January 24 – Happy Birthday Ned Wilkinson

WilkinsonCover2Here is an excerpt from my story about this gifted Amsterdam attorney. His entire story appears in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order a copy, click here.

Born on January 24, 1929, Edward L. Wilkinson was the son of a successful Amsterdam banker and the brother of a heroic WWII pilot who was killed in action.

He graduated from Holy Cross during the Korean conflict, joined the Marines and attained the rank of Captain. He then got his law degree from Georgetown, clerked for a while for a U.S. District Court judge in D.C. and then went to work for a law firm in our nation’s capital. He also married a Pennsylvania girl named Carol Kane, certainly the best partnership he ever entered into.

By 1960 he was ready to come home, so he passed the New York State Bar Exam and joined the Amsterdam law firm of Taylor and White. It did not take him very long to become one of the most popular lawyers in the city.

Ned Wilkinson had a magnetic personality augmented by a wonderful sense of humor, a keen mind and the sort of positive attitude that made him a must have member of any group trying to enact change in this community…

6 thoughts on “January 24 – Happy Birthday Ned Wilkinson

  1. From my book “Where Do We Find Such Men”: War Bond drives are conducted at every level, even little school kids. By the first Armistice Day of the war [November 11, 1942], the children of St. Mary’s Institute, by nickels and dimes, have raised $1,538.50. At a patriotic assembly that day, those who have given as much as one dollar receive the rare privilege of a handshake from Uncle Sam himself. Pandemonium breaks loose as he enters Dugan Hall.

    The ovation drowns out his singing of “Any Stamps Today?, a variation of Irving Berlin’s Any Bonds Today? which itself had been an adaptation of his more innocent-times Any Yams Today. Played by six foot four Francis “Dutch” Howlan, popular senior basketball star, sporting a stove-pipe hat, the tall, lean son of the city treasurer cuts quite a swath as the nation’s symbol, whiskers and all.

    Ninth grader Edward “Ned” Wilkinson entertains with his essay, “America Goes in Singing” and quotes Irish poet Arthur O’Shaugnessey:

    Three with a new song’s measure
    Can trample an empire down.

    He then leads the assembly in rousing and sentimental renditions of the World War I songbook: Over There, Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Keep the Home Fires Burning. With the able assistance of Kathryn Egan at the piano, they conclude with the always popular Marine Hymn and the songs from the contemporary Hit Parade of 1942: Remember Pearl Harbor and Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

    Ned’s older brother George had gotten the jump on everybody, joining the Royal Canadian Air Force in June of 1941, and by the time of the SMI assembly he is already piloting bombers out of England. In March of 1943 he transfers to the American Army Air Forces and engages in numerous bombing runs at Nazi targets and the city of Rome as part of Col. Edward J. Timberlake’s squadron, “Ted’s Flying Circus.” In August of 1943 he pilots a heavy bomber in a highly successful, though disastrous for our men, raid on the Ploeski oil fields in Rumania. Only three planes return, including Wilkinson’s.

    Second Lt. George B. Wilkinson’s luck runs out on October 1 of that year, “missing in action” over Austria.

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      1. Hi Molly Wilkinson,

        I am your cousin. I haven’t seen you since I was 10. My mom was your Dad, Ned’s, older sister, Mary. I just happened upon this amsterdambirthdays blog. Freaky! Please contact me. Kristen Ouderkirk Barra kristen@tonybarra.com

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    1. Thank you so much for this marvelous post. I so wish I had seen it earlier as this summer we celebrated another Wilkinson Family reunion with Ruth and Harvey’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and I would have loved to show them this. As it is I can’t wait to show it to my own kids, as I may have run out of Grandfather stories and this is one I never knew ! God bless you.
      With warmest regards,
      Sarah Wilkinson Reynolds

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  2. Hi Mike Many thanks for the kind posting about my dad Ned Wilkinson. I read it to my mother and she too was deeply touched. It’s nice to see that people, other than family, remember him fondly after so much time has passed. We miss him every day and we talk about him all the time. He would have been 87 today and he will have been dead for 30 years on this upcoming Dec 19th, 2016. Thanks too for this lovely website. Jane Karbocus’s tribute was also lovely and she was a close, close family friend. She and Dad were like brother and sister and she was a special “aunt” to us. My own sister Sarah named her youngest child Jane Carol after Jane Karbocus and our mom. All the best, Molly Wilkinson

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    1. Hi Molly. Thanks for your kind words and I’m so happy to learn that your Mom enjoyed the post I wrote about your Dad. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know. Kind regards to all the Wilkinson’s. Mike Cinquanti.

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