Mrs. Merle Pye Wilkes, 97, passed away peacefully on May 4, 2022, at Pruitt Health and Hospice in Swainsboro. She was the oldest daughter of eleven children of Claude and Ethel Hollimon Pye. She was a native of Toombs County, where she resided most of her life. She was preceded in death by her husband of fifty-three years, J.C. Wilkes; her son, Larry Wilkes, and her oldest grandson, Chad Wilkes; her parents; her brothers, Claude, Willard, Talmadge, Curtis, Jake and Jim Pye; and her sisters, Mary Hudson and Ruth Sharpe. She and her husband J.C. raised five children.
She is survived by one son, Greg Wilkes and wife Cherie of Cartersville, Georgia; daughter-in-law, Sandra Meek Wilkes of Peachtree City, Georgia; daughters, Cynthia Smith and husband Tim of Jacksonville, Florida, Deidre Forsyth and husband Duncan of Kiawah, South Carolina, and Lydia Barfoot and husband Alan of Dublin; nine grandchildren, John Wilkes and wife Heather, Jeremy Wilkes, Ty Wilkes and wife Elizabeth, Adam Barfoot and wife Elizabeth, Allyson Vincent and husband Michael, Alex Barfoot and wife Hannah, Colin Forsyth and wife Katie, Lindsey Smith and husband Brent Westrop, and Taylor Smith and wife Margaret Klein; sixteen great-grandchildren; her sister, Laura Kate Jones of Lyons; and her brother, Jack Pye of Lincolnton, Georgia.
After high school, she had the opportunity to attend the University of Georgia before beginning her long career as an educator with the Toombs County Board of Education. She later completed her Masters and sixth year certification at Georgia Southern University. Mrs. Wilkes worked for fifty years as a teacher and guidance counselor, and retired in 2000 at age 75. Her fondest memories were of school…chaperoning senior trips, being honored by Star Students, helping students get scholarships, her dear fellow teachers, and, of course, the Bulldogs.
The family wishes to extend special appreciation to Mrs. Wilkes’ beloved companions and caregivers, and to Pruitt Health and Hospice of Swainsboro, Georgia.
A private graveside memorial service will be held at a later date.
Memorials honoring Mrs. Merle Wilkes may be made to Lyons First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 71, Lyons, GA 30436.
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