Ernest J Wilkins, 83, passed away peacefully at home on Jan. 28, 2002.
Born in Franklin, Arizona on Nov. 10, 1918 to Early Jeptha and Carrie Mae Gale Wilkins. He attended Prescott High School and Arizona State University before being called on a two and a half year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Argentina, where he developed a love for the people and an expertise in Spanish.
Served four years in World War II, enlisting in the Air Force, then transferring to the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps, where he was awarded the Purple Heart. He attended George Washington University in Washington DC, Brigham Young University, and received his PhD at Stanford University.
Married Maurine Lee, daughter of President Harold B. Lee, in 1947. They had four children before Maurine died in 1965. He then married Karla Toland in 1967 and they had four children. They were later divorced. He married Judith Shumway Gosney in 1979 who has been his loving companion until the time of his death.
Professor of languages and cultural studies at BYU and later at the U of U. He has co-authored textbooks in many different languages which are still being used today. He was called to be the first president of the Language Training Mission (LTM), which later became the Mission Training Center (MTC) where he served nine years from 1961-1970. Ernest felt this assignment to be the most spiritually rewarding experience of his life. Over 17,500 missionaries went through the LTM while he was there.
Active member of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served as bishop of the BYU 16th ward and in other bishoprics and leadership positions. He and Judy served in the Portugal Lisbon South Mission from 1997-1998.
Survived by his sweetheart Judith Ann, their children Alan (Margaret) Wilkins of Provo; Larry (Debbie) Wilkins of Pleasant Grove; Martsy (Roger) Goeringer of Orem; Jay (Tracy) Wilkins of Pagosa Springs, CO; Kim (Tom) Kastigar of Gilbert, AZ; Kyle (Melanie) Wilkins of Salt Lake City; Korilyn (Ray) Burt of Peoria, AZ; Kirk Wilkins of Rancho Cordova, CA; Mark Gosney of Mesa, AZ; Kim (Willie) Jones of Mesa, AZ; Heather (Greg) Fullmer of Anchorage, AK; Jim Gosney of Salt Lake City; Lindy (Nate) Kingdon of Salt Lake City; 55 grandchildren and 20 great- grandchildren. He is also survived by one sister, Lora Potts of Mesa, AZ.
Services will be held Thursday, Jan. 31, 12 noon at Monument Park 12th Ward, 2795 East Crestview Dr. (900 So., Salt Lake City). Viewing at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 E. 1300 S., 6-8 p.m. Wed., January 30 and one hour prior to services at the church. Interment Salt Lake City Cemetery.