William Wilkinson


William Craig Wilkinson, 75, of Batavia, passed away at his home on June 19, 2024 after a long illness. He was surrounded by his loving family.

Bill was born on May 20, 1949 at home in Eldon. He was the 6th child of Lawence and Audrey Major Wilkinson.

Bill graduated from Cardinal High School with the class of 1967 and shortly thereafter got his draft notice. Bill served in the U.S. Army from 1968-1971, earning the rank of Specialist Four, serving in Erlangen, West Germany.

Bill met the love of his life, Carol Davidson, at Whitey’s Café in Eldon upon returning home. They married on June 23, 1973 at the Eldon Christian Church. They shared nearly 51 years of love and laughter, and even lived in the American Gothic House from 1976-1981. They enjoyed being “the Gothic Couple” throwing many legendary parties there.

Bill was a lifelong railroader and worked on the Rock Island, Keokuk Junction Railway, IC&E Railroad and retired in 2010 from Canadian Pacific. Bill trained many students and held positions of conductor, switchman and brakeman.

Bill did not slow down after retiring. He was a hard worker, always having a project for the day. He was a good neighbor and meticulous homeowner. He looked forward to his Saturday volunteer days at the Batavia Legion with his buddies. He loved his home and enjoyed time spent puttering, taking care of his yard, grilling, a cold beer, listening to music, telling stories and feeding the birds. He was an avid fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Above all else, Bill was a loving, dedicated husband, father and grandfather, known as “Papa Bill.”. He nurtured and protected his family until the very end.

Bill is survived by his wife, Carol, of Batavia; two daughters, Alissa (John) Knudtson of Oskaloosa and Laura (Jacob) Jordan of Eldon; two granddaughters who were the joy of his life, Annie Knudtson and Isla Jacobs and a precious grandson, Wilder Jordan. He is also survived by his siblings, Elaine (Gary) Burkamper of Le Claire, Becky (Chuck) Whitlock of Missouri, Carmen (Rick) Baxter of Branson, MO, Steven Wilkinson of Ottumwa, John (Robin) Wilkinson of Grimes and Tucker Wilkinson of Eldon; a special sister-in-law, Marsha Brewington and many nieces, nephews and lifelong friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents and four sisters, Kay Lyon, LuAnn Sheesley, Lexia Cedillo and infant Melia Wilkinson.

Visitation will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 23rd at Reece Funeral Home with the family present to greet friends from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 24th at Reece Funeral Home with Chaplain Doug McAntire officiating. Burial will be in Batavia Cemetery with military honors conducted by O.B. Nelson Post #3 American Legion and Walter B. Schafer Post #775 Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Memorials may be made to W.C. Harness Post #667 American Legion in Batavia.

The family would like to thank the VA Medical Center of Iowa City with special thanks to Korene, the VA Outpatient Clinic of Ottumwa, Jefferson County Hospital, Mercy Hospital of Iowa City, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Sunnybrook Home Care (Sarah Kent Bainbridge) and Compassus Hospice with special thanks to Jennifer and Kandis for their excellent care of Bill in his final years.

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