Biography of Maj. Gen. H. Lloyd Wilkerson, USMC ret.
Major General H. Lloyd Wilkerson, USMC ret. was born at Troy, Tennessee, on October 31, 1919, to the late Fred C. Wilkerson and the late Susan Ethel Griffin Wilkerson. He was a member of the Class of 1941 at Erskine College, was Editor-in-Chief of the Erskine Mirror that was awarded journalistic honors during his tenure, and received a BA Degree in mathematics and English. He was an inspector for Retail Credit Company in both Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, until the outbreak of World War II when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He participated in the capture of Guadalcanal, advanced through the enlisted ranks to Platoon Sergeant, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in April 1945. After having served in combat in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam where he commanded the First Marines, the oldest regiment in the Corps, he became Chief of Staff, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. While so serving in 1972, he was promoted to Brigadier General and became Commanding General of that Base. Subsequently, as a Major General, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Studies at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps in Washington; Commanding General of the Third Marine Division, and Commanding General of the III Marine Amphibious Force in the Far East. His final assignment, prior to retirement on May 31, 1978, was Director of Personnel Management Division/Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, DC.
He is a graduate of the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the U. S. Army War College. He served as an Assistant Professor on the faculty of Duke University (1960-1962).
Wilkerson has served Erskine College as a member of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association (1974-1977), Co-Chairman for the 1977-1978 Living Endowment Campaign, and member of the Board of Counselors from 1977 until 1981 when he was appointed to the Erskine Board of Trustees to fill the last year of an unexpired term. He was elected for a full term on the Board of Trustees in 1982 and served as Chairman of the Board for two years (1985-1987). For several years he served as chairman of the Final Selection Committee for the E.B. Kennedy Scholars. He received from Erskine College the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award on May 18, 1985, the Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1988, and the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, on May 19, 1996.
He is an Episcopalian and has served as a member of the Episcopal Foundation of the Diocese of East Carolina (1980-84), and as Junior Warden and Senior Warden on the vestry of St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Jacksonville, North Carolina, where he served for many years as a chalicist and lay reader. Later, he served as lay reader and chalicist at St. Peter’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Swansboro, North Carolina, and as a member of the vestry at that church.
For varying periods of time since retirement, Wilkerson has served on the Board of Directors of the Jacksonville Rotary Club, on the Board of the Coastal Carolina Community College Foundation, Inc., as a Trustee of Onslow County Public Library, and as a member of the Jacksonville Board of Realtors.
On April 21, 1982, the Governor of North Carolina appointed Wilkerson to membership in the newly formed Governor's Commission for Military Affairs. He served continuously from 1982 under reappointments by two Governors until his appointment expired on October 17, 1991.
Soon after retirement he decided to devote his energies to volunteer service for the fraternity of Freemasonry. He has served the Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, USA, as Grand Master of Ceremonies (1985-89), as Grand Prior (1989-93), and was assigned additional duty as Acting Lieutenant Grand Commander on January 1, 1993. He was elected Lieutenant Grand Commander at the 1993 Biennial Session, was installed on October 19, 1993, and served in that office during the following biennium. He was Sovereign Grand Inspector General in the Orient of North Carolina (approximately 25,000 members) until his retirement on December 31, 1998. He was for years the Grand Representative of the Supreme Council of Scotland near the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction, USA. Upon retirement, he became Past Lieutenant Grand Commander, Past Sovereign Grand Inspector General in North Carolina, and an Emeritus Member of the Supreme Council.
