Dr. Leslie Ray Wilkinson, 90
November 29, 1929 - June 14, 2020
TUPELO – Dr. Leslie Ray Wilkinson, 90, realized the promises of his faith and met his Creator at 9 PM Sunday, June 14, 2020 at his longtime home in Tupelo. Ray was born November 28, 1929 in Lamison, Alabama to the union of DeJournette Charlston Wilkinson and Melanie Dunning Wilkinson. Growing up in Alabama, he graduated from Thomasville High School where he was captain of the football team. He was known as the kid with the golden toe and as the team sparkplug. Ray and Ruth Dozier married in Jackson, Ala. on Nov. 25 1951. Always a patriotic American, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving in the Mediterranean Sea. He received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and continued his education earning a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine from Auburn University. Dr. Wilkinson, after a recommendation from a friend, made a short visit to Tupelo in 1959 from Lamison and found everyone waved at him and were extraordinarily friendly. He and Ruth moved here and have made their home in Tupelo for 61 years. A very learned, compassionate, and devoted Veterinarian, he founded Tupelo Veterniary Clinic and became a fixture on area farms tending large animals. Eventually, he became primarily a small animal practitioner and was beloved by hundreds of admiring clients throughout our area. He retired at age 67 but never stopped working. His clinic was near the Ivy Fence Company at the time and he began working for them until age 87. Doc was a gentle, kind, and loving soul who was committed to his wife, children, and grandchildren, his Church, Auburn University (go War Eagles), and God. He was a faithful member of Wesley United Methodist Church and several times a delegate to the United Methodist Conference. An active Gideon, he was a member of the Breakfast Civitan Club. Doc’s living left a legacy of faith, family, love of animals, and civic responsibility that will long be a source of encouragement for those who follow. He will be missed by all!
A service of Death and Resurrection celebrating his life will be held at 4 PM, Thursday, June 18, 2020 in the Tupelo Chapel of Holland Funeral Directors with Rev. Roger Puhr officiating. Military honors will follow. Private burial will be afterward in Lee Memorial Park. Visitation will be from 2 PM –service time Thursday only. For those unable to attend, the service may be viewed at 4 PM Thursday at www.hollandfuneraldirectors.com/Live-streaming – and will be permanently archived thereafter.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth Dozier Wilkinson of Tupelo; children, Manah’ Wilkinson (Susan) of New Albany, Melanie Wilkinson Philpot of Tupelo, Rusty Wilkinson (Lacretia) of Ellistown, and Ron Wilkinson (Karla) of Atlanta, GA; daughter-in-law, Ginger Wilkinson; grandchildren, Cole Wilkinson, Grey Wilkinson, Hannah Robinson (Will), Asher Wilkinson, Justus Wilkinson, Eli Wilkinson, Isaiah Wilkinson, Seth Copeland, and Katie Copeland Dancy (Adam), and Nic Robertson; 12 great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Scott Wilkinson on June 8, 2019; 2 sisters, Kathryn “Kitty” Smith and Charlotte Marie Lowery; and brother, D.C. “Doddy” Wilkinson, Jr.
Pallbearers will be Charlton Cole Wilkinson, Seth Houston Copeland, Andrew Asher Wilkinson, Elijah Eran Wilkinson, Josiah Justus Wilkinson, Isaiah Manah Wilkinson, Charlton Zane Wilkinson, Joel Bash Wilkinson, and Heath James Ray Wilkinson. Honorary pallbearers will be Jimmy Langley and Jimmy Ivy.
Memorials may be sent to Wesley United Methodist Church, 2010 Main Street, Tupelo, MS 38801. Condolences to the family may be posted at hollandfuneraldirectors.com.