Dr. Albert Harrison Wilkinson, Jr., 86, passed away on July 10, 2013. Dr. Wilkinson was the son of Lillian Hess Wilkinson and Dr. Albert Harrison Wilkinson, Sr. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Linda Fink Wilkinson; four children, Leslie W. Brotman (Sol), Dr. Albert (Sonny) H. Wilkinson, III (Lynn), Gary L. Wilkinson (Karen), Dr. Catherine W. Snowden (Todd) and nine grandchildren.
Albert's father arrived in Jacksonville as the Superintendent of St. Luke's Infirmary. His mother's family were founding members of Congregation Ahavath Chesed- The Temple and included the Presidents of Furchgott's Department Store.
Albert served in the Navy in World War II as a medical corpsman. He then attended college at Emory University before graduating from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia as a member of AOA. After post-doctoral training in New Orleans, Atlanta and Chicago, Albert was offered a faculty position at Northwestern University but declined in order to return to Jacksonville and become the first Pediatric Surgeon in Florida. He began his practice, serving all hospitals in Duval County and continuing his research. Dr. Wilkinson performed the first successful corrective surgery on a newborn with their heart outside their body.
Wilkinson formed Pediatric Surgical Associates with his former resident, Dr. Warner Webb. They later merged their practice into the Nemours Children's Clinic where Albert was the Founding Medical Director. Albert helped create the first Tumor Registry in the State of Florida to track children's cancers and management. After retiring from clinical practice, Albert remained a Consultant at Nemours and wrote two books on the history of children's health care in Jacksonville. He was Executive Director of the Florida Association of Children's Hospitals for more than a decade. Even as an octogenarian, Albert could be found in the halls of the State Capitol and congressional office buildings, lobbying for improvements in children's health care.
Albert served as President of Child Guidance Center and Southside Rotary, where he was named a Paul Harris Fellow. He also received a Lifetime Volunteer Award from the Florida Section of the American Cancer Society, Presidential Citation from OneJax and Honorary Membership in Leadership Jacksonville.
Wilkinson was an avid surfer and runner, having competed in more than 20 River Runs. In his later years, he led the "Ancient Mariners" of Bill Adams, Adm. Byron Fuller and Capt. Dick Scruggs on boating adventures in the U.S. and the Bahamas. Albert was also a hiker, having climbed in the Tetons less than a year before his death.
A Memorial Service will be held at Congregation Ahavath Chesed – The Temple, located at 8727 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville FL 32217 on Friday July 12, 2013 at 11am with Rabbi Joshua Lief officiating.
Memorial contributions in Albert's name may be made to Wolfson Childrens Hospital and Congregation Ahavath Chesed- The Temple.
Words of comfort can be left at www.hardage-giddenshendricksave.com
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home 4115 Hendricks Ave. Jacksonville, FL 32207. (904) 346-3808.