Chief Wilkerson Spent Her Life Helping Others

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
“The desire to serve others is indeed a quality we all admire, however only when we enjoy serving others does our service take on a radiant goodness which gives a contagious glow.” – Tennessee Ernie Ford.

These words would best describe Retired Chattanooga School Patrol Chief Jeannette Wilkerson, who passed away Monday night.  Chief Wilkerson served the city with honor for 25 years. She retired in 1987.

It was a cold December day in 1965 when I first met Mrs. Wilkerson. She along with a host of volunteers came to WDOD for a fundraiser for the Forgotten Child Fund. Mrs. Wilkerson was employed as a “school patrol mother”. I’m told she worked intersections all over Brainerd.  Mrs. Wilkerson made her way up through the ranks and was promoted to school patrol chief. She was among the first ladies to become a chief in the Chattanooga Police Department. Mrs. Wilkerson’s passion was the Forgotten Child Fund. She and the late Chief Peggie Bullard organized fundraising and coordinated the Santa Train every Christmas eve.  They were a team.

When the tornado hit Hamilton Run in the 90’s, Jeannette along with her husband Paul distributed food and water to the residents working around the clock.  She was active at the East Ridge Church of Christ. Before her illness, Mrs. Wilkerson was working on the Central High School class of 1947 reunion committee. Mrs. Wilkerson was very proud of her family members involved in public service. Her son Kenny is Hamilton County Ambulance chief and her grandson Kyle Moses is a Chattanooga police officer. Mrs. Wilkerson’s life was dedicated to “God, family and her community”. Mrs. Wilkerson led by example. I’m very proud to call her my friend.

The Chattanooga community will miss Chief Jeannette Wilkerson. She graduated from this life and received the greatest promotion of all Monday night, June 9th, about 10:30.  May God Bless her memory.

Earl Freudenberg

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