American Veteran 01
Official Obituary of

William S. Wilkerson, III

April 20, 1947 ~ March 23, 2024 (age 76) 76 Years Old
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William S. Wilkerson, III Obituary

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of William Smith (“Bill”) Wilkerson, III, at the age of 76. Bill passed away on March 23rd, 2024, at his home surrounded by his loving wife and children, after a brief battle with cancer.

Bill was born on April 20th, 1947, in South Carolina. He was the son of William S. Wilkerson, II, and Helen McFarland Weiss. He was raised by his aunt and uncle, John Lee Gaddy and Dorothy Gaddy (“Dot”) Pearce, of Hickory Grove, South Carolina.

Bill was a man of great dedication and commitment to his family and his work. He was an outstanding athlete in his youth and excelled at basketball. He was later inducted into the York School District One Athletic Hall of Fame. Bill graduated from Hickory Grove High School in 1965 and went on to play at the collegiate level at Spartanburg Methodist College. After two years, he transferred to the University of Georgia, where he graduated with a degree in Business. Following his graduation, Bill joined the United States Air Force and served in an Intelligence Unit. After his honorable discharge, he returned to Hickory Grove to begin a successful 50-year career in the convenience distribution wholesale business.

Bill was a hardworking individual who dedicated his early years to growing his family business, JL Gaddy, which eventually became the largest independent wholesale distributor in South Carolina. His peers widely recognized his professional achievements, and he commanded the respect of everyone who had the opportunity to work with him. Bill loved going to work at his warehouse every day at 3 am, where he spent quality time with all his employees. He treated them like family and had a personal relationship with each one of them.  Despite his professional success, Bill was a humble man who supported his community in many ways. He was incredibly supportive of many local churches, businesses, and individuals and always resisted any praise for doing so.

Bill cherished his family above all else and found joy in spending quality time with his loved ones, especially his five grandchildren. He is survived by his loving wife, Ruth Latham Wilkerson, daughter Leanne Wilkerson Jennings (Douglas) of Charleston, and son William Smith Wilkerson, IV, (Christine) of Hickory Grove. His grandchildren are Ellie Hayes Wilkerson, Rawlings Claire Wilkerson, William Smith Wilkerson, V, Merritt Edens Jennings, and Douglas Smith Jennings. His sisters are Sandra Banks (Tommy) of Greenville and Lynn Shuler of Camden.  

The burial will be held privately for the family. A ceremony and celebration of life service will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, March 30th, 2024 at Mt. Vernon Church in Hickory Grove. The family will receive friends in the church Fellowship Hall immediately following the memorial service. Bill will be remembered for his love, his kindness, and his dedication to his family and work. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests memorials to Shady Grove UMC at PO Box 157, Hickory Grove, SC 29717 or the Hickory Grove Fire Department at PO Box 11, Hickory Grove, SC 29717.

Online condolences may be made to the family at

Bratton Funeral Home of York, SC is serving the Wilkerson family.

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Celebration of Life
March 30, 2024

2:00 PM
Mt. Vernon Church, Smithford Rd

Visitation after service
March 30, 2024

Mt. Vernon Church, Smithford Rd


Hickory Grove Fire Department
PO Box 11, Hickory Grove SC 29717

Shady Grove UMC
PO Box 157, Hickory Grove SC 29717


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