Donald Edward Wilkinson Jr., 60 years old, of North Charleston, SC, passed away on April 25, 2015 at Trident Hospital surrounded by his family.
The celebration of his life will be held at New Covenant Church of God, 2801 Ashley Phosphate Rd, N. Chas., SC 29418 at 4:00p.m., Saturday May 2, 2015. Visitation will follow immediately in the church’s social hall.
Donny was born in Greer, SC on 1/13/1955, a son of Martha Wilkinson and the late Donald E. Wilkinson Sr.
Donny worked as an Educator and News Paper writer. He enjoyed producing pageants and coaching. He also was actively involved in the Lymphodema foundation created in his honor called Walk for Donny 2014 and the day before the 2nd annual Walk 2015 he passed.
Donny is also by survived his brother, Kenny Wilkinson(Patrice), sisters Vicki Chamberlain (Sonny) and Teresa Denaux (Sparky), and his aunt Naomi Palmer, the proud uncle of Tony Wilkinson, Jr., Kim & Mike Jackson, Kerri Wilkinson, Curtis & Heather Chamberlain, Brett & Bryce Denaux as well as a Great Uncle to Blain, Kobe, Kannan, & Grace.
Donny is preceded in death by his father, and his brother, Tony Wilkinson, and his grandparents.
Donny Wilkinson was raised all of his life in North Charleston, SC. He graduated from Stall High School. He received his BA and MA from Baptist College later known as Charleston Southern University. While in school he coached softball and basketball for the recreation department at Pepperhill and at Hillsdale.
He began his career at Trident Technical College teaching Reading and English. Later spent a number of years at Lord Berkeley Academy in Moncks Corner. During his tenure there he taught Middle school and High school English, sponsored the newspaper and the yearbook and was the Assistant Headmaster. Later on he worked at the Charleston County Schools at Stall High School in the Special Education Department. After many years of being an assistant coach to the cheerleaders who were renowned winners of numerous awards and the Baptist College Cheerleaders for four years, he took over the coaching duties full time in the 90’s. As the coach at Stall he led his cheerleader squad, which was the only co-ed squad in the county, to be State Champions, Ranked 14th and 4th nationally, plus having numerous individuals award, winning the Palmetto Touchdown Club Cheerleader of the Year. In 1993, Donny was named, out of over 800 nominees from all over the United States and Puerto Rico, the National High School Cheerleader Coach of the Year. He spent much time traveling all over the country speaking on his craft. He helped numerous cheerleaders get Cheerleading Scholarships to Clemson, Carolina, College of Charleston, USC Upstate, Baptist College and many others.
He later went to work for the Hannahan News, winning several awards for writing and eventually ran his own Newspaper in North Charleston for a number of years and worked with the Post and Courier. During this time he was honored to have been chosen to compose a photographic history book on North Charleston for the City’s 30th Birthday.
He became active in several organizations also including The North Charleston City Advisory Council, The North Charleston Senior Citizens group, The Pepperhill Residence Association and the Exchange Club of North Charleston, becoming it’s President in 2001. He also worked with the Exchange Club Fair as the director of the Time Out Teddy Program for the Bringing awareness to Preventing Child Abuse. In THe Exchange he was also the Police Officer/Fireman of the year project Chairman and the Student of the Month/Year program. He also published the Regions Exchange Club Bulletin.
Having 30+ years of experience in the field of pageants, he is a former member of the National Judges and Talent Association of America and has coached contestants, judged and emceed pageants and directed pageants in many organizations including the Miss America system, the Miss Universe system, America’s Junior Miss Programs as well as many other pageants throughout the United States. He has worked with Sarah Medley Karriker who was crowned Miss South Carolina Teen USA and Miss South Carolina USA, Austen Brown Williams who was Miss South Carolina Teen USA and the former Mrs. America as well as many others including Nancy Humphries O’Dell and Vanessa Manillo Leschay. Presently he is the Executive Director of the Queen of Folly Beach/Edisto Beach Pageant.
Donny contracted Lymphodema nearly 4 years ago and he progressively got worse. It was an ailment that not many knew much about including local doctors. As a result of having the disease in October 2013 he became very sick and was rushed to the hospital where they amputated both of his legs. With the help of many loving friends and family along with some of the most outstanding professionals in the Medical field including doctors, nurses, techs and of course his therapists, he rapidly made a strong comeback. He began to help others learn about this relatively unknown disease and this is why with the help of his good friend, Andie, and many others The Walk for Donny was created to educate and donate to Lymphodema. As this year’s walk was planned no one knew that Donny was suffering with complications due to this disease. On Easter night he once again was rushed to the hospital and this time Donny would not be as fortunate as he had been. As Donny passed on surrounded by his loving family, he would have wanted all to celebrate the life, not mourn but remember his life through his many friends lives and how they each held a special place in his heart and through the memories he helped us create. Donny was a proud son, brother, uncle and friend to us all. We Love You Donny.