Richard Barlow Wilkens III, of Houston, Texas, passed away peacefully at home, with his family beside him, on Sunday, the 9th of March 2014.
Richy was born on the 27th of February 1947 in Galveston to Nina Derry Murphey Wilkens and Richard Barlow Wilkens Jr. Growing up in Houston, Richard developed an interest in the weather that he pursued in his college and professional career. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee in 1969 and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Health Engineering, concentrating in atmospheric science, from the University of Texas in 1972. Using this meteorological background, Richy served as a weather officer in the Texas Air National Guard at Ellington Field, until 1975.
In 1977, Richard and his wife, Sandy, founded Wilkens Weather Technologies, Inc., a company servicing clients in the energy and offshore industries. In 1978, he co-founded Air Routing International Corporation and went on to form the Air Routing Group in 1994, consolidating a number of companies with related activities including weather, flight dispatch services, contract jet fuel, aviation security and internet information services.
A charter member of St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Richard served his church as an acolyte, usher, lay reader, chalice bearer, Sunday school teacher, Bethel Bible teacher, Men's Life leader, member of the Vestry, co-chair of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer International Conference in 1986, Chairman of the 143rd Council of the Diocese of Texas and co-Chairman of the Special Council of the Diocese that same year.
Actively involved in various civic and institutional organizations, Richard served on the Board of Trustees for Camp Allen of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for Open Door Mission, among others. He was a twenty year volunteer for Sunshine Kids Foundation Teen Lake Escape on Lake Travis, an activity begun by his sister, Sunny, their family and friends, for teenage and young adult cancer patients. A second-generation graduate of the University of the South, Richard actively participated in the life of his alma mater, twice being elected to the Board of Trustees and most recently serving as a Regent. In 1996, he was appointed as Honorary Consul to Texas for the Republic of Slovenia, and in that capacity twice served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Consular Corps of Houston.
A loving husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, son-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, great uncle and friend, Richy was preceded in death by his parents, Dick and Sunny, and his stepmother Louise Stengel Wilkens. His beloved wife of 43 years, Sandra Lee Pratt Wilkens; his daughter, Derry Kathleen Wilkens of New York City; and his son and daughter-in-law, Richard Barlow Wilkens IV and wife Mary Lee, and grandson, Richard Brady of Houston, survive him. Other surviving family members include his sister Sunny Wilkens Ernst and her husband, Robert, and their children and grandchildren, his mother-in-law, Kathleen C. Pratt, sister-in-law, Mary K. and husband Robert Burtner, their children and granddaughter, and brother-in-law, James L. Pratt.
The family would like to acknowledge Richard's physicians and caregivers at Methodist Hospital and Memorial Hermann Hospital, especially Dr. Garrett R. Lynch and Dr. Kevin M. Slawin, who attended to his needs with utmost skill and compassion.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from two until five o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday, the 16th of March, in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
The funeral service will be conducted at eleven o'clock in the morning on Monday, the 17th of March, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, 717 Sage Road in Houston, where the Rt. Reverend C. Andrew Doyle, the ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, the Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr., Rector of St. Martin's, and the Rev. Edward L. Stein, of Christ Church Cathedral, are to officiate. Immediately following, all are invited to join the family during a reception to be held in the adjacent Bagby Parish Hall.
The interment will follow, via an escorted cortege, at Galveston Memorial Park in Hitchcock, Texas.
Those honored to serve as casket bearers during Monday's services are Kirby Atwood, Tom Balousek, Steve Beckham, Jim Faulkner, Arlen Ferguson, John Hartman, Randy Marks, Tim Maystrik, Terry McCarthy, David Remick, John Rahlfs, Jhonathan Shaikh, and John Van Osdall.
Honorary pallbearers are Richy's closest friends, among them the men of the Whitehall Breakfast Club, the men of the River Oaks Breakfast Club and the members of the Consular Corps of Houston.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions may be directed to Open Door Mission, 5803 Harrisburg Blvd., Houston, TX, 77011 (opendoorhouston.org
); the Sandra P. & Richard B. Wilkens III Merit Scholarship in Physics, University of the South, 735 University Ave., Sewanee, TN, 37383 (sewanee.edu
); the St. Martin's Foundation, 717 Sage Rd., Houston, TX, 77056 (stmartinsepiscopal.org
); and The Sunshine Kids Foundation, Teen Lake Escape, 2814 Virginia, Houston, TX, 77098 (sunshinekids.org