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James Olan Wilkins Jr.

James Olan Wilkins Jr.

October 28th, 1956 - July 4th, 2024

James Olan's Obituary


James Olan Wilkins, Jr., affectionately known as “Jimi” by family and friends, made his spiritual transition on Thursday, July 4, 2024 in Ypsilanti, Michigan with beloved family members at his bedside. Born October 28, 1956, Jimi was the first child of nine children blessed to the late James O. and Shirley Wilkins, Sr. of South Haven, MI.

Jimi’s drive and determination to succeed in life were very obvious, even as a young child. As an adolescent, his outstanding scholastic achievements and impressive leadership qualities were on full display, graduating from South Haven L.C. Mohr High School in 1974 with honors. Jimi was a member of the National Honor Society, marching band, and the varsity tennis team. He continued his education at Hope College, graduating in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Government. Jimi started his employment experience at an early age working at A&P grocery store as a customer assistant. After college, he was employed as a Quality Control Manager in the engineering department at Bohn Aluminum and Brass Inc. in South Haven, MI.

Jimi spent the early part of his life in South Haven and relocated to Canton, MI in 1990. In 1994, after more than a decade of courtship, he married the love of his life, Patricia Clarke, and gained a son, Jason Clarke. Jimi and Patricia lived a quiet and peaceful life together for over 46 years and enjoyed caring for their Miniature Schnauzer, “Dakota.”

Jimi gained employment as a principal consultant for the Big Three Auto Manufacturers (General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler) after relocating to Canton, MI. He later joined ASI International, a consulting company, where he served as Vice President. Jimi would travel around the world teaching the Taguchi Method of Statistics to huge corporations. With a desire to fulfill his dream of entrepreneurship, Jimi founded Standard Components, Inc. (SCI). His minority-established corporation specialized in designing and manufacturing assembly and inspection equipment for aerospace, defense, and automotive industries. Jimi served as President and CEO of SCI for 15 years with 65 employees, before he sold the company in 2016. As part of his educational attainments, he acquired a robust set of professional skills that included: leadership, Six Sigma Master Black Belt Certification, quality management, advanced product quality planning (APQP) and production part approval process (PPAP), and many more. Based on this unique set of skills, he was afforded the opportunity to perform consulting work for government organizations, municipalities, and corporations such as: NASA, the City of Detroit, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Gulfstream Aerospace, Honda Jet, Takata International Automotive, and Firefox, just to name a few.

In 2007, Standard Components Inc. received an award for being selected as one of the fastest growing businesses in America and was listed #134 in Forbes’ Top 500 Magazine. In 2010, Jimi received a prestigious award from the Edward Lowe Foundation for Michigan’s 50 Companies to Watch. “Needless to say,” Jimi was very instrumental in contributing significant insight in the manufacturing industry.

Tired of the everyday “hustles and bustles” of life, Jimi decided to exchange his business attire for a set of casual jeans, hooded sweatshirts, and gym shoes. Retirement was on the horizon. In 2016, Jimi retired to a life of relaxation and fun. He was a fierce competitor who enjoyed: chess, basketball, tennis, baseball, football, and golf. He was also an avid University of Michigan football fan. “Let’s Go Blue!” Jimi loved fellowshipping with family and friends. A good game of Bid Whist with pork rinds, a cold beverage, and music was considered an enjoyable evening. Jimi, the eldest sibling of the Wilkins family, was a protector who brought leadership and guidance to many difficult situations. He fulfilled the assignment given to him by his father, the late James O. Wilkins, Sr., which was to love, protect, and take care of his family. “A job well done!”

Jimi, reared as a child in a religious family, knew the importance of establishing a personal relationship with God; therefore, he did not leave this world without accepting God as his Lord and Savior. When visiting South Haven, Jimi would attend Resurrection Life Ministries, where he was a member under the leadership of his brother, Bishop Joe O. Wilkins, Sr.

Jimi is preceded in death by his parents: James O. and Shirley Wilkins, Sr.; son, Jason Clarke; brothers: Wade and Michael Wilkins; and sister, April Smith.

Jimi leaves to cherish his loving memories: wife of 30 years, Patricia Wilkins; six siblings: Darlene (Michael) Batton, Esther Wilkins, Bishop Joe O. (Letitia) Wilkins, Sr., David Wilkins, September (Ahmmad) Goodwin, and Pamela (Jerry) Mahone, Jr.; four grandchildren: Jason, Elias, Kristal, and Matthew Clarke; three great-grandchildren; and goddaughter, Danielle Harrison. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, the Clarke and Yates families, extended brothers: Pastor LaVan Dyke Carr and Clarence Echols, and close friends: Fred Madden, Sr., Darcy Blackmon, and Elnora Bass.

Jimi touched the hearts and souls of those whom he met, and he will be profoundly missed. “Rest Well, J.O.W.!”

A Wake for Jimi will be held on Saturday, July 20, 2024 at Resurrection Life Church, 322 Elkenburg St., South Haven, Michigan 49090 from 11 a.m. until the time of the Funeral Service at 12 p.m. Bishop Joe Wilkins, Sr. will be Officiating. Jimi will be laid to rest at Lake View Cemetery.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Filbrandt Chapel of Starks Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, 269-637-0333

Service Details

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