Gary Wilkinson Sr. is a quiet, “get things done” kind of person who holds a B.S. in Organizational Management and Leadership from Friends University, in Wichita, Kansas. 

Gary has extensive community involvement in his repertoire of service in the areas where he resides and previously resided. In University City, Missouri, he served as Superintendent of Streets. In Tarkio, Missouri, he served as athletic director for Youth Services International. And in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he presently resides he served as the executive director of East Side Human Resource Center, founded by John Lucas, Jr.

 Also in St. Joseph, Gary was elected to the City Charter Commission, changing the form of government from Mayor-Council to Council-Manager. For three terms he was elected to City Council serving one term as Deputy Mayor.  The community knows him, and also the church he attends as a member. Gary has quietly served his community and his church with distinction and dedication. As a member of the Emmanuel Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Joseph, he has been a player coach for the men’s basketball team, served as church treasurer and worked with  many other church auxiliaries. Presently, he is serving as the head elder.

 In 2017 Gary Wilkinson Sr. was inducted into the Black Archives Hall of Fame in St.Joseph. Gary’s picture hangs on a wall within the museum along with other family members, notably John Lucas Sr. (known as big John) and John Lucas Jr. The story of his great-grandfather and great-grandmother on his father’s side, Mr. And Mrs. Amos Stillman, is a special feature in the museum.

Today, Gary serves as president of the Midtown Initiative Economic/Community Development Organization. In January Gary was also voted to be president of St. Joseph Museums, Inc. being the first African American to receive that designation.

Just recently during the Hall of Fame Induction service of two prominent individuals of the city of St. Joseph, a book authored by Gary titled Walk On Water was introduced. The book chronicles events in the lives of the family of Charles and Charlotte Harvey (enslaved great-great grandparents of Gary) leading up to the Civil War. Living in north-central Missouri, their story details the epic struggle to be free, embodying the strength and resilience of the human spirit. There will be a theatrical production of the book at the Missouri Theater, 717 Edmond Street in St. Joseph, on Wednesday, June 19 and Thursday June 20.

Several have auditioned for the theatrical performance and two members of the Emmanuel Church will have parts: Elder Donna Brown and Brother Kevin Angandja.

Carter Goodwin, who also auditioned for a part, writes: “Coming away from the audition last night I realized that this is the most important show I’ve ever been in. It will be transformative, personally and for the community. There was a spirit of reverence in the room that can’t be faked. It is a piece that illustrates one of the greatest powers of our art — the power to heal broken hearts and spirits.”


Gil Webb pastors the Emmanuel Church in St. Joseph, Missouri.