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Kenneth R. Wilkes

Mayor, 1969-73

Wilkes Radio and TV Sales and Service

509 East Main

606 Main Street


Kenneth R. Wilkes, 81, of Watertown, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, after struggling with Parkinson's disease for many years.  He was at his home surrounded by his loving family.


Funeral services will be held at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Watertown on Tuesday at 11 a.m. with the Rev. James Werner officiating.  Burial, with military graveside rites performed by the Watertown American Legion Post No. 189, will be in Lutheran Cemetery in Watertown.  Relatives and friends may call at the church on Tuesday from 9 a.m. until the time of the service.


In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. Mark's Lutheran Church, the R.O.C., or the charity of one's choice would be appreciated.


Kenneth Robert Wilkes was born on Feb. 6, 1929, in Watertown, son of John and Emma (Reich) Wilkes.  Ken was a 1947 graduate of Watertown Senior High School. He served in the United States Navy for four years, during the Korean War.


On Oct. 21, 1950, he married the former Mae Albrecht at Watertown Moravian Church.  Ken owned and operated Wilkes Radio and TV Sales and Service in Watertown.  He retired from Eaton Corp. in Watertown in 1991.  Ken was the mayor of Watertown for two terms, serving on various boards and committees, while continuing to work part-time.  He also served as an alderman for 10 years in the 8th Ward.


Mayor, 1969-73


Wilkes had run against Mike Bentzin, a well-known and connected Watertown businessman.  Bentzin ran a grocery store, beer distributorship and other business and had been on the school board for many years.


In 1971 was re-elected, when radio station owner Carl Kolata and former Mayor Robert White ran against him.  Two years later, in 1973, Kolata defeated Wilkes.


Wilkes ran a TV business on S Third St.  At the time the mayor’s position was part time.




Ken was a lifetime member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Watertown, where he served as an elder for several years.  He was a past commander and member of the American Legion Post No. 189.  He belonged to the Plattdeutscher Verein in Watertown.  After retiring, he enjoyed golfing and was a member of Windwood Country Club in Watertown.


Ken also enjoyed fishing, especially on the Chippewa Flowage in northern Wisconsin.


Ken is survived by his wife, Mae of Watertown; four children, Sandra (Gary) Johnson of Hales Corners, Michael (Maureen) Wilkes of Middleton, Patti (Michael) Bertling of Hartford and Steven (Debra) Wilkes of Janesville; two brothers, Laverne (Marilyn) Wilkes and Roger (Betty) Wilkes of Watertown; nine grandchildren, Philip, Elizabeth and Emily Johnson, Megan and Christopher Wilkes, Jacquelin, Paul and Joey Bertling and Justin Wilkes; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.


Ken was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Lee and Howard.


Hafemeister Funeral Home 611 E. Main St. Watertown



06 18     Kenneth Wilkes today announced that his new Ken Wilkes Radio and TV Service Store at 606 Main Street is now ready and that he will hold open house for the public there on June 20, 21 and 22.  The event also marks the tenth anniversary of Mr. Wilkes in business here during which time he has established a wide business acquaintance and service area . Mr. Wilkes has sold his former property at 509 East Main to the Pure Oil Co. which now operates a service station at the corner of Main and South Fifth Streets, directly to the west.