Michael L. Wilburn

Michael L. Wilburn

Michael Leon Wilburn, 73, died on Sept. 29, 2020 from heart complications. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Bernice Wilburn. He was born July 9, 1947 in San Bernardino.

Michael was the oldest and only son of Pastor Gene and Lorraine Wilburn. He grew up in Galt with his three younger sisters and Nolan Spence, who was like a brother to him. He graduated from Galt High School in 1965, was an athlete and loved playing football. He played the guitar and was a member of The Shadracks music group. After high school, he attended Western Baptist College in San Rafael.

He married his first wife, Johanna Steele in 1966; they had three children, Gary, Richelle and Craig. He served in the army in Vietnam in 1968.

His interest in the Boeing CH-47 Chinook began while in boot camp; he signed up and attended classes in Virginia. He obtained his associate’s degree from San Joaquin Delta College and a Bachelor of Science degree from Pacific Christian College. He served in the California Army National Guard in Stockton.

Michael married Bernice Johnson in April 1989. He was a father to her three daughters, Theresa, Shawna, Julia, and niece Elizabeth. They followed their dream and moved to Alaska in 1990. He served in the Alaska Army National Guard until he retired in 2000. He and his wife moved to Nevada to be closer to family in California after he retired.

Michael is survived by his wife Bernice; sons Gary (Janelle) Wilburn and Craig (Erika) Wilburn; daughters Richelle (Sean) Lane, Teresa Davis, Shawna (James) Grindstaff, Julia Kaye, Elizabeth (Adam) Gwathney; parents Pastor Gene and Lorraine Wilburn; sisters Linda Shipman, Becky (Ed) Howell, Lori (Larry) Martin, and many wonderful grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Michael loved music and was often whistling a tune or playing his harmonica. He especially liked the blues and enjoyed playing harmonica in many venues. He enjoyed traveling in his motor home and had many adventures. He loved fishing with his friend RJ and family gatherings.

Michael, with his infectious smile, was quiet with an inner strength that touched many. His words carried weight and his reach was long. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

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