John J. Wilkinson was born in Clovis, N.M. May 2, 1919.
He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and retired as a Lieutenant Commander from the U.S. Naval Reserve.
He received his law degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1949 and began practice in 1950 in New Mexico.
In 1955 he was elected Democratic State Chairman for that state, served as legal counsel for New Mexico's Bureau of Revenue, and was appointed commissioner of the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department. From 1953 to 1971 he was a member of the New Mexico State Board of Bar Commissioners and served from 1968-69 as president of the state bar. In 1970, he was president of the Western States Bar Conference.John Joe's family moved to Steamboat Springs in 1973, where he served as general counsel or LTV Ski Corporation.
In 1978 he was appointed as the 14th District Judge for the State of Colorado and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1983.
John Joe served as a Rotarian for over 40 years and was active in many civic and government organizations throughout his life.
He is survived by his wife Charleen M. Wilkinson of Mesa, Ariz.; six children, Marian E. Wilkinson of Greeneville, Tenn., Klad W. Zimmerle of La Luz, N.M., Joe W. Wilkinson of North Richland Hills, Texas, Kristin E. Benjamin of Parker, Kary C. Zimmerle of Grand Junction and Michael G. Wilkinson of Durango; eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
John Joe's ashes were interred at Red Mountain United Methodist Church, Columbarium in Mesa, Ariz. Sept. 5, 2001.
A celebration of his life is being planned for a later date.