Debby May Wilkerson


Debby May Wilkerson, 92, of Galesburg, died at 10:53 a.m. on Monday, March 6, 2023 at Seminary Manor in Galesburg.

She was born July 31, 1930 in Muscatine, Iowa, the daughter of John F. and Edna M. (Rockwell) Coffin. Debby was reared and educated, along with her sister Janet, in Conesville, Iowa, graduating with the class of 1948. She then went on to obtain her bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Luke’s Nursing College. Debby worked as a Registered Nurse for around twenty-five years. She was one of the first nurses to work at Iowa City VA Medical Center. Debby also worked at Des Moines, Iowa VA Medical Center and Lutheran Hospital in the E.R. for many years. She married Harold T. Wilkerson on December 21, 1952 in Iowa City. Debby and Harold lived in Amarillo, Texas while Harold was stationed there for the United States Air Force. They later moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where Harold worked at The Des Moines Register and Tribune. In 1980 they moved to Coal Valley, Illinois, where Harold would work for The Moline Dispatch. Harold preceded her in death in 1989.  Debby moved to Galesburg in 2012.

Left to cherish her memory is her son, Dave (Ann McCloskey) Wilkerson of Pequea, Pennsylvania; her sister, Janet (Ron) Simpson of Galesburg; two nieces, Jill (Stan) Froelich and Kim (Mike) Gordon; one nephew, Phil (Mary) Peters; two grand-nieces, Lindsey (Adam) Ackerman and Holly (Chancey) Weidenhamer; three grand-nephews, Matt (Ashley) Gordon, Drew (Kirstin) Peters, and Jarrett (Rachael) Peters; and nine great-great nieces and nephews: Colton, Wyatt, Audrey, Owen, Ava, Maddox, Chandler, Brynn and Rae. Along with her parents and husband, she was also preceded in death by a brother-in-law, Lewis Peters.

Debby loved going for a walk every morning and spending time with her family. She enjoyed reading in her free time, following politics, and keeping up with the news. While attending nursing school, Debby made many lifelong friends that she enjoyed keeping in touch with.

Cremation has been accorded. Graveside services will be held at a later date. Arrangements have been entrusted to Watson Thomas Funeral Home and Crematory in Galesburg. Memorial contributions may be made to Abingdon United Methodist Church, 401 N. Washington St., Abingdon, IL 61410. Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at

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