Angela Marie Marshall Wilkerson, 47, of Hillsville, Virginia, passed away unexpectedly and peacefully at her home on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
Born August 19, 1973 in Roanoke, Virginia, Angie was a daughter of Frances "Frankie" Yearout Marshall and the late John Franklin "Frank" Marshall.
Angie was a member of the Eureka Baptist Church in Keysville, Virginia. Her faith and spirituality were at the core of her existence. Her church family, prayer partners, and Bible study groups meant the world to her.
Angie was a 1992 graduate of Alleghany High School in Covington, Virginia. She graduated from Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in 1995 with an Associate of Science Degree in General Studies, and graduated from James Madison University in 1997 with a Bachelor's of Social Work degree.
Diagnosed with Friedrich's Ataxia, a progressive form of Muscular Dystrophy, at the age of twelve Angie never let her disability or her wheelchair define who she was. While in college, Angie began advocating for the disabled. She soon discovered that this was her true calling, and spent the rest of her life as an advocate, raising awareness about disabilities.
Her energies, that focused on educating others and change for the disabled, along with her dedication and motivation took her to amazing heights.
In 1994 Angie won the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Personal Achievement Award for the state of Virginia. A year later, in 2005, Angie was named Ms. Wheelchair Virginia, and was named 2nd runner up at the National Ms. Wheelchair Pageant in Albany, NY.
As Ms. Wheelchair Virginia, Angie spent the year traveling the state of Virginia doing speaking engagements, educating people on the Americans with Disabilities Act and advocating for the disabled. Her motto was "Change Begins with Me." She continued her work with Ms. Wheelchair Virginia for the next five years.
In 2011, Angie started a website called "Wheels to Motivate" and continued her advocacy by doing inspirational and educational speaking. Her advocacy reached a wide range of audiences including children, youth, seniors, persons with disabilities, and goal-oriented women.
Most recently, just two weeks ago, Angie was nominated to serve as a member of the Advocacy Board for a company licensed in Virginia to provide residential and community services for individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities or long term mental illnesses.
Angie had an independent and outgoing spirit, and a smile that would light up the room. She didn't dwell on the challenges she faced, but put her energy into looking for solutions to them. She lived life to the fullest and embraced the opportunity for new experiences.
Despite being in a wheelchair, Angie was able to check off many of the items on her bucket list. Some of her favorite adventures were when she went horseback riding, went parasailing, rode in a hot air balloon, and did adaptive surfing at Virginia Beach. Her personal travels took her on three cruises, where she was able to visit many countries and fulfill her dream of a gondola ride in Venice, Italy.
Angie was an inspiration to so many people and she truly enriched the lives of her family and her many friends, who were all so very important to her. Angie's hope was that everyone who came into her life would be a better person for having known her. May her memory be a blessing to everyone who knew and loved her.
In addition to her mother, Angie is survived by her sister, Heather Marshall Lewis and husband, Mike; her beloved nephew, Michael Lewis III, and her adored nieces, Gwendolyn and Adaline Lewis, all of Bedford, VA; aunt, Nancy Marshall Alder; uncle, Sherwood (Carolyn) Marshall; Godmother, Barbara Thurman; numerous cousins; her former husband, James Wilkerson; and the many friends whose lives she touched.
In keeping with her wishes, Angie donated tissue samples to the Friedrich's Ataxia Research Alliance, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to the pursuit of scientific research leading to treatments and a cure for Friedrich's Ataxia.
Funeral services were held Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Eureka Baptist Church, 4757 George Washington Highway (Rt.#40), Keysville, Virginia, with Pastor Matthew Homan officiating. The family received friends for the viewing and visitation at the church an hour before the services.
For family and friends who were unable to attend the service in person, viewing is available at: www.facebook.com/EurekaBaptistChurch.
You do not have to have a Facebook account to view the service.
Interment will follow the service in Lakeview Cemetery in Victoria, Virginia. The family suggests that memorial tributes take the form of contributions to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, 1503 Santa Rosa Road, Room 120, Richmond, VA 23229 or the Friedrich's Ataxia Research Alliance, 533 W. Uwchlan Ave, Downingtown, PA 19335.
Arrangements are being handled by Clarke Funeral Home in Kenbridge, Virginia. To send condolences to the family online, please visit www.staplesfh.com.