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Lindsey Funeral Homes

473 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA

OBITUARY

Cecil Filmore Gilkerson

April 16, 1927January 8, 2020
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Cecil F. Gilkerson, 92, of, Harrisonburg, passed away January 8, 2020 at Bridgewater Retirement Community. Mr. Gilkerson was born on April 16, 1927, in Harrisonburg, the son of the late Ward H. and Virginia Burgess Gilkerson. He grew up in Mt. Crawford, and graduated from Bridgewater High School in 1944, and graduated from Catawba College in 1949.

On August 11, 1950, Mr. Gilkerson married Gay West Gilkerson who preceded him in death on November 13, 2011. Survivors include their four daughters and their families; Pam Setzer and husband Bob Setzer of Salisbury, North Carolina, granddaughters Katie Libscomb and husband Eric Lipscomb and great-granddaughters Eliza and Sallie Lipscomb; Addie Laurie Reamer and husband Richard Reamer, great-granddaughters Eleanor and Mamie Reamer and great-grandson Trey Reamer; Daughter Lynn Hoy, and husband Tom Hoy, grandson Scott Turner, and wife Marilyn Turner and great-grandsons Cecil and Theodore Turner of Harrisonburg; Daughter Julie King and husband Joe King of Waynesboro, Virginia and granddaughter Kelsey King and grandson Stuart King; Daughter Sharon Johnson and husband Shawn Johnson of Winchester, Massachusetts, granddaughters Natalie and Hope Johnson and grandson Quinn Johnson.

After graduating from Bridgewater High School in 1944 where he was an outstanding athlete, Mr. Gilkerson attended Bridgewater College for one year playing basketball and baseball. As part of the Greatest Generation, he entered the U.S. Navy and was a proud World War II veteran. In 1947 he entered Catawba College and after graduation in 1949 he was appointed coach of athletics at Rockwell High School in Rockwell, N.C. 1949-1952 where he coached football, boys & girls basketball and baseball and also coached at Charles L. Coon High School in Wilson, N.C. 1952-1954 before coming to Harrisonburg as the first full-time Director of Parks and Recreation on June 1, 1954 and retiring January 1, 1990. He saw his department grow from year to year. Harrisonburg was considered a role model in Parks and Recreation for cities under 50,000 in population. He not only served as Director of Parks and Recreation he was a baseball player playing for Linville at the beginning of the Valley League and then playing for the Harrisonburg Turks for a number of years. Mr. Gilkerson served as President of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society 1962-1964, later serving on the first Recreation Study Commission, which was the forerunner of our present State Recreation and Parks Conservation Commission. He established the groundwork for the Upper Valley Regional Park Authority and served on the advisory board for a number of years. In 1968, Mr. Gilkerson received the “Fellows Award,” the highest award given by the Virginia Recreation and Park Society as the outstanding professional in his field. In 1978, the State Department of Recreation and Conservation gave the first and only “Special Commendation to Mr. Gilkerson for his many accomplishments” in his profession of Parks and Recreation. In 1960, Mr. Gilkerson opened Valley Sports Center located on East Water Street and was co-owner until 1990. He was also co-owner of the Valley Tennis Court Surfacing Company for thirty years.

Mr. Gilkerson took his politics very seriously always voting and supporting the Republican Party.

Cecil was an avid golfer and he worked very hard in helping to bring a municipal golf course to the City of Harrisonburg. His dream was fulfilled and Heritage Oaks continues to provide a healthy quality of life for the community. He was also one of the first to bring tennis to Harrisonburg. Mr. Gilkerson enjoyed developing park land and recreation facilities for everyone. He enjoyed being around people of all ages.

In 1990, the City of Harrisonburg named the Community Activities Center the Cecil F. Gilkerson Community Activities Center in his honor. He was a member of the Harrisonburg Lions Club, served as president in 1971, and was awarded the Melvin Jones Award. He was also a member of the Harrisonburg Elks Lodge #450 for 65 years joining in 1954.

