerbic cartoons, some of which were printed in national publications. A Memorial will be held Friday, April 5, 2013 at 2 O’clock Haygood Memorial United Methodist Church, 975 E. Rock Springs Rd., Atlanta, GA 30306, 404-872-9613. Family will receive friends 1 hour prior to the service and a reception will be held following the service at the church. Online condolences may be made at


  • Memorial Service Friday, April 5, 2013

Jack Edward Wilkinson

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted


April 14, 2013

Dear Ms Beverly
I have so much respect for you and Mr Jack. I looked on him as second father, I will truly miss him but one day we will all be together again. Sending much love to you and if David or I can do anything for you Just let me know

April 10, 2013

My thoughts and prayers are with the family in this time of sorrow.

April 9, 2013

May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.

Tom Crawford

April 9, 2013

Tracy, I met your father nearly 40 years ago when I covered my first session of the General Assembly -- he was UPI's guy at the capitol. Jack was kind and gracious to me, a young reporter still learning how to practice my trade, and I always appreciated his generosity. And then, years later, I wound up working with you at the AJC. Life is full of funny coincidences.

I'm very sorry to hear of Jack's passing, but I wanted you to know how much I liked and respected him. I hope you'll pass along my condolences to your family.

April 7, 2013

With deepest sympathy to the Wilkinson family during your time of grief...God is for you a refuge and strength, A help that is there to be found during difficult times...May God provide you with peace and comfort to endure the days ahead.

Joe Chapman

April 6, 2013

If someone couldn't like and respect Jack - enjoy spending time with him -- there was something wrong. He was a great guy and first rate journalist. Raised (with Beverly, of course) two great children who've given him a lot of reasons to be proud.

Irvne "Pinky" Vidacovich

April 6, 2013

Dear Beverly: I have such wonderful memories of you and Jack during my stay in Atlanta. He was a terrific guy and a great friend and you were a warm and friendly host. I wish I could be with you at this sad time but, as I have learned, these sad memories will one day be happy ones. Love, Pinky Vidacovich

April 6, 2013

One of the highlights of Sig and Marina's picnic outings was the chance to visit with Jack and Beverly as both of our families had departed the neighborhood on Middlesex Avenue. Jack always was glad to pinpoint the more recent events in their lives and to proudly proclaim the girls recent successes and their current places of employment. His dry small anecdotes were always enjoyable. Maxine and I send our prayers and condolences to the family and regret the picnics are now only enjoyable memories of our past..

Don and Maxine Wellington Flowery Branch, Ga

Joey Ledford

April 6, 2013

Beverly, Tracy and Kelly; I am so sorry for your loss. I thought the world of Jack and both Beki and I are so sorry we could not be there yesterday. As your wonderful obit noted, Jack was a multi-talented journalist and a wonderful manager. He was so even keeled -- I never saw him lose his cool. He was a great help to me throughout my UPI years. Bless you all during these sad days.

Donna Van Doren Alexander

April 5, 2013

In memory of a kind and gentle man. He will be missed by all those who had the delightful opportunity to spend time with him.