Cover photo for O.H. "Sunny" Wilkerson's Obituary
O.H. "Sunny" Wilkerson Profile Photo

O.H. "Sunny" Wilkerson

December 25, 1928 — April 4, 2024

Little Rock

O.H. "Sunny" Wilkerson

O.H. “Sunny” Wilkerson, 95, of Little Rock, Arkansas, peacefully passed away on April 4, 2024. He was born December 25, 1928, in Benton, Arkansas to Otho Wilkerson Sr. and Marjorie Wilkerson. Sunny grew up in Benton and Arkadelphia, Arkansas where he moved with his mother, sister and brother after the death of his father.  At the young age of eight, Sunny became the “man of the house” working many small jobs to help support his family during the World War II days.  He enjoyed the outdoors with his pals referring to themselves as the “Rinky Dink Marines”.  Sunny loved sports.  He played American Legion baseball and while attending Arkadelphia High School he was a successful basketball player despite his 5’8” height. 

At the age of 17 he enlisted in the United States Army, receiving the World War II Victory Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal (Japan).  After discharge, Sunny returned to Arkadelphia where he began dating Margaret Ann Jones, who became the love of his life and wife of 73 years.  

Sunny graduated from Henderson State Teacher’s College where he was a member of Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity which he eventually served as president. His stories of his exploits during the infamous “Battle of the Ravine” rivalry between Henderson and Ouachita Baptist College were legendary within the family.  After graduation he became a radio personality in Arkadelphia and Little Rock, and he and Margie married and started their family.  

He came to manage several retail businesses in Arkadelphia and Hope, Arkansas, before joining the Frank Lyon Company in Little Rock where he worked for many years as a senior officer, and President of Martin Advertising.  He later served as a marketing executive with TCBY Yogurt before retiring in 1994.  Sunny was exceptional in his marketing and advertising career, serving as president of the International Sales and Marketing Executives organization.  

Sunny was an avid Razorback fan where his disposition was less than “sunny” following any Hog defeat.  He enjoyed spending time with his precious “Margie” and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He came to be known as Pop and Pop-Pop by the kids and soon after, by the entire family.  He loved captaining the family boats during ski and island camping trips to Lake Ouachita, the lake he called the most beautiful in the world.  He loved dogs, especially the poodles and cocker spaniels lucky enough to become part of the family.  He took pride in their beautiful yard and enjoyed watching the many birds that nested there and flocked to his bird feeders.  

A man of strong faith, Sunny taught Sunday School for years including high schoolers at St. Andrews and Grace Presbyterian churches, and later the adult Triune class at Trinity UMC.  He had also served as a Deacon at First Christian Church.  He loved Christmas. His yard and Snow Village decorations were amazing and became a tradition among the family.  Today one can find those traditions in the homes of his children and grandchildren.  Of course, this is not surprising given that he was born on Christmas Day.  

Sunny is survived by his wife of 73 years, Margaret Wilkerson; his children, Don Wilkerson (Janet), Kenny Wilkerson (Terrie), and Mark Wilkerson (Linda); his grandchildren, Chris Wilkerson (Hayley), Brooke Womack (Wes), Meredith Bolin (Carl), Blake Wilkerson, Drew Wilkerson, Elizabeth Strunk (John), Michael Wilkerson (Katherine); great-grandchildren, Caroline Wilkerson, Jack Wilkerson, Jackson Womack, Sophia Bolin, Mary Margaret Womack, Vivian Womack, Hayes Bolin, Briggs Bolin, and Mackenzie Strunk; and other extended family and friends. Sunny was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Ann Benham and his brother Thomas Wilkerson.

The family wants to express their sincere gratitude to Dr. Brad Baltz; the teams at CHI Cancer Center and Arkansas Urology; Dr. Michael Huber at Heart Hospital Clinic; Dr. Raymond Edwards at Little Rock Diagnostic Clinic; and the amazing staff at the Arkansas Hospice Inpatient Unit at St. Vincent Infirmary.

A private service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to:              Trinity Unity Methodist Church, www.tumclr.org; Arkansas Hospice, www.arkansashospice.org; Arkansas Children’s Hospital, www.archildrens.org; and Tunnels to Towers, www.t2t.org

To sum it all up, Sunny was a wonderful husband, father, grand and great grandfather.  He was an inspiration during his illness and is missed terribly. However, the family rejoices knowing that Pop/Pop-Pop is in Heaven with the Lord and reunited with his family who preceded him in passing.  

 

 

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