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Decorated Marine, member of Class of 1941, pens memoir

On the cover of Wilkerson’s memoir, the photo at lower left shows Wilkerson as a drum major at Erskine College. He is also pictured, upper right, with Jeanne Coffin Wilkerson, to whom he was married for 69 years.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. H. Lloyd Wilkerson, 100, a member of the Erskine College Class of 1941, has written a memoir, I Was a Spectator in the Greatest Generation, which has recently been released by Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc.

A native of Troy, Tennessee, Wilkerson enlisted in the Marine Corps on December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. During his years at Erskine, he double majored in English and Mathematics and served as editor of the Mirror.

The young Wilkerson completed the remaining credits required for college graduation in Pocatello, Idaho, following his hospitalization for malaria contracted during his military service at Guadalcanal. It was in Idaho that he met Jeanne Coffin, to whom he was married for 69 years until her death in 2014. The Wilkersons became the parents of three sons and later welcomed several grandchildren.

One of Wilkerson’s experiences as a member of “the greatest generation” came in 1945, when he served in the Marine unit which escorted President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s remains on the historic train journey to Hyde Park, New York, for burial.

He served his alma mater on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, as co-chairman of the Living Endowment Campaign, as a member of the Board of Trustees, and as chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Erskine College was honored to present Wilkerson with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 1985; the Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1988; and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1996.

Now married to Lillian Jones Gibson, Wilkerson will mark his 101st birthday this year.

Learn more about the book here.

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