Paul Wilkens

Paul William Wilkens, 60, of Florence, Ala., passed away on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017 at M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston, Texas. 

A Celebration of Paul’s Life will be held Dec. 19 at 2 Good Shepard Lutheran Church at 2001 Cloyd Blvd., Florence, AL 35630.

Paul was born in Buena Vista County, Storm Lake to Walter and Lucille Wilkens. Paul was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Evangelical Reformed Church United Church in rural Newell.

Paul received his PhD from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., majoring in agronomy and crop science.  He then did postdoctoral work with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Services at Michigan State University.  His master’s degree and bachelor of science degree were both from Iowa State University.

Dr. Wilkens was a scientist programmer with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in Muscle Shoals, Ala. from 1993 until 2017. During Dr. Wilkens tenure at IFDC, he was co-developer of the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DDSAT) software, the principle developer of the Information and Decision Support Software, linking crop models with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Dr. Wilkens traveled to more than 47 different countries organizing and assisting with computer simulation training programs. Dr. Wilkens touched many lives through his valuable contribution to science and technology; he leaves behind a legacy of his work with DDAST. A posting on the DDSAT website by Joyce Franzmeier-Vitzthum stated, “It’s hard to imagine a boy from a small town in Iowa had such an international impact.”  Dr. Wilkens’ smiles, kindness and humbling personality will be truly missed.  

Paul’s life will always be honored and cherished by his family which include his fiancée Pam Bishop of Florence, Ala.; daughter Emily (Kyle) Shipp of Pensacola, Fla.; mother, Lucille Wilkens of  Albert City; sisters: Sharon (Mike) Leimer of Blue Springs, Mo.; Carol (Dan) Blevins of Raytown, Mo.; nephews: David Leimer, Kansas City, Mo.; Chris (Kim) Blevins of Kansas City, Mo.; Stephen Leimer of Kansas City, Mo.; Derek Blevins of Raytown, Mo.; niece Katie (Jeron) Tucker of Overland, Mo.; uncle Gilbert (Sally) Wilkens of Storm Lake; aunt Wilma (Kenneth) Johnson of Columbus, Ohio; and other extended family and many friends.

Paul was preceded in death by his father, Walter Wilkens.

The family is asking that a donation be made to M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital, Houston, Texas in Paul William Wilkens memory at