In 2013, he was inducted onto the Shenandoah Valley Athletic Club’s Hall of Honor and in 2015, he was inducted into the Harrisonburg High School Hall of Fame as a Supporter.

Mr. Gilkerson published a book on his hometown of Mount Crawford, Virginia entitled Mount Crawford, As I Remember It. In this photo essay, he recalled life growing up in a small town during the early part of the twentieth century.

He was a member of the Harrisonburg Baptist Church. Cecil’s true love was for his wife Gay and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His other love was for his City of Harrisonburg. Cecil recounted the history of his family, his life with Gay and their daughters in the book Footsteps in the Past completed in 2016 and given to members of his family for Christmas that year.

The family will receive friends at the Lindsey Funeral Home in Harrisonburg on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Friends may also call at his late residence.

Pastor Jim Logan will conduct the funeral service at the Harrisonburg Baptist Church on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Burial with military honors and Elks rites will follow at Woodbine Cemetery in Harrisonburg.

After the graveside service, friends are invited to the Harrisonburg Elks Lodge #450 for a time of fellowship and sharing memories.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Virginia Recreation & Park Society, 6372 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Suite 109, Mechanicsville, VA, 23111 to establish the Cecil F. Gilkerson Scholarship for young recreation professionals or to the Harrisonburg First Tee Program, 690 Garbers Church Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801.

Online condolences may be made to the family at www.lindseyharrisonburg.com.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • T. C. Frye, Active Pallbearer
  • Eugene Leffel, Active Pallbearer
  • Charles "Tootie" Geil, Active Pallbearer
  • Sean Gleason, Active Pallbearer
  • Scott Turner, Active Pallbearer
  • Stuart King, Active Pallbearer
  • Quinn Johnson, Active Pallbearer
  • Lee Foerster, Active Pallbearer
  • James Mosher, Active Pallbearer
  • Harrisonburg B.P.O.E. #450 (Elks), Honorary Pallbearers
  • Harrisonburg Lion's Club, Honorary Pallbearers
  • DONATIONS

  • Virginia Recreation & Park Sociey
  • Harrisonburg First Tee Program

Services

  • Visitation Wednesday, January 15, 2020
  • Funeral Service Thursday, January 16, 2020

Memories

Cecil Filmore Gilkerson

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WILHELMINA JOHNSON

January 16, 2020

The Johnson family sends our prayers and condolences to all of you!!

Charley Shank

January 16, 2020

Dear Pam, Lynn, Julie and Sharon,
We regret that health issues have kept us from joining with you in the celebration of your remarkable father’s life.
He was a true joy, as a friend and neighbor.
His love for you and your mother was so obvious.
A good man…well remembered.
Our best wishes to you and for your future.
Barbara Wheatley and Charley Shank

Dale Wright

January 15, 2020

Family of Cecil Gilkerson,
It was a blessing to visit Cecil at the VMRC and the Bridgewater Retirement Community on behalf of Harrisonburg Baptist Church.

We remember Cecil and Gay and all of their wonderful service at our church and in the community.

Anne and I send our condolence to you in your loss, as we also affirm our hope in the resurrection to new life through faith.

Dale and Anne Wright

Debra Bontz

January 15, 2020

Dear Gilkerson family,
I am so sorry for your loss. It is always so hard to lose a family member. (Especially your momma or daddy). You never quite get over them and you will always miss them. Your dad will be greatly missed in the valley. He made quite an impact on the people and children of the Valley. RIP, Cecil!

Terry Bodkin

January 15, 2020

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Cecil's family. So sorry for your loss. I have many wonderful memories through the years. He was quite the character, and we shared many laughs. Our thoughts are with the family, and those closest to him. RIP, Cecil! Terry and Connie Bodkin

Jim Hoy

January 15, 2020

Lynn and Family, we are truly sorry to learn of the passing of Cecil. Your father was committed to helping young people find their way and do their best for the Harrisonburg community. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. With Love, the Hoy’s.

