Memorial service Saturday at Southland Christian for former KY first lady Martha Wilkinson

May 27, 2014 | | Comments 0





Martha WilkinsonBy Jack Brammer

A memorial service for former Kentucky first lady Martha Wilkinson, who died May 7 in Florida, will be held Saturday, May 31, at Southland Christian Church on Harrodsburg Road.

Visitation at the church’s Building B will be at 10 a.m. The service there will begin at 11 a.m., with Gordon Walls, the church’s executive director of outreach, officiating.

Mrs. Wilkinson, a strong advocate for adult literacy, died of natural causes in Sarasota, Fla., after suffering an infection. She was 72.

Her husband, Gov. Wallace Wilkinson, died in July 2002 in Lexington at age 60 of a massive stroke while suffering from cancer and heart disease.

As governor, Wallace Wilkinson oversaw the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act and ushered in the state lottery. The millionaire entrepreneur later saw his financial empire implode in one of the largest bankruptcies in state history.

A native of Casey County, Martha Carol Stafford Wilkinson was a strong ally of her husband in their early business years and in his term as governor from 1987 to 1991. As first lady, she created “Martha’s Army” to fight adult illiteracy

Wallace and Martha Wilkinson became Florida residents shortly after his bankruptcy.

She was preceded in death by her husband; parents Elmer and Lucille Edwards Stafford of Liberty, Ky.; and brother Gary Elmer Stafford of Lexington.

Mrs. Wilkinson is survived by sons Wallace Glenn Wilkinson, Jr. and Andrew Stafford Wilkinson (Nadine); granddaughter Melina Myra Wilkinson all of Sarasota, Fla.; sister Katherine Stafford Rubarts (Gene); and sister-in-law, Paulette Foster Stafford, all of Lexington.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages remembrances in Mrs. Wilkinson’s name to Kentucky Educational Television, 600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, Ky., 40502, or online at  Please specify “GED Fund.”

Contributions also are suggested to The David School, PO Box 220, David, Ky., 41616.

Filed Under: State Government

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