Wilbur Jennings French, 95, born April 27, 1926 in Ruffin, NC passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his family on Saturday, July 17, 2021.
A funeral service will be held at Wilkerson Funeral Home on Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 2PM with Rev. Stanley Hare and Rev. Travis McQuirt officiating. A graveside committal will follow the service at Mount Carmel United Methodist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Wednesday night at Wilkerson from 6-8 PM.
Wilbur was the first-born son of the late Charlie Jennings French and Bessie McKinney French. He was preceded in death by his sisters-in-law, Joan French, Ollie French and Evelyn French; brother, Robert French and wife, Lois; and sister, Peggy Cassada. Surviving siblings are Lester French (Anne), Jerry French, George French and Brenda Strader (Donnie).
Wilbur served in the United States Navy during World War II on board the USS Corundum as a ship’s cook. Following his time in the service, he married Lera “Billie” Setliff of Oregon Hill, NC and raised 5 children: Susan F. Reed (Bob, deceased), Wilbur “Jay” French Jr. (Connee), Priscilla Sharon French (deceased), Penny F. Hare (Stanley), and Wendy Oakley (Jeff). After Billie’s early death, Wilbur married Kathryn W. Martin in March 1973. Wilbur’s family grew to include the birth of 8 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren.
Wilbur, his wife, Billie and their family were members of Mount Carmel United Methodist Church in Oregon Hill. Later Wilbur and his wife, Kathryn were members of Calvary Baptist Church in Reidsville. Both churches played an integral role in his spiritual walk with Christ.
Wilbur was a recognized farmer and a valued member of his church family and community. His relationship with the Lord sparked a deep desire to care for others, which he faithfully continued to do throughout his entire life. Wilbur will be greatly missed by all his immediate and extended family and friends who will cherish all the lifetime lessons he modeled.
The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to Dr. Shah and staff at Eden Internal Medicine and Hospice of Rockingham County for their support and attentive care. In addition, we would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to Shelby Smith, our extra special caregiver, who lovingly ministered in our home for more than 13 years.
In Wilbur's memory, monetary donations may be made to Calvary Baptist Church, Reidsville, NC; Mount Carmel United Methodist Church (Building Fund), Reidsville, NC; or Hospice of Rockingham County. In addition, flowers are also welcome.