First Responders 07

Mr. Bud W. Wilkins

April 20, 1930 ~ May 4, 2022 (age 92)


Mr. Bud W. Wilkins, 92, of Galesburg, Illinois died 5:05 a.m. Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at his home surrounded by his family.

He was born April 20, 1930, in Griggsville, Illinois to Charles M. and Grace (Dunham) Wilkins, Sr.  He married Carol Frampton Hatch, January 10, 1969, in Springfield, Illinois. 

Surviving is his wife of 53 years, Carol Wilkins of Galesburg, two sons, Charles H. (and Laurie Gulotta) Wilkins of Greenville, Michigan, and Craig G. (and Robin) Hatch of Oneida, Illinois, a daughter, Bonita “Bonnie” Wilkins Kniss of Galesburg, seven grandchildren, Jennifer (and John) Migas, Jason (and Natalie Katauski) Wilkins, Brandi (and Josef) Vlach, Tami (and Cody) Miyler, Shelby (and Tony) Moenck, Brooke (and Caleb) Thompson, and Cassandra (and James) Hunt, 15 great grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his parents, a daughter, Laura Hatch, three brothers, John Wilkins, Charles “Turner” Wilkins, Jr., and Jim Wilkins, and two sisters, Mary Stites and Marjorie Ryan. 

Bud graduated from Galesburg High School in 1948.  He honorably served in the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1955 during Korean War. He taught prop mechanics in the Air Force and was a Staff Sargent at the end of his term.  In 1938 the Wilkins family moved to Galesburg and opened the Wilkins Market.  The sign on the market read, “Good and Bad Fruit”.  Bud worked in the market and on the farm that grew the produce, when he was young.  He later became a driver for the Squirt Company delivering soda pop.  On August 23, 1959, he became a Firefighter for the Galesburg Fire Department for 21 years and retired May 1, 1980.  During his 21 years at the fire department, he held several titles and performed many tasks and retired as the Deputy Chief. 

The following is a letter from Chief Hovind from the Galesburg Fire Department about the accomplishments of Bud.


From Chief Hovind:

"Bud Wilkins passed away this morning after battling an illness. Bud was born on April 20th, 1930. He was a Galesburg High School graduate and served in the Air Force until 1955. He was appointed by the Galesburg Fire Department on August 23rd, 1959. Bud had three children, Charles born in 1953, Bonita born in 1956 and stepson Craig Hatch born in 1958. Bud worked as a relief man his first year in the department. He was appointed the first Fire Inspector and helped set up the Fire Prevention Bureau in 1962. He also worked as an Arson Investigator. 

He was promoted to Captain on December 1st, 1967 and served as the Training Captain for about four years. In 1971 he moved to Third shift and went to the Maple Ave. Fire Station. When Dale May was promoted from Assistant Fire Chief to Deputy Fire Chief, Bud was promoted to Assistant Fire Chief on Sunday, February 20th, 1977. In reading a performance review of Bud that Deputy Chief May had written on January 18th, 1978, he wrote "Bud has shown an exceptional interest & been involved in the Fire Prevention programs of the Dept. He previously had assignments as an inspector & training officer. His capabilities as a Fire Command Officer are beyond reproach. I recommend this man for promotion". 

On February 26th, 1978, when Dale was promoted to Fire Chief, Bud was promoted to Deputy Chief. Deputy Chief Bud Wilkins retired from the Galesburg Fire Department on May 1st, 1980. 

From those that knew him, Bud had a great sense of humor. He was obviously dedicated to the job and to the Galesburg Fire Department. His family owned a market where Steak & Shake and Mcdonald's on Henderson St. are today that he worked at on his days off. In reading through Bud's file and talking to those that knew him, it sounds like Bud is another one who helped to better the department and move it in a direction of what we see today. Rest easy Deputy Chief Wilkins. "


Bud was a member of the Wataga Congregational Church where he sang with choir.  He volunteered at the Wataga Senior Center since 1987.  He was a member of the Alpha #155 A.F & A.M. Masonic lodge and the former president of the El-Bon-Shrine Clowns.  He was also, at one time, president of the Galesburg Jaycee’s, member and president of the Society of Preservation of the Barber Shop Choir Association, and member of the Toastmasters.  Bud loved spending time with his family and traveling to many places around the world with his wife, Carol. 

As Bud requested, cremation will be accorded.  A visitation will be 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Hinchliff-Pearson-West Funeral Directors and Cremation Service Galesburg Chapel with military rites by the Knox County Honor Guard at 7:00 p.m.  Memorial service will be 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at the Wataga Congregational Church.  Rev. Jim Epperson will officiate. Those unable to attend may watch virtually at 11:00 am Wednesday via   A private committal service will be at a later date in Memorial Park Cemetery, Galesburg.  Memorials may be made to Wataga Congregational Church or Shriners Hospital for Children.  Online condolences may be made at 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mr. Bud W. Wilkins, please visit our floral store.


May 10, 2022

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Hinchliff-Pearson-West, Inc.
1070 West Fremont St.
Galesburg, IL 61401

Memorial Service
May 11, 2022

11:00 AM
Wataga Congregational Church (Galesburg Chapel)

Video is available for this event


Wataga Congregational Church
105 S. Sparta St., Wataga IL 61488

Shriners Hospitals for Children
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa FL 33607

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