The Rev. Allan G. Wilkes went home to be with the Lord Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012.
He was born June 10, 1929, in Pittsburgh, Pa., to Albert and Mary Wilkes.
He is survived by his loving and dedicated wife, Esther Ruth Helman, whom he married Oct. 9, 1954; his five children, Lee, Tim (Gloria), Jim (Tammy), Debbie (Andy) Tuttle and Jon (Cindy); nine grandchildren, Timmy (Erica), Joey, Josiah, Sarah, Thaddaeus, Ashley, Chad (Savannah), Tyler and Tori; a great-granddaughter, Brianna; two brothers, David of Rootstown and Duane of Mogadore; and a sister, Helen Redmond of Kent.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Lane.
Al graduated from Garfield High School, Akron, in 1947 and Tennessee Temple College, Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1951, where he was class valedictorian, editor of the Temple Chimes, the school yearbook, for two years and started the basketball team.
Al began attending Thomastown Baptist Church, Akron, to play basketball. Shortly thereafter, a radical change came into his life. Al received Jesus Christ as his own personal Savior March 6, 1948. Six months later, on Sept. 1, 1948, he preached his first sermon at Calvary Baptist Church, Akron. He was ordained in October 1951 at Highland Park Baptist, Chattanooga, Tenn., by Dr. Lee Roberson, thus beginning a 63-year journey of ministry.
He was executive director of Youth for Christ in Akron and Canton for 20 years. He also served as Ohio State Youth Evangelist during this time. He served as minister of finance at Gilead Baptist Church, Taylor, Mich., and director of development at Baptist Park School. He also taught at Cornus Hill Bible College and Akron Bible Institute.
Al pastored four churches over the years in Akron and Stow, Birmingham, Ala., and retired from First Baptist Church, Tiffin, in 2001. However, Al's ministry didn't stop. He was the interim pastor at First Baptist Church, Defiance, and West Mansfield Baptist Church after retiring. Al was an active member of Trinity Baptist Church and had been teaching and serving there as much as was possible. He was loved and greatly appreciated at Trinity. Al's lifelong dedication to serving Jesus has been life-changing for the many people he influenced over his years of service.
A celebration service, "The Final Party," will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, at Trinity Baptist Church, 7839 CR 236, Findlay, OH 45840, with visitation from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. prior to the service. Pastor Mike Spann will be officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Dolly King Centers for Life International Fund, P.O. Box 42488, Middletown, OH 45042.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Coldren-Crates Funeral Home, 205 W. Sandusky St., Findlay, OH 45840, (419) 422-2323.
Online condolences may be made via www.coldrencrates.com.