Dr. Harold Franklin Wilkins

Dr. Harold Franklin Wilkins

Dr. Harold Franklin Wilkins, 87, died from COVID-19 in Baldwin, Wis., on Jan. 7, 2021. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, John Harley Wilkins, mother Pauline Ruth (Fox) Wilkins; and a brother, John Harley Wilkins II.

Survivors include his devoted partner, Bryan Gjevre; extended family and many colleagues and friends. 

Born in Cobden, on Nov. 3, 1933, he loved books, bookstores/libraries, newspapers, poetry, letters and flowers. He enjoyed good coffee, new restaurants, classical music and a good story. 

Dr. Wilkins received his horticulture doctorate from the University of Illinois.

He spent his career teaching and mentoring at Cornell University, the University of Florida, the University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, and he consulted all over the world. 

A beloved teacher, he was devoted to helping all of his students reach their goals. He proudly “fathered” 11 Ph.D. students. 

As the author of more than 200 publications, the recipient of numerous awards, the guest speaker at many seminars and conferences, his impact on the floriculture industry is unquestionable. 

He influenced horticulture globally. He traveled to Israel, the Netherlands, Russia, Japan, South Africa and Chile, among other countries, to collect information for his research. 

As a retirement project in 2005, he and Bryan purchased a nine-acre property near Baldwin, Wis., and named it Goldfinch Flower Farm. 

They grew and sold beautiful and unique flowers to local florists and the Mill City Farmers Market. 

In addition to research, Dr. Wilkins taught floral design and his bouquets were always exquisite. He consistently shared his positive energy and concern; he was described by many as unwaveringly sweet and kind. 

Shortly before passing, Harold told Bryan he was going “upstairs to recuperate.” 

Many thanks to all healthcare workers during this pandemic – your dedication is unparalleled. 

A graveside memorial service to honor the life of Dr. Harold Wilkins will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, April 4, at the Anna Cemetery. Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Anna is in charge of arrangements.

In his memory, support your local florists and garden centers.

To visit his memorial page and to leave online condolences for the family, visit the Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home website at rendlemanhilemanfh.com.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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