Kenneth Wilkes MD

Born June 6, 1944

Burial arrangements under the direction of Woodmere Memorial Park. DR. KENNETH EARL WILKES "KENNY" (Mar 17, 2013) DR. KENNETH EARL WILKES "KENNY" 68, of Knoxville, Tenn., formerly of Columbus, Ohio, passed away Wednesday evening, March 13, 2013, at his home. He was born on June 6, 1944, (D-Day) in Huntington, W.Va., the son of Earl M. Wilkes and the former Nevada Dickerson. He was raised in Huntington and graduated from Vinson High School, where he was Valedictorian and President of his senior class, Lieutenant Governor of the state Key Club, and earned varsity letters in track and as manager of the football team. He attended Duke University on academic scholarships, where he earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, graduated with distinction, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi national honorary societies, participated in student government, and earned varsity letters as manager of two intercollegiate sports teams. He earned an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, and M.S. and Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from The Ohio State University. He worked as a research engineer-physicist at the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oak, Md., Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, Owens-Corning Fiberglas in Granville, Ohio, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn.. He retired in 2006 from ORNL as a Distinguished R&D Staff Member. He was an international expert on thermophysics and was a fellow of two international scientific organizations. After retirement, he was active in the Tennessee State Guard, attaining the rank of Major, and serving as Adjutant for the Third Regiment which serves East Tennessee. He was also Docent for the Farragut Folk Life Museum. He was preceded in death by his father, Earl Wilkes. Kenny is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Rose; son, Dr. David Wilkes and daughter-in-law, Dr. Vidya Rajagopalan of Granger, Ind.; daughter, Suzanne Wilkes-Portante and son-in-law, Gerald Portante of Littleton, Mass.; granddaughters, Elizabeth, Cecilia, and Isabella Portante of Littleton, Mass., and Aashna Wilkes of Granger, Ind.; mother, Nevada Kilgore of Huntington, W.Va.; brother, Ernest Wilkes and sister-in-law, Patricia of Jacksonville, Fla.; several nieces and nephews. He was a member of Concord United Methodist Church. He recently developed a passion for genealogy and through his research was accepted into the General Society of Mayflower Descendents and the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution. He was a wonderful and patient husband, father and grandfather. He lived a life of grace and left the world a better place for being a part of it. With his kindness, humor, and ready smile, he touched so many people. We will miss him greatly but know that the joy he gave us will live forever in our hearts. The family will receive friends from 2 to 3:45 p.m. on Sunday followed by a Celebration of Life at 4 p.m. at Concord United Methodist Church, 11020 Roane Drive with Rev. Brent Hall officiating. The family will receive friends from 10 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Reger Funeral Home, 1242 Adams Avenue, Huntington, W.Va., with Rev. Phillip Warren officiating. Interment will follow in the Woodmere Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to National Kidney Foundation or the Concord United Methodist Church, Click Funeral Home Farragut Chapel, 11915 Kingston Pike is serving the Wilkes family.


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Kenneth Wilkes MD

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Dot and Dave McElroy

March 23, 2013

Dear Rose, We will miss Ken Very Very Much. He was our friend. He was a superb scientist. We were on vacation from 3/13 to 3/22. We apologize for missing the services. Please call us if you need anything. Thank You, Dot and Dave McElroy

Jim King

March 18, 2013

Ken was a super guy with whom I always enjoyed working on projects at ORNL. We shared a lot Buckeye humor and stories from OSU. He will be missed.

SSgt. David Best

March 17, 2013

Major Wilkes was known to myself and all who served with him as an honorable man. It was an honor to have served beside him.

Delb, Kim, Drew and Madi Oxley

March 16, 2013

Simple words can never express the loss of our Uncle Kenny. He was such a wonderful husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend to us all and his passing will leave a great void in our lives. We are blessed with many cherished memories. His wit can never be matched and his strength and courage will always be remembered. Rose, David and Vidya, Suzanne and Jerry and all the girls, Dad and Mom, and MaMa, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and may God give you the same strength he gave Kenny. We love you very much. Love and sympathy.

BG Jerrold Pigg

March 16, 2013

MAJ Wilkes was a true friend whom I enjoyed being with. He was my Adjutant while I was commander of the 3rd Regiment, TN State Guard. I was always impressed with his knowledge. I will miss Ken, greatly.

March 16, 2013

Kenneth was an exceptional person whose sense of humor couldn't be matched. Even when he was having a bad day he always tried to joke. I will always be touched by knowing him. Rose, you and your family will always be in my prayers. Always remember we love you.
Vickie and Connie UT AIC

Wendi Townsend

March 15, 2013

One of the funniest people I have and will ever know. Love to the family that lived across the street. Our hearts and tears are with you.

Joe &Carolyn May

March 15, 2013

Ken was a wonderful friend who gave us much joy and laughter. He was calm & quiet and he was truly a gift to our lives. Our memory of him will always be one of heartfelt love. He was a real inspiration in our lives.

Annette Neubert

March 15, 2013

Very saddened to hear of Ken's passing. He was such an easy person to like and enjoy being around. His spirit was always there regardless of his situation. I simply enjoyed his visits, they were always fun and we never knew where the conversation would leads us. My thoughts and prayers to Rose and family. He will be missed

Jeanette Kettlewell

March 15, 2013

Uncle Kenny was a wonderful fellow with a terrific wit and sense of humor. He was so much fun to be around, and I always looked forward to visits from him and Rose, David and Suzanne. I will miss being able to see him at the usual family gatherings. Love to Rose, David, Suzanne and their families.