Last month Portland lost another citizen who had been a positive influence in the Portland community with the death of James Leroy Wilkinson (Scrub).

He was the second generation to be an owner of Wilkinson and Wiseman Funeral Home which his father Walter Wilkinson opened in 1906, as Wilkinson Funeral Home. At the time of his retirement, he was owner and director of the funeral home.

Wilkinson lived all his life in the house where he was born. He and his wife Dot lived there during their 70 years of marriage.

Wilkinson picked up the nickname Scrub when he was in high school.

According Dot, “He was one of the smallest players on the team, and the team started calling him Scrub. The nickname stuck with him all his life.”

Wilkinson attended school in Portland and was a graduate of Sumner County High School. He was a veteran who served during the Korean War conflict. After attending Western Kentucky University for two years, he enrolled in Gupton Jones Mortuary College.

He was respected as a businessman and served for many years as chairman of the board of The Farmers Bank. He was also a member of the Portland Lions Club.

Wilkinson was an active sports fan and was always interested in youth programs. He helped Elvis Brown start the Little League Baseball program in Portland where he served as president of the league for many years. As a lifetime member of McKendree Memorial United Methodist Church, he was always supportive of the youth programs.

He and his wife often took young people who might be working in Portland during the summer into their home. One came as far away as Kenya. Together they made a positive impact on the lives of many young people as they shared their home and guidance.

Wilkinson was also a loving husband and father. He and his family often traveled to the western states on family vacations. He and Dot also traveled abroad visiting New Zealand, Australia, and many countries in Europe. In addition, he shared his wife’s interest in horses, and they often went horseback riding together. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing.

He is survived by his wife Dot Wilkinson, two sons Walter (Andrea) Wilkinson and John (Dr. Teresa Williams) Wilkinson, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. The full obituary is available online at

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