Ruth Nell Wilks

March 30, 1935July 4, 2021

Ruth Nell Wilcoxen Wilks, 86, passed away on July 4, 2021. She was born near Wharton, TX on March 30, 1935 to Ivy and Arthur John Wilcoxen. She lived in Tomball from 1937 to 1949 at which time the family moved to Gladewater. Ruth graduated from Gladewater High School in 1953 and from Kilgore College in 1955. She received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education degree from Stephen F. Austin University. After teaching one year at Carr Junior High in Orange, she began a long career as a English teacher at Hawkins High School, retiring after 33 years in the classroom. In 1959, she and Donald Wilks were married. Donald precedes her in death on March 17, 2012. In 2014, Ruth moved to Kingsport, TN to be near family. Mrs. Wilks was a member of the Hawkins Study Club, Gladewater Music Club, Tuesday Bible Study Club, Wood County Retired School Personnel Association, and Texas Retired Teacher Association. She was a member of the Martha Sandy School Class for over 50 years and First Baptist Church, Gladewater. For the last few years, she held membership in Calvary Baptist Church, Kingsport, TN.

Ruth is preceded in death by her parents; husband, Donald Wilks; two brothers, Donald Wilcoxen and wife Syble and Buddy Wilcoxen; nephew, Donald Wilcoxen, Jr.; sister-in-law, Ellen Wilks; and brother-in-law, Joe McGill.

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Laura and James Karnes; granddaughters, Kimberly and husband Dustin Faucher, and Kelly Karnes; great-grandson, Cooper Dale Faucher; sister-in-law, Sandra McGill; brothers-in-law, Bob Wilks and Gerald Wilks; and several nieces, nephews, and a number of cousins.

The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 7:30pm July 6, 2021 at Calvary Baptist Church in the Club House.

Funeral services will be held at a later date in Texas.

Honorary pallbearers will be Kelley McGill, Steven Wilks, David Wilcoxen, Dan Kirk, Gerald Roe, Joe Paul McDougold, Dwayne Hickey, Edwina Wilks, and Shannon Wilks.


  • Receiving of Friends

    Tuesday, July 6, 2021


Ruth Nell Wilks

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Elissa Wilkins Martin

July 9, 2021

Mrs. Wilks was one of my all time favorite teachers! She taught me English for two years in high school, and I know I learned an immense amount from her. I was so well prepared for college English that making A's at university level came easy. She was such an excellent teacher and person. She inspired me with her kindness, her knowledge, and her smile. I always looked forward to her class and wanted to do well to please her. I'm so grateful I was blessed to know and be taught by this extraordinary lady. Up until I took off for college, I wanted to be a high school English teacher and be just like her. My deepest condolences to her family. I know you loved her well and will miss her greatly! Blessings to all of you! Elissa


July 6, 2021

Mrs. Wilks was my English teacher in 1980 and 1981 at Hawkins High School. She was a great lady. There are not any teachers like her anymore. I remember diagramming sentences and reading Silas Marner. She will be truly missed.

Audrey Cheatham Green class of 1982