Paige Leary

January 14, 2020

To the family of Cecil Gilkersons, so sorry to of your loss. I have known Cecil for many, many years. Sincerely Paige Baugher Leary.

Dawn Womack

January 12, 2020

This man is one of the finest men I've ever known in my life. A treasure to anyone whose had that fortunate blessing of his life crossing theirs. It was an honor and a privilege to be his next door neighbor for a span of time on Paul Street. I thoroughly enjoyed our chats and laughs. I'm sure we solved all the world's problems a time or two or at least I'd like to think we did😉 He'd follow our son's academic and football career frequently asking for updates on Landon Turner and/or offering encouragement and support with his warm smile. That meant a lot to all of us. Our dog, Bam Bam, loved Cecil too and loved to lay in the grass watching Cecil work on his garden and they'd chat too🙂 I'm not sure all of what they talked about, but I swear Bam Bam smiled back at him too❤ Also, the fresh tomatoes from his garden were simply the best! All that's great though I think my favorite part of knowing Cecil was to see how much he loved his wife, family & close friends and vice versa. It was abundantly clear that his relationships were deep, meaningful and special... And so was he. A treasure to be treasured forever more. Cecil, you will be missed! Until we meet again❤

Jim Foreman

January 12, 2020

My feelings are best expressed in an excerpt from a personal letter I sent to "Filly" dated May 22, 2004..." I'm sure you don't know, but you have and always will be in my memory bank. You know those times, when you are alone, maybe riding in the car, or taking a walk...people "pop" into your mind. The people who pop into your mind are those that you love and have made an impact on your life. Through the years, you are one of those people who "pop" into my mind on a regular basis. Probably because of how, in your own way and methods, you strengthened my work ethic and my competitive spirit. Your influence has helped me to be successful in the corporate world and more recently in my own business...but, most importantly, successful in developing a wonderful family.
I'm sure you have positively influenced thousands of kids. What a great contribution to individuals and to your community. You should be very proud of your accomplishments!"
"Filly" will remain in my memory bank for the rest of my life and will "pop-up" on a regular basis

Robin Hartman

January 11, 2020

Could tell a great story.
Could tell you so much about Harrisonburg that you would have never known .
He always had the real news and knew how to share what needed to be shared.
A very smart man with a true kind heart.
He will be missed by so many.
Our city was very blessed to have him.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Cecil F. Gilkerson, 92, of, Harrisonburg, passed away January 8, 2020 at Bridgewater Retirement Community. Mr. Gilkerson was born on April 16, 1927, in Harrisonburg, the son of the late Ward H. and Virginia Burgess Gilkerson. He grew up in Mt. Crawford, and graduated from Bridgewater High School in 1944, and graduated from Catawba College in 1949.

On August 11, 1950, Mr. Gilkerson married Gay West Gilkerson who preceded him in death on November 13, 2011. Survivors include their four daughters and their families; Pam Setzer and husband Bob Setzer of Salisbury, North Carolina, granddaughters Katie Libscomb and husband Eric Lipscomb and great-granddaughters Eliza and Sallie Lipscomb; Addie Laurie Reamer and husband Richard Reamer, great-granddaughters Eleanor and Mamie Reamer and great-grandson Trey Reamer; Daughter Lynn Hoy, and husband Tom Hoy, grandson Scott Turner, and wife Marilyn Turner and great-grandsons Cecil and Theodore Turner of Harrisonburg; Daughter Julie King and husband Joe King of Waynesboro, Virginia and granddaughter Kelsey King and grandson Stuart King; Daughter Sharon Johnson and husband Shawn Johnson of Winchester, Massachusetts, Granddaughters Natalie and Hope Johnson and grandson Quinn Johnson.

