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RIP Flagpole Contributor Eugene Wilkes


Donald E. Wilkes Jr. died suddenly yesterday of an apparent heart attack while on vacation with his family. He was retired from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he taught for 40 years. “Eugene,” as he was called by friends, contributed over 115 articles to Flagpole. He was an ardent defender of civil liberties and spent his life defending the downtrodden.

“I first got to know Eugene many years ago when he started contributing to the Athens Observer,” said Pete McCommons, Flagpole co-publisher. “I have been privileged to act as his newspaper editor, and I saw firsthand the intensity of his determination to get every small detail right. He would comb his articles and report every typo that turned up, even after publication. His work ethic was such that I could understand what a strong influence he must have been on his students, and his commitment to using the law to right wrongs spoke to the highest ideals of the legal profession.

“He was a kind and gentle man, and I will miss our exchanges. He had just sent in his review of a recent book about the assassination of Robert Kennedy, which will be published soon on flagpole.com.”