He is or has been a member of the following organizations of Freemasonry: Wilkerson College Lodge No. 760, NC, Charter Master in 2002; Semper Fidelis Lodge No. 680, NC, Master in 1985; honorary member of Clyde Lodge No. 453, NC (1991); honorary member of Western Star Lodge No. 91, NC (1992); honorary member of Catawba Valley Lodge No. 217, NC (1994); Jacksonville Chapter No. 327, Order of Eastern Star (1994); North Carolina College Societas Rosicruciana In Civitatibus Foederatis which he served for several years as Suffragan, then Celebrant (1992-1994); the Royal Order of Scotland which he served as the Screening Committee for several years; Joseph Montfort Council No. 108, Allied Masonic Degrees (appointed at sight by Sovereign Grand Master to Grand Master's Council No. "A" in 1993); SENCLand Council No. 42, Knight Masons of North America (appointed at sight December 4, 1993); St. Titus Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine which he served as Viceroy (1998) and Sovereign (1999); New Bern Court No. 145, Royal Order of Jesters; Onslow Chapter No. 94; Onslow Council No. 34, and St. Johns Commandery No. 10, KT through which he became the recipient of the Knight Commander of the Temple Award from the Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, USA; the Joseph Montfort York Rite College No. 82 through which he received on August 3, 1996 the York Rite Purple Cross from the York Rite Sovereign College of North America; honorary member of Bryson City Royal Arch Chapter No. 95 (1990); Sudan Shrine Temple (1971); honorary member of Hejez Shrine Temple (1978), Greenville, SC; honorary member of Oasis Shrine Temple and its Past Masters Unit (1991), Charlotte, NC; and honorary member of Amran Shrine Temple (1991), Raleigh, NC.
He was President of The North Carolina Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation, Inc. (1983-1999), which annually provided more than $200,000 to support three Clinics for Childhood Language Disorders at East Carolina University, Appalachian State University, and the Scottish Rite Temple at Charlotte.
A member of National Sojourners, Inc., since 1946, he was a charter member of Old Dominion Chapter No. 364 and Light Horse Harry Lee Camp, Heroes of '76, and now holds membership in perpetuity in Camp Lejeune Chapter No. 329 and Da Nang Chapter No. 498. He is a past commander of Tun Tavern Camp, Heroes of '76.
He is an honorary member of the International Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay, and has been awarded the Honorary Legion of Honor by that International Supreme Council.
In past years he has served the Grand Lodge of North Carolina as a member of its Committee on Finance, Chairman of the Committee on Charters and Dispensations, and was Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge for two consecutive years beginning with 1987, the Bicentennial Year. He served three terms as a member of the Board of General Purposes and two terms on the Board of Publication of The North Carolina Mason. He has been a member of the Committee on Jurisprudence, the Committee on Special Gifts, and continues to be the Grand Representative of the United Grand Lodges of Germany near the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. In 1989, the Grand Master awarded him the Joseph Montfort Medal, an annual award made to no more than three members for distinguished service.
Wilkerson holds hereditary membership in The North Carolina Society of The Cincinnati representing his great-great-grandfather Captain John Griffin of the First and Fourth Regiments of the North Carolina Continental Line in the American Revolution.
He is a member of The Society of the Descendants of the Colonial Clergy on the basis of being the great-great-great-great-grandson of The Rev. David Mossom who solemnized the marriage of Colonel George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent County, Virginia. The Rev. Mossom was the Rector of St. Peter's Parish Church for 40 years (1727-1767).
Wilkerson and his wife Jeanne, daughter of the late Honorable Thomas C. Coffin, Member of the U. S. Congress from Idaho, and the late Cora Aileen Franklin Coffin, were married at the Post Chapel, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, on April 25, 1945. Their children are: Major General Thomas Lloyd Wilkerson, U. S. Marine Corps (Ret.), CEO and Publisher of The U. S. Naval Institute; Richard Nathan Wilkerson, Chairman and President of Michelin North America; and Fred C. Wilkerson, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, now the chef at a resort inn in Vermont. Thomas and Richard have delighted the family with four grandchildren: Ashley, Jennifer, Catherine, and Richard Lloyd.
Wilkerson, having accomplished all of this and more, has done so unselfishly and without great fanfare. He has mentored scores of young men and women throughout his life for which the fruit of his labors will be enjoyed for many generations to come.
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