After graduating from Bridgewater High School in 1944 where he was an outstanding athlete, Mr. Gilkerson attended Bridgewater College for one year playing basketball and baseball. As part of the Greatest Generation, he entered the U.S. Navy and was a proud World War II veteran. In 1947 he entered Catawba College and after graduation in 1949 he was appointed coach of athletics at Rockwell High School in Rockwell, N.C. 1949-1952 where he coached football, boys & girls basketball and baseball and also coached at Charles L. Coon High School in Wilson, N.C. 1952-1954 before coming to Harrisonburg as the first full-time Director of Parks and Recreation on June 1, 1954 and retiring January 1, 1990. He saw his department grow from year to year. Harrisonburg was considered a role model in Parks and Recreation for cities under 50,000 in population. He not only served as Director of Parks and Recreation he was a baseball player playing for Linville at the beginning of the Valley League and then playing for the Harrisonburg Turks for a number of years. Mr. Gilkerson served as President of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society 1962-1964, later serving on the first Recreation Study Commission, which was the forerunner of our present State Recreation and Parks Conservation Commission. He established the groundwork for the Upper Valley Regional Park Authority and served on the advisory board for a number of years. In 1968, Mr. Gilkerson received the “Fellows Award,” the highest award given by the Virginia Recreation and Park Society as the outstanding professional in his field. In 1978, the State Department of Recreation and Conservation gave the first and only “Special Commendation to Mr. Gilkerson for his many accomplishments” in his profession of Parks and Recreation. In 1960, Mr. Gilkerson opened Valley Sports Center located on East Water Street and was co-owner until 1990. He was also co-owner of the Valley Tennis Court Surfacing Company for thirty years.

Mr. Gilkerson took his politics very seriously always voting and supporting the Republican Party.

Cecil was an avid golfer and he worked very hard in helping to bring a municipal golf course to the City of Harrisonburg. His dream was fulfilled and Heritage Oaks continues to provide a healthy quality of life for the community. He was also one of the first to bring tennis to Harrisonburg. Mr. Gilkerson enjoyed developing park land and recreation facilities for everyone. He enjoyed being around people of all ages.

In 1990, the City of Harrisonburg named the Community Activities Center the Cecil F. Gilkerson Community Activities Center in his honor. He was a member of the Harrisonburg Lions Club, served as president in 1971, and was awarded the Melvin Jones Award. He was also a member of the Harrisonburg Elks Lodge #450 for 65 years joining in 1954.

In 2013, he was inducted onto the Shenandoah Valley Athletic Club’s Hall of Honor and in 2015, he was inducted into the Harrisonburg High School Hall of Fame as a Supporter.

Mr. Gilkerson published a book on his hometown of Mount Crawford, Virginia entitled Mount Crawford, As I Remember It. In this photo essay, he recalled life growing up in a small town during the early part of the twentieth century.

He was a member of the Harrisonburg Baptist Church. Cecil’s true love was for his wife Gay and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His other love was for his City of Harrisonburg. Cecil recounted the history of his family, his life with Gay and their daughters in the book Footsteps in the Past completed in 2016 and given to members of his family for Christmas that year.

The family will receive friends at the Lindsey Funeral Home in Harrisonburg on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Friends may also call at his late residence.

Pastor Jim Logan will conduct the funeral service at the Harrisonburg Baptist Church on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 10 a.m.

Burial with military honors and Elks rites will follow at Woodbine Cemetery in Harrisonburg.

After the graveside service, friends are invited to the Harrisonburg Elks Lodge #450 for a time of fellowship and sharing memories.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Virginia Recreation & Park Society, 6372 Midlothian Turnpike, Suite 109, Midlothian, VA, 23111 to establish the Cecil F. Gilkerson Scholarship for young recreation professionals or to the Harrisonburg First Tee Program, 690 Garbers Church Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801.

Online condolences may be made to the family at www.lindseyharrisonburg.com.