James D. Wilkins III

March 15, 2021

CHARLOTTE – James Drewry Wilkins, III, 74, died peacefully on Monday, March 15, 2021, at Sharon Towers.  He was born in Greensboro, NC on October 11, 1946, to James Drewry Wilkins, Jr. and Louise McCulloch Wilkins.  Jim was an Eagle Scout and graduated from Grimsley High School in 1965.  He then earned a BA in Economics from Wake Forest University where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and went on to earn an MBA at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1971.

Jim married his junior high school sweetheart, Sara "Sally" Andrews, in 1969.  After graduate school, Jim and Sally moved to northern New Jersey where Jim began an 18-year career in retailing in New York City.  They returned to North Carolina in 1989 where Jim began a 19-year career with the Cato Corporation in Charlotte.

Jim will be greatly missed by family and friends who consistently characterize him as a nice, thoughtful man, willing to speak to anyone.  He is survived by his wife, Sara "Sally" Andrews Wilkins; his two sons, Eric James Wilkins (Annie Bowles) of Charlotte and their four children Ellie, Crandall, Holland, and Charlie; and Brian Charles Wilkins (Lindsay) of Arlington, VA and their two children, Hudson and Caden.  Jim is also survived by his sisters, Martha Wilkins Crawley (Tom) of Martinsville, VA, and Elizabeth Wilkins Cheek (Forrest) of Fern Park, FL; by his brother-in-law, Charles Thomas Andrews (Paula) of Fairport, NY and by numerous nieces and nephews.  In addition to his parents Jim was predeceased by his sister, Nancy Wilkins Arrington of Raleigh.

Jim enjoyed his membership and friends made on the golf course at Myers Park Country Club. He loved the challenge of golf and the camaraderie on the course.  Jim considered a hole in one on #7 at Myers Park as his crowning achievement.

His greatest joy, however, came from being a grandfather.  He loved seeing his grandchildren play sports. Cherishing the many weekends attending their athletic events, he was a fixture of county parks and local church gyms.  He also spent many days solving digital jigsaw puzzles of pictures of family who were constantly on his mind and in his heart.  His grandchildren’s names were some of the last that he could recall, and they brought a smile to his face and produced the words “I love you.”

The family would like to thank the caregivers at Sharon Towers and Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region for their compassion and dedication during this difficult time. 

A private service will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday, March 26, 2021, at Myers Park Presbyterian Church that will be livestreamed on the church’s website at https://myersparkpres.org/funerals.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Sharon Towers Resident’s Assistance Fund, 5100 Sharon Road, Charlotte, NC 28210 or Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region, P.O. Box 470408, Charlotte, NC 28247.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.

Share your memories & condolences


  • John Cato

    Though it has been almost 11 years since Jim retired from the Cato Corporation, those of us that worked with him saw him as a highly valuable and respected member of the Cato Corporation team. He was always focused on the good of the company than on his own benefit. We are all saddened by his passing. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
    John Cato / The Cato Corporation

  • Mary Jane Boren Meeker

    It was difficult to read John Markham’s words. Jimmy and I go back to first grade at Lindley Elementary and I had a crush on him most of those six years. Our families were close because there were four girls in my family and three girls and Jimmy in his. And we were all the same ages and in the same class years. Sally, you and Jimmy were so lucky to have each other, and my heart goes out to you and your family. Love to Martha and Tom Crawley and Betty and Forrest Cheek. It is very hard to lose Jimmy and Steve Showfety in the same year.

  • Taffi Winston Prasse

    Dear Sally,
    I was sad to learn of Jimmy's death. He was a notable classmate at Kiser and Grimsley. My prayers are with you and your family.

  • Steve Turner

    Jim was, first and foremost, a class act. Always. He made me feel welcome from day one when I came to Cato, and although we sat on opposite sides of the table, there was a deep mutual respect based on the fact that we were both striving to seek the best for all of us. I have nothing but good memories of this man, and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to know him. Prayers for his family, and thanks for the consideration he showed to the new kid. Proud to have worked with you, sir, and even more proud to have known you. Godspeed. And God bless.

  • Bob Albright

    Sally, so sorry to hear the news about Jim's passing. May the thoughts and prayers of friends provide you and your family some comfort during this difficult time. My thoughts are with you...
    My best,

  • Amy Murray orser

    Dear Sally, I was so sad to hear about jimmy - he was always one of my favorite classmates, and I remember lots of good times with you both - even going back to kiser days!
    I am sending my prayers and love to you and your family.

  • Clarice Cato Goodyear

    Jim Wilkins was an integral, greatly respected member of the Cato Corporation merchandise team. During the almost 20 years that I knew him, I never heard him say an unkind or coarse word. He was a true gentleman in both his professional and personal dealings with everyone. I am glad he had those years with his grandchildren before his memory was so cruelly taken away. Truly a lovely man whose gentle care-giving presence will be missed. Warmly, Clarice Cato Goodyear

  • Nancy Pinson Goldstein

    Sally, I am so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is to lose a spouse. God’s blessings on you and your family.

  • Jim Van Hecke

    Sally, I am so sorry to hear about Jimmy. I have such great memories of him. May you and your family know God’s peace during this difficult time and always.
    Love, Jim

  • Sherry Cress Barnes

    I was very sad to get the news about Jimmy! He was a wonderful person & I have many fond memories of him. Sally, you & your family are certainly in my thoughts and prayers!

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