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Bailey Goodman Wilkins

Bailey Goodman Wilkins, 94, of Amherst, died Monday, March 24, 2014, at his home following a brief illness. Bailey was the son of the late William Wyche Wilkins and Eva Byerley Wilkins.

He was predeceased by his first wife, Beverly Roberts Wilkins, his sister, Louise W. Monette Shelton, his brothers, Lewis Banks Wilkins, Edward Byerley “Buck” Wilkins and William Wyche “Dub” Wilkins Jr., and a granddaughter, Berkeley Neff Pearson.

Bailey is survived by his wife, Betty Pearson Wilkins; his daughters, Carol Wilkins Anderson and husband Rick of Lynchburg; Lynne Wilkins Runnett and husband Lloyd of Mineral; his step-sons, William Earle Pearson and wife Marie of Forest and Bruce Edward Pearson and wife Joni of Lynchburg. 

He also is survived by his grandchildren, Beverly Anderson Blair and husband Price, Blake Bailey Anderson and fiancée Kelly Lynn Anderson, Lloyd Robert Runnett Jr., Bailey Louis Runnett, Lauren Hunter Pearson and fiancée David Hutchings, Charles Earle Pearson and Natalie Stuart Pearson; his great-grandchildren, Brantley Williamson Blair and Virginia Roberts Blair; and numerous nephews and nieces.

Bailey was born in Turbeville in Halifax County on May 8, 1919. He graduated from Virginia Tech in June 1941 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Coast Artillery. 

A week later, Bailey was ordered to active duty and assigned to a Coast Artillery Regiment. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, his regiment was the first American forces to arrive in the Hawaiian Islands on Jan. 7, 1942. Bailey remained in the Hawaiian Islands throughout the rest of World War II. He was promoted to captain and left active service, returning to his home in Turbeville in Feb. 1946.

He began a career in the Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension Service in 1954 in Appomattox County and moved to Amherst County in 1955 where he continued to serve as a Cooperative Extension agent until his retirement in 1980. 

During his Cooperative Extension career, Bailey co-chaired the Buffalo River Watershed Committee for eight years which resulted in three recreational flood control lakes: Mill Creek, Thrasher and Stonehouse.

Bailey was a member of the Amherst Presbyterian Church, Amherst Rotary Club and owner and operator of Wilkins Greenhouse. 

While active with the Amherst Rotary Club, he was responsible for establishing a Rotary Pancake Day, which provides funds for college and vocational scholarships.

Bailey’s life exemplified the motto of Virginia Tech Ut Prosim, “That I May Serve.” Bailey lived his life to the fullest, enjoying his family and friends with his infectious laugh and selfless acts of kindness.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at 1 p.m. at Amherst Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Matt Gaventa officiating. Interment will follow at Amherst Cemetery. The American Legion Post 36 will conduct military honors. 

The family will receive friends on Friday, March 28, 2014, from 5-7 p.m. at Whitten Monelison Chapel.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Amherst Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 809, Amherst, VA 24521 or the Amherst Rotary Club’s Scholarship Fund, C/O Dudley A. Raine Jr. MD., 581 Christian Spring Rd, Amherst, VA 24521. 

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