Curtis Lee Wilkerson was born April 9th 1939 in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Curtis was the youngest child of Willie and Goldie Wilkerson. Curtis had two siblings that preceded him in death Christine and Willie Wilkerson. Curtis’ father died when he was very young leaving his mother to raise him and his siblings alone. As a child, Curtis lived in very meager conditions; he often did not have enough food or clothing for survival. Curtis devoted himself to his studies and was often recognized as one of the brightest students in the county. Curtis loved sports and played football and basketball. Curtis was a gifted athlete and for a short period of time played semi-professional football.
Even though Curtis was an athlete, he consistently applied himself academically and earned a full scholarship to North Carolina A&T University. At A&T, Curtis studied art and photography. Curtis produced many commercial quality drawings, paintings and photographs. Curtis graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fine Art in 1963. After graduation, Curtis moved to New York City to live with his sister. Once in New York, Curtis began working at the New York City Child Welfare Administration helping children and families.
At the Child Welfare Administration, Curtis’ charisma and outspoken nature earned him a role as the union shop steward. In this role, Curtis would often meet and greet new and old employees to advocate for change. While meeting and greeting new employees, Curtis met the love of his life, Delois White. Curtis saw only a glimpse of Delois and it was love at first sight. Curtis used his role and charm to get a date. The two quickly fell madly in love and after only six months of dating, they married in 1966. Curtis and his wife built a life together living in Brooklyn, New York where they purchased a home and began a family. They had two children Dedrick Curtis and Amy Christina.
Curtis worked extremely hard to provide for his family so that they would not have to endure the struggles of poverty. He eventually continued his education and obtained a Master of Social Work Degree from the prestigious New York University in 1973. Curtis used the additional education and skill to help people in a new way. Curtis’ career choice was not just work; it was a reflection of his faith. Curtis was a devout Christian throughout his life. He was a member of Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Brooklyn where he was baptized, generously tithed and sang in the church choir.
Curtis was a certified social worker and a certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor. Curtis worked for the City of New York in Homeless Services and as an Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor at a hospital. Curtis worked those two full time jobs for more than 20 years. Curtis’ hard work allowed his family to live comfortably. Curtis eventually retired and then spent all of his time in the company of his wife traveling and enjoying each other.
After almost 43 years of marriage, Delois’ passed away which left Curtis’ life upside down. During this time, Curtis found a new reason to live; his two intelligent and beautiful granddaughters Anise DeAnn and Hailey Christina. The two were the apple of his eye and the light of his life. He watched them grow and develop into future college scholars which gave him new meaning and joy.
Curtis departed the Earth on January 20, 2022 after many years of illness. Curtis leaves behind a host of people to mourn his loss: son Dedrick, daughter Amy, two grandchildren Anise and Hailey, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and even the family dog and cat. Rest in Peace until we meet again.