Wilkins, Jr. Calvin Howard
Calvin Howard Wilkins Jr. passed away peacefully on Saturday, the 24th of December 2016 in his Palm Beach home. Howard served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands under President George H. W. Bush, and was an accomplished businessman, restaurateur, political fundraiser, husband, father, and grandfather.
Howard Wilkins was born on February 19, 1938, to Calvin Howard Wilkins Sr. and Frances Jane Austin in Wichita, Kansas. He graduated from Yale University in 1960 where he rowed all four years; Yale Crew was an experience he held close to his heart.
At an early age, Howard began his career as an entrepreneur and was one of the rst franchisees of Pizza Hut. He went on to build and acquire over 500 restaurants and other businesses across the country, including Panera Bread, Rent-a-Center, and Amarillo Mesquite Grill, Inc. Howard was also Vice Chairman of Pizza Hut, Inc and the rst President of the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association.
A committed Republican his entire life, he served as the Kansas nance chairman for the President Gerald Ford Committee in 1975. He worked as the Finance Chairman for Robert Dole in his presidential bid in 1988, and was appointed the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands by George Bush in 1989. His tenure as ambassador included not only the rst visit to the country by a sitting president, but also a return visit from President Bush.
Howard was known for his kindness, generosity, charm, and unfailing positive spirit. He was fond of the slogan, “Lead, Follow, or get the heck out of the way.” He had a passion for reading, friends, and his family. Howard was married to Mary Margaret Phipps from 1965 to 1981. In 2003 he married Rhonda Louise Tanner, and together they were frequent travelers visiting friends and family around the world.
Howard is lovingly remembered by his wife Rhonda; brother Robert Wilkins; daughter Wendy; sons Trey, Jason, Garth and Tyler, and his nine grandchildren. His younger sister Jane Gi ord passed away in 2008. Howard›s nal request was to be remembered not with a funeral, but with a celebration, expected to be held in February 4th in Wichita, KS followed by another event in Washington DC on February 6, 2017. Details of the celebration will be available soon.
In lieu of owers, memorial donations may be made to the Wilkins Family Foundation, Inc, 302 North Rock Road, Suite 200, Wichita, KS 67206.
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