John "Jack" Wilkinson

May 16, 1940 ~ January 5, 2021 (age 80)


John “Jack” Wilkinson, 80, of Danville, passed away on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, at Pleasant Meadows Senior Living in Chrisman, Il.  No public services are planned at this time, he will be laid to rest at Springhill Cemetery in Danville.

Jack was born May 16, 1940 in Danville to John and Louise (Dobbins) Wilkinson, both Danville natives.  He and his older brother, Bill, [William], attended Edison Grade School, and graduated from Danville High School.

Jack spent his working years in downtown Danville when it was a lively commercial sector. First at Sears and then Penney’s Department stores, he was in the shoes and apparel departments.

He then joined the advertising department of the Danville Commercial News. Part of his job required that he make the rounds of the paper’s advertisers, eventually he knew many of the hundreds of other downtown workers. Lunchtime almost always found him at the Deluxe Café on North St, next door to the paper. His CN boss for many of those years was the venerable Bob Foster.

Throughout his life, Jack pursued interests in American history, musical comedy, theater and collecting antiquities. In the 1960s he performed with the Kathryn Randolph theater in memorable plays and musicals. When he wasn’t performing he was practicing and playing records, and developed his collection of music through the analog, tape and digital eras. Much of that collection was donated in 2019 to the Danville Public Library.

Jack enjoyed memberships in many civic associations, including the Vermilion County Historical Society and the Masonic Lodge.  He also participated in an American Revolution Re-enactment group, that held events all over the Midwest.

Jack is preceded in death by his parents, John and Louise Wilkinson, and his beloved brother, Bill, of Peoria. He is survived by his sister-in-law Alice, and niece Erin Lewis, her husband Jason, and their children, Rob, Ted, Sam, Will and Cate. His sister Susann Wilkinson and her husband Michael M.J. Fischer, of Massachusetts, also survive.

For the past nearly two years, Jack had been in a memory unit at Pleasant Meadows Senior Living in Chrisman, Il. Initially, Jack was overjoyed to be surrounded by so many new friends and to have so many activities to participate in, such as church services, music events and the ice cream socials. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, like all nursing and long term facilities, Pleasant Meadows went into quarantine, allowing only staff to go in and out. Virus free for many months, Covid-19 found its way in, infecting both staff and residents, including Jack.  Combined with his worsening dementia, this musically inspired resident found eternal rest.

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