Frederick W. Wilkes, age 92, of Ripon, WI, passed away on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at Prairie Place in Ripon, WI.
Fred was born on March 5, 1926, in the town of Metomen, WI to Alvin and Minnie (Keso) Wilkes. He helped on the farm until he entered the Navy at age 18 during WWII. Upon returning he worked at the Mobil station in Ripon. He married the love of his life Jeanette Bushweiler, daughter of Willard and Lena Bushweiler on October 4, 1947. They had two children; a daughter, Jean, and a son, Thomas.
Fred started in the milk business with a route for the Brooklyn Creamery covering Brandon, Fairwater, and Markesan. When paper milk cartons arrived on the scene he delivered for Sealtest, then later bought out the Prellwitz Dairy in Ripon. As Wilkes Dairy he distributed Bordens Milk products. After 7 years he sold the business to Marvin Stark of Ripon.
Fred then started building homes. He built six homes including a two family apartment. He noticed a need for excavating so he took a chance and invested $180 in a back blade for a small Ford tractor which he rented. The business took off so he bought a bulldozer, several dump trucks and an excavator. He did extensive work for the local cities and villages for their sanitary and storm sewer projects. One year he dug over 52 basements in the Ripon area alone. Fred Wilkes Excavating developed Commercial Court on Aspen Street in Ripon.
In 1961 Fred started Ripon Mobile Home Sales selling travel trailers and mobile homes. In 1963 he developed 44 Parkway Terrace Mobile Home Park. Fred went on to selling modular homes. He bought acreage and designed and developed 23 Sunrise Terrace and Wilkes Court residential subdivision off Hwy 23 in Ripon. After 37 years he sold his excavating business to Jeff Novak. His final accomplishment was to sell the acreage where the Ripon Fire Station is today. He was a lifelong member of Our Saviour's United Church of Christ in Ripon and was a member of the Odd Fellows organization.
Fred leaves behind his loving wife Jeanette of 70 years; daughter, Jean and her husband John of Crossville, TN; and a son, Thomas and his wife Sherry of Henderson, NV. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alvin and Minnie Wilkes; and his step-mother, Meta Wilkes. He enjoyed life, leaves a great legacy, and will be dearly missed by all.
A visitation for Fred will be held from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm on Thursday, May 24, 2018, at Butzin-Marchant Funeral Home, 515 Mayparty Dr., Ripon, WI, 54971.
A funeral service for Fred will be held at 3:00 pm on Thursday, May 24, 2018, at Butzin-Marchant Funeral Home with Rev. Dr. Kevin P. Mundell officiating. Interment will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Ripon. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Agnesian Hospice Hope, 745 South St., Suite #4, Green Lake, WI, 54941.
Please visit www.butzinmarchant.com to send online condolences.