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Joe Wilkes - December 19, 2011

Joe Leslie Wilkes (Burrito Joe) of Haxtun, former Big Springs, Neb. resident, died Dec. 19, 2011 at Sterling Regional Medical Center. Joe was born Dec. 23, 1951 in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of Leon Wilkes and Doris Aeby.

He graduated from Arvada High School where he had won the Forty Horseman Award for best high school athlete in football in 1969-1970. Joe also won All-State distinction for his contribution to the Arvada Redskins football team.

Joe was a retired restaurateur philanthropist. He was known for creating magical Christmases for less fortunate families. In years past, Joe would adopt a family, usually single mothers experiencing financial difficulties. He enjoyed anonymously leaving Christmas gifts and food on the porches of his adopted families.

He was preceded in death by his mother; a sister, Earlene; a brother, Donny; and his grandparents.

He is survived by his children, son Joe Wilkes II of Henderson and daughter Angela Macdonald of Eastham, Mass.; two grandsons, Cameron and Kyle Wilkes; father, Leon Wilkes of Phoenix, Ariz.; brothers, Victor Jech of Fort Worth, Texas and James Kruger of Las Vegas, Nev.; and his best friend and significant other, Ruth Ann Collier, whose love for Joe was unconditional.

Joe was loved by a great many people and will be missed by all who knew him.

A memorial service was held Dec. 29 at Gerk Funeral Home in Haxtun.