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Obituary: George Richard Wilkins

George Richard Wilkins 1926 ~ 2005 George Richard Wilkins, 79, died peacefully November 25, 2005 in the Hospice Room of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Salt Lake City, surrounded by members of his family. His death followed a decades-long struggle with Parkinson's Disease. George was born August 3, 1926 in Bluewater, New Mexico to Thomas Wilson and Nellie Bloomfield Wilkins. He was the first of 10 children. He is preceded in death by his sister, Mary. While a student at Brigham Young University, George married Marjorie Gundersen, daughter of Lamont B. and Madeline Gundersen, Oct. 12, 1951 in the Salt Lake Temple. George and Marjorie have four children, Richard G. Wilkins (Melany), Madeline (Carmen Freeman), Marianne (Michael Saltzgiver) and David G. Wilkins (Kristie). George and Marjorie have 18 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Marjorie preceded him in death August 10, 1997. George married Afton Lovell Pettegrew May 17, 2000 in the Jordan River Temple. Afton is the mother of six children and she has 17 grandchildren. During their time together, George and Afton enjoyed traveling. They journeyed to a UN Conference in Kenya and visited South Africa and Zambia. Last year, they toured China. Other trips included visits to Alaska and church history sites in the Eastern United States. George served three missions for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including one to the Southern States Mission in his youth and later missions to Columbia South Carolina (with Marjorie) and the Family History Center in Salt Lake City (with Afton). George holds an undergraduate degree from BYU and a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. He taught at various elementary schools in the Salt Lake City area from 1953 through 1963, when he was named principal of the Blaine Elementary School. He later served as principal of the Roosevelt, Robert Frost and Granger Elementary Schools prior to retiring from public education. George was an active member of the LDS Church. He was ordained a Patriarch by L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1978. He served as a sealer in the Jordan River Temple from 1980 until 2000. Family and friends will remember George's enthusiasm for "special projects." These included gardening, growing Concorde grapes and making juice and jelly, and delivering plates of Christmas candies. He took particular joy searching for geodes and agate rocks he would cut and polish into jewelry for family and friends. Viewing is Wednesday night November 30, 2005 from 6-8 p.m. at Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary, 1007 West South Jordan Parkway, South Jordan, Utah. Funeral services will be December 1, 2005, 11 a.m. at the Cottonwood Heights First Ward, 7075 South 2245 East, Salt Lake City, Utah. Friends may call one hour prior to the funeral to greet family members. Internment will be at the Mountain View Memorial Estates, 3115 East 7800 South, Salt Lake City. In lieu of flowers, friends wishing to remember George may consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Hospice Program at the Salt Lake VA Hospital.