Richetta Wilkerson, a retired employee of Consolidated Drake Press, died on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She was 88.
She was born on April 28, 1931 in Nash County, Whitakers, North Carolina. She was the youngest of 11 children born to the late Fred Battle and Etta Thorne Battle. Wilkerson received Christian guidance at Shiloh Baptist Church in Whitakers, North Carolina where her father was a deacon and her mother served as the mother of the church.
Later in life, she joined Beulah Tabernacle in Philadelphia under the leadership of Bishop Keith M. Thomas where she served as an active member. In December 2012, she moved her membership to First African Baptist Church in Sharon Hill, under the leadership of the Rev. Richard A. Dent.
She was educated in the public schools of Edgecomb County and graduated from Phillips High School in 1949.
After graduation, she began employment as a surgical technician and was in charge of sterilizing and packaging surgical equipment and instruments for major surgical procedures. She later relocated to Richmond, Virginia where married the late Herbert V. Wilkerson on Dec. 23, 1952. They relocated to Philadelphia and four children were born to their union.
Wilkerson was employed at Campbell Soup Company in Camden, New Jersey from 1953 to 1958. From 1959 until 1967 she dedicated her time to raising her growing family. In 1967, Wilkerson returned to work and was employed at Crown Sample Company as a printer until 1974. Upon their closing, she worked for Consolidated Drake Press and retired in 1994 after 20 years of service.
Wilkerson thrived on maintaining strong family bonds, unions and friendships and loved to call her children each day. Even while hospitalized, she continued this tradition.
Wilkerson enjoyed listening to spiritual music and inspirational sermons on the radio and amazed hospital staff by reciting the 23rd Psalm from start to finish while battling her illness.
She also enjoyed sewing, attending gospel concerts and plays and vacationing with her family at the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey. Christmas and Thanksgiving were her favorite holidays as they provided more opportunities for her to fellowship with those she loved.
Wilkerson was viewed as being “quite fashionable” with her many coordinated suits, hats and accessories.
In addition to her parents and spouse, she was preceded in death by her son, Vernard Vincent and siblings.
She is survived by: her daughters; Greta, Iris and Wanda; grandchildren, Lauren, Dwayne II, Lisa, Darren, Darrius, Nia and Nicole; great-grandchildren, Dariyus, Logan, Dakota and Christopher II; sons-in-law, Dwayne and Carl; granddaughter-in law, Latoya; friend, George Oakley and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Aug. 15 at First African Baptist Church, 901 Clifton Ave., Sharon Hill. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 10 a.m. Burial is private.