Farming Rural 18

Robert Lester Wilkes


Mr. Robert Lester Wilkes, age 91 of Athens, passed away on March 18, 2021 after a short illness. Mr. Wilkes was the youngest of three sons born to John and Beulah Thompson Wilkes in Lyons, GA. He grew up in Lyons on the family farm and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1953. After graduation, he went home to work with his father and brother. He soon decided that the farm was not his calling and started working with the Soil Conservation Service. Over his career, he mapped the soils of almost one million acres in 100 Georgia counties. His two favorite sites to map were the Chickamauga Battlefield and the two weeks he spent mapping Cumberland Island. His work was published and used as references for many follow up studies. Mr. Wilkes  is preceded in death by his wife, France Reid Wilkes; daughter, Judy Wilkes Mahoney; his parents; his brothers, John C Wilkes and Theron Wilkes. Bob was blessed in his faith, family, and friends. He will be missed.

In 1953, Bob married Frances Reid of Vidalia, GA. They moved several times through his career. They settled in Hinesville, GA for a time where they raised their two daughters. The time in Hinesville was filled with lots of memories and life long friendships. In 1980, they moved to Athens, GA to the state office of the Soil Conservation Service. It was there they stayed after retirement. Every football season was a wonderful time for the family to get together at the Wilkes Hotel for a game and family time. Bob’s love of the Bulldogs began when he made the trip by bus from Lyons to Athens at 12 to visit his brother JC and take in a game starring his all-time favorite player, Charley Trippi. Bob and Frances enjoyed their years in Athens. They had a large circle of friends through their church, the Soil Conservation Service, and their neighbors.

Mr. Wilkes is survived by his daughter, Kim Wilkes Reuning (Pete) of Sandy Springs; son-in-law, John Mahoney of Lyons; grandsons, John Reuning and Tom Reuning (Amanda) of Atlanta, William Olmstead (Katie) of Athens, Robert Olmestead of Wilmington, NC, and John Mahoney of Savannah; great grandchildren, Will Olmstead, and Smith Olmstead of Athens.

Graveside service and interment will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 11:00am at Lyons City Cemetery. COVID protocols will be followed by social distancing and wearing of masks.

The family wishes to thank everyone at Mansions of Sandy Springs for their care and support. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. James United Methodist Church, 111 West Lake Drive, Athens, GA 30606.

Condolences may be sent online at our website: 

Roberts – Stewart Funeral Home, Vidalia Chapel, is serving the Wilkes family.


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Graveside Service
September 25, 2021

11:00 AM
Lyons City Cemetery

Lyons, Ga 30436

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