dan wilkenSource: The Oak Ridger | August 14, 2015

Dan Wilken, of Oak Ridge TN. died at home on August 14, 2015. He faced cancer with dignity and determination, and through it all he managed to maintain a sense of humor and a positive attitude.

He was born in Kankakee, IL on June 30, 1947 to the late Pauline and Harold Wilken. He was a graduate of Bishop McNamara High School and Northern Illinois University, where he earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics and Marketing, and a Master’s of Business Administration. He served in the National Guard for six years.

In 1970 he married his high school prom date Karen (Neville) and they recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.

He is survived by his wife Karen, and daughter Lisa K. (Jeff) Haas of Knoxville TN. and daughter-in-law Melanie Claborn of Oak Ridge, TN. He was the loving grandfather of Meredith Wilken and Delaney Wilken of Franklin, TN.; Sydney Haas of Knoxville, TN.; and Drew Claborn of Oak Ridge, TN. Other survivors include his sister Donna Buehler of DePere, WI and Carol Dolt (Bob) of Lee’s Summit, MO, sister-in-law Pat (Randy) Chaplinski of Bourbonnais, IL and brother-in-law John (Michelle) Neville of N. Chelmsford, MA and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death in 2007 by his son Jeffrey Joseph Wilken.

Dan retired in 2010 from DOE as the assistant manager for administration, after serving for 40 years as a federal employee. In 1972 he joined the Atomic Energy Commission, a DOE predecessor agency, as a labor relations officer and contract specialist at the Idaho Operations Office. He joined the ORO in 1976 as a labor relations officer for the Clinch River Breeder Reactor. From there he moved to the Chicago Operations Office, where he served as Chief of Federal Personnel from 1977 to 1982.

He then returned to ORO in 1983 to become the Director of the Personnel Division, a position he held until his promotion in 1989. Dan was a member of DOE’s Senior Executive Service, a corps of executives selected for their leadership qualifications. In 1988 he received the DOE Meritorious Service Award, the Department’s second highest award in recognition of individual achievement. In 1995 he received the Meritorious Rank Award, the highest award for senior executives in the federal government from then Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary.

His love of children was evident in his volunteer activities as a youth hockey and basketball coach. For 25 years he served as a volunteer with Community Mediation Services, as a mediator between first time juvenile offenders of non-violent crimes and their victims. Countless others have benefitted from his 40 years as a blood donor. He served on the board of the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge. Watching the Fighting Irish was his favorite past time; his favorite motto was “Play Like a Champion Today.”

The family wishes to thank the staff of Thompson Oncology Group and Drs. John Foust and Joseph Meyer for their compassionate care.

The family will receive friends on Friday, August 21, 2015 from 5 – 7 pm at Weatherford Mortuary. The funeral mass will be held on Saturday at 11 am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Father J. B. Shelton officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Mary’s Youth Ministry, 323 Vermont Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN 37830 or to a charity of one’s choice.

An on-line guest book can be signed at www.weatherfordmortuary.com.