Dr. Barbara Ann Wilkerson, of Willow Street, PA, and Nanuet, NY, passed away peacefully on February 18 at the age of 88, just two weeks after the passing of her beloved husband of 67 years, Fort Hill Wilkerson, Jr. She is lovingly remembered by her children Bryan and Karen Wilkerson of Bedford, MA; Keith and Cindy Wilkerson of North Topsail Beach, NC; and Nanette and Duke Davis of Lynchburg, VA; and by 9 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Barbara was born on September 28, 1934 to George and Eleanor Osmun of Brooklyn, NY. She had fond memories of her growing up years in Brooklyn, in the company of her siblings Marilyn, Nancy, and George, who remained important to her throughout her life. Barbara discovered a personal faith in Christ as a teenager, and went on to attend The Missionary Training Institute of Nyack, NY, where she met her husband, Fort, and made many lifelong friends and connections. She earned an M.A. in Elementary Education from SUNY New Paltz, and an Ed.D. from Rutgers University. After several years as a classroom teacher in the public schools, she served for a time in executive leadership with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, and then became a professor of Christian Education at Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary. Along the way she wrote many journal articles, authored two books on children’s ministry, and edited a textbook on multicultural Christian Education.
In addition to her full career, she faithfully served her local churches, most notably Grace Baptist Church of Nanuet, NY, Simpson Memorial Church (now Christ the King) of Nyack, NY, and the Korean Christian and Missionary Alliance Church of Pearl River, NY. She was a lover of backyard birds and gardens, Russian novels, strong coffee, the Sunday Times, and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
When they retired to Willow Valley Communities in 2008, Barbara conducted Bible studies on the campus, and continued serving children at Grace Church at Willow Valley. In her later years she remained affectionately devoted to her sweetheart, Fort, and thoroughly fascinated by the lives and accomplishments of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Barbara will be remembered as a vibrant woman who devoted her life to nurturing faith, hope, and love in the hearts of all who knew her, especially the children.
A private family burial will be held at Musconetcong Valley Cemetery in Hampton, NJ on February 24, with a Celebration of Life service to be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the World Vision Barbara Wilkerson Memorial Fund