Lovell Wilkerson, age 82, died at home peacefully on August 8, after an extended illness. Born February 28, 1940, in Dallas County, Alabama. Lovell enjoyed giving advice and making people feel good. He was known as “The Man with The Million Dollar Smile.”
Soon after graduating from Anderson High School in 1959, he joined the United States Army. During much of his enlistment he was stationed in Germany. He returned to Anderson in 1962 and was hired by Delco-Remy, a division of General Motors. He retired after 44 years of work in the factory.
The passion to help kids in the community burned strongly for Lovell. This led him to take a part time job as a coach, mentor and program director for the Boys and Girls Club. At The Club, he coached the Netters and the Lady Netters along with Willy “D.T.” Turner. His teams traveled almost everywhere in the United States winning many AAU basketball tournaments. In the mid 1980’s, he took his talents to Anderson High School as an assistant coach for the girls basketball team. Everywhere he coached, players and even parents were automatically enrolled in the Mr. Lovell Life Skills class. Nobody recalls signing up for it, but it seemed like everyone was in it. Another class that he taught for so many nieces, nephews and kids in the community, was driving lessons. There was never a warmup. He just told you to get behind the wheel and said let’s drive.
One day Lovell noticed outside of playing sports a lot of kids at The Club didn’t know how to interact with the world at large. That’s when he founded a co-ed group for teenagers called “The Black Incenturys.” The kids did community service in the neighborhood, attended theater plays at Ball State University and debated important life and cultural issues. The group’s signature event was the annual Variety Show which the kids wrote, produced and performed before a live audience, just like Showtime at the Apollo. Lovell’s goal was to inspire everybody to be somebody. Members of the Black Incenturys were encouraged to live by the group motto which was: Aspiration, Inspiration and Determination.
It’s probably no surprise that Coach Lovell was an athlete when he was young. During elementary school he played on City Championship teams in basketball and baseball. As a 16-year-old Lovell won a Golden Gloves boxing championship during the 1955-56 season. As an adult, he had a reputation for being a crafty point guard when he played in the United Auto Workers Basketball League.
On September 9, 1978, Lovell married his honey, Annie Doris Jones at Friendship Baptist Church. The couple loved to travel and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. In his words, Lovell did all the driving, Annie managed the navigation.
Lovell and Annie’s union created a blended family that includes the following children: Derrick Lindsey (Cheryl) Wilkerson, Simone (James) Wilkerson-Tucker, April (Chester) Wilkerson-Northcross, Dana Wilkerson, Shawn Wilkerson and Donna Shavers. This led to grandchildren: Allen D. Grant ll, Derrick Lovell Wilkerson, Lindsey Wilkerson, Brie Wilkerson, Juwaan Northcross, Evan Northcross, Danielle Pierson, Jackie Gorham Morris and Amber Wilson. The great grandchildren are DeAndre Harris and Audrey Tyler. There is one God daughter Carmeletta Sawyer Abbenhause and a bonus son Ulysses “Liddy” Jackson.
When The Lord came knocking on the door to Lovell’s heart he answered and dedicated his life to Jesus. He was baptized at Friendship Baptist Church. He really loved his church and always looked forward to hearing Pastor Edgar Woodall sing. Joining church opened a bright new chapter in Lovell’s life. Just like he did when playing a game of Spades, Lovell went hard for The Lord and never looked back. He was not shy about telling folks how God had changed his life. He made it his mission to witness to people about the joy that you get from living for The Lord.
Lovell is survived by his wife Annie, children and grandchildren; siblings: Jesse (Joanne) Wilkerson, David (Tresea) Wilkerson, Juanita Cottrell, Bobby Wilkerson, Odell (Lois) Wilkerson, Adelle Wade and Kathy (Jim) Harris; Sisters’ in-law Doris Wilkerson, Dorothy Fletcher and Lucinda Williams; Brothers in law; Rudy (Imogene) Williams, Robert (Linda Kay) Jones and Donald Jones. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends Rudy Smith, Wayne Townsend, Jeff Lewis, Dennis Davis and brother in-law Alex Rolling.
Lovell was preceded in death by his father, Willie Wilkerson; mother, Willie Mae Wilkerson; brothers, William “Little Buddy” Wilkerson, John D. Wilkerson and Roosevelt Wilkerson and sisters; Wilma Wilkerson and Christine (Wilkerson) Harris. Sister-in-law Rhonda Jones and brother-in-law Clayton Williams.
Services include a Wake on Thursday, August 18 from 4 pm to 8 pm at Friendship Baptist Church, 1540 W. 16th Street, Anderson, IN. During the Wake there be an open mic for community comments about Lovell from 6 pm to 8 pm. The Homegoing Celebration will take place at the church on Friday, August 19 with a viewing starting at 10 am. The Homegoing Celebration starts at Noon. The Friday service can be seen via livestream at www.glazebrooksfs.com
Lovell Wilkerson Community Scholarship
In remembrance of Lovell, the children invite you to consider donating to the Lovell Wilkerson Community Scholarship. Awards will be given annually to graduating high school students who enroll in college or a post high school career program. The first award(s) will be issued in May 2023.
Donations are accepted via Zelle @ 317-513-4865. Cash App: $Unlimited999. Address: Lovell Wilkerson Scholarship C/O Unlimited Favor Enterprizes 911 E. 86th Street, Suite 60, Indianapolis, IN 46220.
Questions: Derrick Wilkerson 765-280-2313 or Wilkerson4343@gmail.com