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Rodney J. Wilkins, 78, of West Seneca, retired systems analyst for Worthington Pump Corp. and a World War II pilot who flew 43 missions in combat, died Friday (Jan. 28, 2000) in Mercy Hospital after a short illness.

The Westfield native graduated from Burgard Vocational High School in 1939. He entered service as an aviation cadet in 1943 and flew C-46 cargo planes in the China-Burma-India Theater. He was a pilot in the 14th and 10th Air Forces and 322nd Troop Carrier Squadron. He returned to the Buffalo area in 1946 but remained in the Air Force Reserves, retiring as a major after 20 years of service.

He worked for Worthington for 43 years until his retirement in 1983. He was a member of East Aurora Lodge 370 of the Loyal Order of Moose for 51 years and held its highest honor, the Pilgrim Degree of Merit.

Wilkins was a member of American Legion Post 362 in East Aurora and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8113 in West Seneca. He belonged to the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie 2692, Depew. His wife, the former Marion S. Lathrop, died in 1976.

Anna Land of Blasdell, a friend for many years, survives.

Services will be held at a later date.


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