James Burlon Wilkerson

December 14, 1950July 21, 2020
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Burlon Wilkerson, born December 14, 1950 passed from this life July 21, 2020. The oldest son of RV and Jakie Rushing Wilkerson. Burlon was born in Houston, but got to Diboll as quick as he could. Service will be Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the Gipson Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. until service time. A private burial will be held prior to the service. Burlon graduated as valedictorian from Diboll High School in 1969. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree and his Master of Fine Arts Degree from SFA. In 1973, he returned to Diboll High School to teach English, Speech, Journalism, and Theatre. He coached UIL, speaking events, one-act play, debate, and various other topics. He became the first academic Decathlon coach for DHS. His teams, both UIL and Academic Decathlon won numerous awards on the state level during his time in Diboll. The last twelve years of his education career he taught Speech at Angelina College. A charter member of the Diboll Civic Club, Burlon was passionate about Operation Clean Sweep and served as the site coordinator for several years. He loved helping the elderly improve their homes. Often he personally took on jobs during the year that could not be done during OCS. Burlon was a member of Eastview Pentecostal Church in Lufkin. Over the years there he served as children’s church coordinator, youth director, and currently was a member of the Lifeline Bible Study team. Burlon and Jan, along with Tim and Tammy Almand created WOW ! (Worship on Wednesday) for the children of the church. A life member of the Texas Congress of Parents and Teachers (PTA), Burlon worked with the local, district and state PTA as an officer and presenter at state training sessions. He was honored to be “First Man” while his wife served as state president of the PTA. One of his greatest loves was playing guitar and singing Southern gospel music. He played with the Promise Land Quartet for thirty years. Burlon is survived by his wife of 46 years, Jan Woodrome Wilkerson of Diboll; son and daughter-in-law, Trey and Michele Wilkerson of Diboll; daughter, Dr. Krista Wilkerson of San Antonio, and daughter and son-in-law, Melanie and Greg Blakeslee of Marquez. He is survived by the loves of his life, his grandchildren, Annabeth and Ryan Wilkerson of Diboll, Neely and Jake Blakeslee of Marquez, Jamie and Jessica Blakeslee of College Station. Also survived by mother, Jakie Wilkerson of Diboll; brothers and sisters-in-law, Reidel and Wanda Wilkerson of Diboll and Lanny and Pam Wilkerson of Lufkin; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Don and Sadie Woodrome of Chester, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by his father, RV Wilkerson. Flowers are appreciated, or donations to the Diboll PTSA Scholarship Fund at P.O. Box 312, Diboll, Texas. Most of all, please continue Random Acts of Kindness in Burlon’s honor. He had a heart for those in need. Purchase groceries, pay a bill, tuck a few extra dollars into a friend’s pocket, or tip really well the next time you eat out.

Services have been placed in the trust of Gipson Funeral Home. Condolences may be offered at Funeral services will be livestreamed on Gipson Funeral Home facebook


  • Jan Woodrome Wilkerson, Wife
  • Trey Wilkerson and wife Michele, Son
  • Dr. Krista Wilkerson, Daughter
  • Melanie Blakeslee and husband Greg, Daughter
  • Annabeth and Ryan Wilkerson, Grandchildren
  • Neely and Jake Blakeslee, Grandchildren
  • Jamie and Jessica Blakeslee, Grandchildren
  • Jakie Wilkerson, Mother
  • Reidel Wilkerson and wife Wanda, Brother
  • Lanny Wilkerson and wife Pam, Brother
  • Don Woodrome and wife Sadie, Brother-in-law and Sister-in-Law
  • R.V. Wilkerson, Father (deceased)
  • Burlon is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.


  • Visitation

    Saturday, July 25, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, July 25, 2020



James Burlon Wilkerson

have a memory or condolence to add?

John Gloria

July 28, 2020

Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. I know he will be missed. May God's love, presence and your memories give you comfort.

John and Gloria Holt

Gary Wilkerson

July 27, 2020

It is sad to know that we have lost a family member who was so special. We send our condolences to Aunt Jakie, Jan, Trey, Krista, Melanie, and all Burlon’s extended family. We know he will be missed by so many as he was, as Jan said, “A rock” for her and many others. He was one of thirty-one first cousins in our generation of the Wilkerson family and we will miss him so much at Wilkerson family reunions and other family visits. We watched him grow into a young man and remember when Jan and Burlon took their place as a married couple in the Wilkerson family. We have been blessed to be a part of their family ever since. By reading memories of those who have also been in Burlon’s life, we see he has touched many, as good teachers do. We cherish the time and conversations we have had with Burlon over the years as well as memories of his caring, Christian values and the virtuous life he led.
Gary and Norma Wilkerson, Laramie, Wyoming

Renee Martin

July 27, 2020

I have known Burlon all my life. Wonderful memories from church and then he taught me in school. Was a good and nice man and a great teacher. Sincere condolences to his family.

Esther and Bob Barger

July 25, 2020

Dear Jan and Trey,
We were saddened by the news of Burlon's death. By knowing Burlon for 30 years we know what a positive influence he was for the students of Diboll High School and many of the citizens of Diboll. He will be missed.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

Robert Howard

July 25, 2020

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Wilkerson family as they cope with this loss. I had the privilege of working with Burlon for many years at Diboll High School. As a brand new teacher, I admired and respected Burlon. He was a wonderful role model both in and out of the classroom. In the classroom, he was patient and kind. He maintained high expectations for his students, and he was willing to work with those students in order to help them meet those expectations. He also had a great sense of humor. Burlon was one of the smartest men I have ever known, and if anyone in the English department ever had a question about our subject, we went straight to Burlon; he was the department's grammar guru. Even after Burlon left DHS, he was willing to provide help to students when he could. During my last year teaching in Diboll, Burlon came in several afternoons a week to help my Academic Decathlon students polish and perfect their speeches. It paid off as several of them brought home medals. I know Burlon's friends and family will miss him, but perhaps they can find some comfort in knowing that he touched many lives, and that those who knew him are better for having done so.

Rena' Burns

July 25, 2020

To The Wilkerson Family:
Our families go way back. There are many happy memories of fun & fellowship around church. Thank you for all the times of sharing wisdom. He will be greatly missed. Prayers going up for peace in the midst of your storm.
We love you very much!
Rena' (Mayo) Burns
Mayo & Burns Families

SANDY Eakin Price

July 25, 2020

Mr. Wilkerson was one of my favorite teachers. His classroom was a place of creativity and joy. Thank you for dedicating your life to young people.

Sissy Skillern

July 25, 2020 of the best teachers of the Word of God I’ve ever been privileged to hear. He made the Word come alive. He will definitely be missed in our LifeLine class. He was always our go to person when we weren’t sure about something
May God comfort Jan and the rest of the Wilkerson family. My prayers are with you.
God Bless

Joye Smith

July 25, 2020

So sad for our loss of this kind and busy man! Praying for God's presence to be your Comfort!

Sherrie Yates

July 25, 2020

Burlon was a good and kind man. What a legacy he left for his children. He will be missed especially by the citizens of Diboll.