John C Wilken

John Casper Wilken, age 84, of Leonard passed away on May 2, 2020 at his home.

John, affectionately known in his younger days as “J.C.” and later as “Jay,” was born November 30, 1935 in Sedalia, MO to John Henry and Gertrude (Holtz) Wilken. He was married to Sharon Williams from 1956 until their divorce in 1999. They adopted one child, Amanda Banks. She survives. He was united in marriage to Barbara Ann Gladwill in December of 2001. She preceded him in death in June 2017. 

He was also preceded in death by his parents and brother, Robert Wayne Wilken.

He is survived by his sister-in-law, Judith Wilken and cousins.

Jay attended Broadway School in Sedalia through first grade and then moved to High Point School (a two-room school house) also in Sedalia. He graduated from Smith-Cotton High School. He went on to attend Kansas State College for one year before joining the U.S. Navy in March of 1955. He retired after 20 years of service in 1974 with a rank of Chief Petty Officer E7.

During his career in the U.S. Navy, he was assigned to a fighter squadron (VF92) in California; a training squadron (VT30) in Texas; air early warning squad in the Pacific Ocean on Pacific Barrier – his job here was to prevent enemy aircraft from coming across the Pacific Ocean and attacking the U.S. From 1966 to 1970, he was an aviation electronics instructor in Tennessee. He was stationed in the Philippines for three years before coming back to St. Louis, MO where he had recruiting duty until retirement.

Jay worked for a rural telephone company for two years and then Mid-MO Telephone Company, which became Sprint, for 25 years. He retired from Sprint in 2002 and moved to Waynesville, MO. He lived in Lake Ozark from 2003-2017. He moved to Leonard in 2017 after his wife passed away.

Jay enjoyed hunting, fishing, watching the St. Louis Cardinals, working outside in his yard and in his orchard. He was an excellent skeet shooter. He won many skeet shoot competitions and tied for a world record while he was in the Navy. Jay was a member of the Sunrise Beach Baptist Church and attended Leonard Christian Church while he lived in Leonard.

A graveside military service was held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at the Columbia Cemetery in Columbia, MO. 

Memorials may be made to: Leonard Community Building.