Lambert Henry Wilkes

Posted: Tue 9:04 AM, Apr 09, 2013
Funeral Home: Memorial Funeral Chapel
December 1, 1926 - April 7, 2013

Lambert Henry Wilkes of College Station passed away in his home on April 7, 2013.

Visitation will be held from 5:30- 7:30 PM on Tuesday April 9 at Memorial Funeral Chapel at 1515 South College Avenue in Bryan. A memorial service will be held at Grace Bible Church on 700 Anderson Street at 2 PM on Wednesday with a reception to follow at the church.

Lambert is preceded in death by his father, Thomas Broome Wilkes, his mother Myrtle Henry Wilkes and his brother Thomas Broome Wilkes, Jr.

Survivors include his wife, Stella (Harris) Wilkes; his children; Robert Joseph Wilkes DDS, Julia Wilkes Gardner and her husband, David Frederick Gardner and Thomas Lambert Wilkes and his wife, Elise Richardson Wilkes. Also surviving are his grandchildren, Angela Gardner Bomar and her husband Scott Rembert Bomar, Thomas Lambert Wilkes Jr., Colin Vick Wilkes, Jenny Elise Wilkes and Matthew David Wilkes. He is also survived by his great-grandchildren, Piper Julia Bomar and Logan Rembert Bomar; his sister, Mary Thomas Wilkes Eckles; and a brother, James Francis Wilkes, Jr. and his wife, Helen Lewis Wilkes.

Lambert was born on December 1, 1926 in Blair, South Carolina and graduated from Monticello High School in 1945. He graduated from Clemson University in 1948 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering. While at Clemson, he was part of an elite military marching unit that marched in Madison Square Garden. Upon graduation, he was employed by Texas A&M University as an instructor. With the exception of service to his country in the US Air Force during the Korean War and a short stint with New Mexico State University, he spent his career teaching and advising agricultural engineering students while conducting research in cotton harvesting and ginning. He earned his Master of Science Degree from Texas A&M University in 1952. He was awarded Distinguished Professor in 1975.

Lambert descended from a family that moved to South Carolina in the 1800's and was a true son of the south. His father passed away when he was eleven but his mother and his siblings continued to run a productive and versatile farm. He grew up plowing behind a mule and his hands-on experience and working knowledge in formative years uniquely prepared him to produce creative engineering innovations that impacted farmers around the world.

His early research focused on reshaping the soil beds in which cotton is planted. Certainly his most noteworthy invention was the Cotton Module, which revolutionized the cotton harvesting process. In 2000, the State of Texas recognized his invention as one of the 4 most significant economic achievements of the 1970's decade, alongside the start of DFW International Airport and Southwest Airlines. Scoates Hall on the Texas A&M campus is designated as an historic landmark, because it housed his research for the Cotton Module. His final chapter of research centered on creating a new ginning process for long staple cotton.

He was highly respected and deeply loved by his students as a teacher, counselor and mentor as he headed the Mechanized Agriculture department. During his career, he was awarded Progressive Farmer Man of the Year. He retired in 1985 as Professor Emeritus.

He was an elder at Grace Bible Church for decades and was one of the leaders who moved the church from Bryan to College Station where it has ministered to thousands of Aggies over the last 40 years. He was elected to the A&M Consolidated School Board where he served for several terms. He lived out the example of being a servant leader. For decades he mowed the yards of the church and several widows in the neighborhood. He was always willing to quietly help out Aggies and neighbors in need.

He was known as Papa to his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and students and delighted in being with the children on his farm. He spoke with inspired wisdom and was "quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger." He left a legacy of faith in Jesus Christ to many generations.

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