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Thomas C. Wilkins, 89, of Marietta, Georgia passed away on October 5th, 2023. Known affectionately by his grandchildren as “Gin-Gin” and “Grandaddy,” Tom touched countless lives in his eighty-nine years on earth. He served others in formal capacities such as deacon in the church but also through the kindness and compassion he showed others, even total strangers, every day of his life.
Tom was born in Russellville, Kentucky to Alma and Douglas Wilkins on October 10th, 1933. He grew up on a tobacco/dairy farm, milking cows and helping drive the tractor during tobacco harvest season with his older brother, Lauren. His early life on the farm cultivated his incredible work ethic, love for animals, and deep appreciation of nature. Tom’s true enjoyment on the farm, however, was working alongside his mother, “Miss Ann,” in the kitchen baking pies and cakes for family and friends.
Following high school, Tom served his country by enlisting in the Army National Guard. He completed officer training at Fort Benning and served twelve years, reaching the rank of Captain of the tank division. He was called up during the Berlin Crisis and spent a year in preparation at Fort Knox. The Crisis ended just days before his deployment; however, he visited Berlin later in life and was deeply moved by seeing the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie.
After his military service, Tom enjoyed a successful sales career in the publishing industry. Cornering a significant market share of high school and college publications, he developed the territories of Kentucky and Tennessee for Hunter Publishing Company. Later as a regional manager for Inter-Collegiate Press, he was responsible for the continued development and management of a 15-person sales team in 12 eastern seaboard states. During this time, Tom met Hilda Harper, the love of his life. Hilda taught middle school English and sponsored the yearbook at Floyd Junior High where Tom would frequently visit, and as they say, the rest is history. They were married on November 27th, 1976, and remained happily married for almost 47 years.
Tom later became a physician recruiter for Jackson and Coker, a national physician search firm. After leaving Jackson and Coker, he accepted the position of Vice President at Garafolo, Curtiss, and Company, continuing his successful physician recruiting career. He ultimately left recruiting to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship. He started his own company, Goldmaster, Inc. where Tom gold-plated fixtures for high-end clients such as Evander Hollifield.
Those who knew Tom were aware that he never truly retired; he simply found new hobbies, passions, and jobs he loved. These included landscape design for his neighborhood, but most notably for the East Cobb Church of Christ. He also started Bluegrass Woodcrafts during his later years, handcrafting one-of-a-kind décor pieces. He spent time during these years driving his grandkids around on the tractor and attending their youth baseball, football, and basketball games. A life-long learner, Tom took continuing education classes well into his 80’s at Kennesaw State University in drawing and landscape design. He also maintained his own immaculate yard at three different homes in Marietta, Georgia.
Tom was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He is survived by his loving wife, Hilda, and his legacy lives on through his children: Debbie Blake, Cathy Ackerman, Hilary Minich and husband Chris Minich, and Ben Wilkins and wife Breana Wilkins. He will be deeply missed but forever remembered by his precious grandchildren: Garland Drake, Adam Switzer, Harrison and Emily Minich, and Jacob and Levi Wilkins, and great-grandchildren: Davis and Delaney Switzer.
A Memorial Service will be held for Tom Wilkins on Saturday, October 14, 2023 at 2:00 PM at East Cobb Church of Christ, 5240 Roswell Road, Marietta, GA 30062. The service will be held outdoors, weather permitting. A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall at East Cobb Church of Christ.
The family will host a Visitation on Friday, October 13, 2023, at 6:00 PM in the Fellowship Hall of East Cobb Church of Christ. We welcome anyone who knew Tom or the family to attend the Visitation, the Memorial Service, or both to celebrate his life.
Interment will be at the Pine Ridge Memorial Park on Sunday in a private ceremony for family and close friends. Flowers may be sent to East Cobb Church of Christ, or in lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Prayer Garden at East Cobb Church of Christ in Memory of Tom Wilkins. If you would like to contribute to this project, please give online and select the fund “in honor of Tom Wilkins”.
Georgia Cremation in Duluth is assisting the family with arrangements.