John V. Wilkie

John V Wilkie - 1936-08-06

John V. Wilkie, born on June 29, 1898, had a remarkable and tumultuous life in Camden. His father, William Wilkie, a Scottish merchant seaman, instilled in him a strong work ethic and a sense of adventure.

In March of 1928, John V. Wilkie embarked on a new chapter as he joined the ranks of the Camden Police Department. Alongside fellow officers such as Francis Guetherman, August Riehm, and William Schriver, he dedicated himself to serving and protecting the community. Known throughout the city as Camden’s “notebook cop,” Wilkie diligently recorded details of his interactions and investigations, earning the respect and admiration of both colleagues and citizens.

During this period, Wilkie resided at 1148 Haddon Avenue, immersing himself in the vibrant fabric of Camden’s neighborhoods. He witnessed the city’s transformations, navigated its challenges, and forged connections with its residents.

By 1947, Wilkie’s dedication and commitment had earned him a promotion to the rank of Sergeant. He and his wife, Theresa, had established their home at 1144 Princess Avenue, where they created a haven of love and support for their family.

Tragedy struck the Wilkie family in 1953, casting a dark shadow over their lives. Their son John met a tragic end in a devastating crash while stationed in Japan. The loss left an indelible void in their hearts, testing their strength and resilience.

The strains of grief and hardship took a toll on John V. Wilkie’s marriage, resulting in a divorce from Theresa. The pain and emotional turmoil became unbearable, leading Wilkie to take a leave of absence from his beloved police force in December 1953.

The year ended on a tragic note when John V. Wilkie’s younger son, James, succumbed to despair and took his own life. The devastating event shattered the family’s world, leaving them grappling with unimaginable sorrow. Driven by his unwavering faith, Wilkie initially made a false claim about the circumstances of his son’s death, driven by a deep desire to ensure James received a full Catholic burial. However, the truth eventually came to light through meticulous forensic analysis, bringing an end to the painful chapter of misunderstandings.

Despite enduring immense personal hardships, John V. Wilkie’s commitment to his community remained steadfast. He continued his service, albeit with a heavy heart. In later years, he moved to 1063 Haddon Avenue in Camden, where he resided until at least 1970. As time passed, he sought solace and a fresh start in Blackwood, New Jersey.

John V. Wilkie’s life journey came to a close in May of 1976, leaving behind a legacy of dedication, resilience, and a spirit that endured through times of profound sorrow. His story serves as a reminder of the complex and interconnected nature of our lives, where triumphs and tragedies shape our paths and leave indelible marks on our souls.


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