Ray Von Wilkes Jr., 84, died Thursday, December 10, 2020. Funeral Service: 1 p.m. Thursday, December 17, at Wade Family Funeral Home, 4140 W. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington. Visitation: 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, December 16, at the funeral home. Ray was born to the late Violet Mae Wilkes neé Holder, and Ray Von Wilkes Sr. in Gainesville, Florida September 1, 1936. He graduated from San Jose State University in 1972 with a BS in Recreation Management, while serving in the United States Air Force. Ray was the director of recreation for the different air bases on which he served during his 20 years of service with the USAF. After 20 years, Ray retired and rejoined the USAF in San Antonio with the civil service, filling his former position of director of recreation for another 15 years. Ray was industrious from a very early age, his first self-employed job was at age 6 selling peanuts at local sporting events. Ray loved to get into trouble with his 6 siblings around Gainesville, and loved to impart his stories of mischief upon the many people he came in contact with throughout his life. Ray went on to have a long, fulfilling career prior to his service in the Air Force, at one time being the highest paid soda jerk in the State of Florida, an honor of which he was most proud. After his retirement from the civil service, Ray started his own business conducting chlorine free pool service and repair, staying busy working for most of his life. Ray was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving as a Sunday school teacher, Boy Scout leader, missionary and home teacher. He loved to minister to the members through his home teaching and enjoyed the fellowship and community of the church. He was very fond of his membership in the Arlington Gem and Mineral Club, enjoying the camaraderie of his fellow rock-hounds, and having a space to teach people the skills he had developed during his time in the USAF. Ray was known for his love of the outdoors and outdoor activities. Enjoying activities like camping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, metal detecting and gold prospecting, he often enjoyed these things with his family. An active member of the GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of America) Ray enjoyed taking his family with him on the excursions in search of his golden treasure. Ray was known for taking any opportunity to metal detect, often seen on base wearing cutoff jeans with his boots, searching for whatever treasures sounded through on his headphones. He was a loving father to his 4 children, spanning 4 different generations, and a devoted husband to his wife, Leslye. He was known to always be willing to lend a helping hand, exemplified through the various acts of service, both large and small, undertaken throughout his life. He was a great friend and mentor to those in his life, known for his jovial attitude and humorous stories of life from a simpler time. Quick-witted, Ray was a life-long joker still known to impart a life's worth of wisdom in one anecdote. Ray will be dearly missed by those closest to him, his wisdom and legacy will continue through the love he shared with his family and friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Ray V. Wilkes Sr.; mother, Violet Mae Holder; and brothers, John Henry Wilkes and Cass Wilkes. Survivors: Wife, Leslye Wilkes; sons, Michael Wilkes and wife, Denise, and Brandon Wilkes and wife, Julia; daughters, Vonnell Baggett and husband, Danny, and Ashley Perkins and husband, Eric; brothers, Marvin Wilkes, Kyle Wilkes and Jimmy Wilkes; sister, Barbara Valley and husband, Mike; 7 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; and numerous other family members and friends. Wade Family Funeral Home (817) 274-9233

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  1. When I first came to the Arlington Gem and Mineral Club in 2011, the first thing I did was take the Beginning Cabbing class. Ray was the instructor for the class, and I was the only student that day. That was a good thing because I didn’t know anything about such things and needed all the attention I could get.
    Ray picked out a small piece of light amber-colored agate from the scrap rock bucket in the lab and commenced to teach me all about the qualities of that rock and how to work with it. Long story short, three hours later I had managed to create a cabochon “gem” that had, miraculously to me, developed the distinct impression of a desert bush growing inside it! That stone, to this day, sits on my favorite bookshelf. It perfectly contrasts the deep wood tones of the cabinet and gives me a peaceful, mellow feeling every time I look at it.

    Thanks, Ray! That and several other experiences we shared at the clubhouse over the years have enriched my life considerably. I’m going to miss you.
    John Crabb

  2. I met Ray when his wife when I moved to Texas and bought a house in the Arlington 3rd Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was called to serve as the High Priest Group Leader and asked for Ray and Mike Robertson to serve with me as my assistants. We had a very enjoyable association as we met to discuss and coordinate responses to the needs of the members under our stewardship. Ray gave valued counsel as we discussed the needs of the families and was always willing to accept and fulfill assignments to serve them. I will always remember, with joy, my association with Ray from our time together. Also, I cannot think of Ray without simultaneously thinking of Leslye, his eternal companion. They were an item here on earth and will be eternally together hereafter. Good-by for now, my friend! Jim Adams

    P.S. Hi, this is Mary Ann. Love this sweet couple and their amazing sense of humor. They taught me to count blessings and make the best of adversity. One memory is taking dinner and helping haul wet stuff out of their flooded home., sorting and drying pictures, washing etc. In return weeks later, Ray comes over with a several pounds of his beautiful shelled pecans! I told him we would love to help them anytime, as the pay was phenomenal! I always associate fresh pecans with him.
    Love you guys. Prayers for you and your family for all to go well today as you say goodbye for a while. So grateful for eternal temple marriage!
    Pss. Leslye, we have family in town visiting so are watching the live stream of the funeral at home to be safe. Love to your kids including Theron. Love, Mary Ann

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