James A. Wilkins, 74, of Youngstown, passed away suddenly into paradise with Jesus, Monday night.
Jim was born May 22, 1945, a son of the late Donald F. and Mary L. Anderson Wilkins. He was raised in Youngstown and was a 1963 graduate of South High School.
As a young boy, Jim worked for his dad at Wilkins Leonard Hardware store in downtown Youngstown. As he got older, his main job was driving the Store's delivery truck with Richard Keleman. Jim retired in 1974 when the store closed. Jim was also active on the Board of Directors for the Wilkins Leonard Hardware Company Foundation until his recent illness.
He was married to Diane Hovanes and they had one child, Jack Wilkins. His wife preceded him in death in 2006.
Jim was an expert mechanic and he was known for his ability to not only fix cars and motorcycles but just about anything. His main love in life was motorcycles, dogs and fishing. One of his dog's, Baron, actually saved his life when he was alone camping in Cook Forest. His blood sugar dropped suddenly at night and unable to help himself, Baron dragged him by his belt to where he could reach a Coca Cola.
Jim suffered from Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus since he was a teenager. At the age of 60, he made a teaching video, "Living with Type 1 Diabetes into Old Age." Kay Leonhard at St. Elizabeth Hospital used the video to teach families Diabetes Education. It has also been used to teach Internal Medicine residents at St. Elizabeth Hospital, as well as Marlene Blackford, RN of Autumn Enterprises, using it as a teaching tool for educating nurses around the state of Ohio. The video has even been shown as far away as Scotland.
Jim was one of the first patients to use finger stick glucose monitoring at home in 1981 and he donated his first primitive equipment to the Diabetes Museum at St. Elizabeth Hospital.
In later years, Jim was the building manager for his brother, Dr. Charles Wilkins and Dorothy Barto, at the Alzheimer Network office on Market Street, until he retired 3 years ago. It was evident at the office that Jim had a keen interest and a photographic memory for events, people and places in Youngstown during the 50's, 60's and 70's, amazing everyone by his detail and accuracy.
Once you became Jim's friend, he would never forget you. Jim's trademark was his blue jeans, white tee shirt with a pocket holding his cigarettes and his truck.
He was a great dad and brother, going out of his way to fix broken cars and appliances, and even driving a surprise delivery of furniture one night 300 miles away to his brother in Cincinnati. Jim always had a great sense of humor.
Jim leaves behind his son, Jack Wilkins of Boardman; two brothers, Dr. Charles E. Wilkins (Kathleen aka Sr. Grace) of Youngstown and Richard D. Wilkins (Valerie) of Niles; one nephew, Richard D. Wilkins (Marcy); and two great nieces, Elizabeth and Julia of Niles. He now joins his older brother in paradise, Donald C. Wilkins who passed away in 2016.
Many thanks to Renee and Al Peplow for their many years of loyal friendship and cards. And special thanks to Beverly Pack who joined him daily for breakfast at What's Cook'n. In his final days, Jim owes gratitude to his caregivers, Norene Frank, Mary Zibrik, Mike Riley, Donny Woods, and especially his dog, Duke (Princess) who were there for him daily.
The family requests donations in his name to the Alzheimer's Network, 4214 Market Street, Youngstown, Ohio 44512.
A private graveside services will be held at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Youngstown.
Arrangements are being handled by the Davis-Becker Funeral Home, Boardman.
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral section.