Harold Wilkinson, 74, passed away Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Memorial services were held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 12, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, with Rev. Harlan Gillespie officiating. Visitation was held Sunday, Dec. 11, at the Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home. Private family inurnment took place at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery.
He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Peg; his sons Mike of Cedar Rapids, and Blake (Angie) of Marion, his daughter, Codi of Denver, Colo., his Mother, Alois, of Mound City, Mo., his sister Jan (Doug) of Litchfield Park, Ariz., his brother, Dean (Jana) of Sanford, N.C., many nieces and nephews, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Harold was born on a farm near Mound City, Mo., in 1937. He grew up on various farms in the community and graduated from Mound City High in 1955. After high school, he attended the University of Missouri for one year and then transferred to Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo. Harold lettered three years in football.
In 1960, he married Peggy Riley and they moved to Belle Plaine for their first teaching position. While there, Harold taught junior high science, junior high industrial arts and boys’ and girls’ physical education. He was athletic director and assisted conference champion football and basketball teams. In 1962, Harold started the girl’s track and field program in Belle Plaine. Belle Plaine quickly rose to fame with a group of talented athletes. In 1964, the team, nicknamed the “Blue Streaks” by local editor Moe Burrows, won the state championship in West Des Moines wearing their blue gym suits.
He received his M.A. degree from Northern Colorado University in 1963. In 1965 and 1966, his teams won the state indoor and outdoor meets. During this time, there was only one class for girls track. Ironically, Belle Plaine did not have a track. They practiced on a 220-yard oval on a playground. They even held meets there!
In 1971, the Wilkinsons moved to Cedar Rapids. Harold worked at Kennedy High School and was a physical education teacher, and coached several girls’ athletic teams in cross country, track and basketball. He later became the Cougar girls’ basketball coach. During his tenure at Kennedy, he continued to have outstanding individuals and teams.
His 1977 girls’ basketball team finished second in the state tournament. In 1985, he was named the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s Track and Field Coach of the Year. He has been inducted to the Kennedy High School Coaches Hall of Fame, the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the Belle Plaine Civil Hall of Fame.
Harold and Peg moved to rural Solon, were Harold continued to coach and has enjoyed watching the various athletic programs and activities of the community. They have recently moved back to Cedar Rapids.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the American Lung Association, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church or the American Diabetes Association.
Please leave a message, tribute or memory to Harold’s family on our webpage, www.cedarmemorial.com under Obituaries.