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Gerald R. Wilkins

(Nov. 4, 1920 - May 19, 2014)

Longtime Powell resident Gerald R. Wilkins, 93, died May 19, 2014, at the Powell Hospital.

Gerry was born Nov. 4, 1920, in Peoria, Ill., to Charles and Alice (Scott) Wilkins. He graduated from Bradley Polytechnic Institute in Peoria as a watchmaker. War World II interrupted his career, and he joined the U.S. Navy, serving from 1942-45.

While in the service, he married Hattie Sue Wherley on Sept. 8, 1944. After his military discharge, Gerry and Sue moved to Astoria, Ill., where they opened their first jewelry store.

On a summer vacation trip to Wyoming, they fell in love with the area and moved to Casper in 1952. In 1955, the family moved to Powell, where he has since resided. Gerry opened Wilkins Jewelry, and during 57 years in downtown Powell, he wore other hats as well, including 15 years as a Dutch Boy Paint dealer and operating Wilkins Department Store for eight years.

When Gerry closed his long-running main street jewelry store in 2012, he had established himself as the longest-tenured retail businessman in Powell.

An avid outdoorsman, Gerry enjoyed hunting, fishing and snowmobiling around his Crandall area cabin. Also, when he turned 60 he took on the challenge of becoming a licensed private pilot, accumulating more than 1,000 hours in the air. Gerry was also a Mason.

Over the years, Gerry had many special friends, neighbors and customers in the Powell Valley. He was appreciative of the care he received from the medical community and Powell Valley Healthcare.  

He was preceded in death by Sue, his wife of 57 years; and sons-in-law Gordon Wentz and Dick Hargrove.  

Gerry is survived by sister Marjorie; brother-in-law Phil (Lois) Wherley; daughters Sallie Wentz of Scottsbluff, Neb., Nancy Hargrove of Helena, Mont., and Teri (Paul) Drake of Clancy, Mont.; son Gerry of Billings, Mont.; grandchildren Scott (Jody) Wentz, Mike (D’lee) Wentz, Bonnie Hargrove, Chris Wilkins, Lisa Drake and Steven Drake. He also leaves four great-grandchildren, Randy, Kelli, Tory and Jordan Wentz, and numerous nieces and nephews.

At his request, cremation has taken place, and no local services are planned.

Burial of cremains will take place at a later date at Mount Zion Cemetery in Woodland Township, Astoria, Ill. Memorials may be made to Powell Valley Healthcare.

Arrangements are being handled by Thompson Funeral Home and Crematory.

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