Josetta Edwards Obituary, Death – Josetta Edwards Wilkins, who had served as a representative for Arkansas in the past, passed away on August 25, 2023 at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. She was 92 years old. Her important career spanned jobs as a school teacher, school counselor, college professor, and Arkansas state representative.
Between the years 1991 and 1998, she was a member of the Arkansas State Legislature. During that time, she was a strong advocate for legislation such as the Arkansas Breast Cancer Act of 1997. This act helped secure over $71 million for breast cancer education, mammography, diagnosis, treatment, and research.
According to a news release, the BreastCare Program has successfully recruited more than 128,000 women for the purpose of providing breast and cervical cancer screening as well as diagnostic services since the program’s beginning. Because of Wilkins’ dedication to raising awareness about breast cancer, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Arkansas Cancer Research Center established the Josetta E. Wilkins Chair in 2003.
Her effect was so significant that the Jefferson County Health Unit was later honored by having its name changed to the Dr. Josetta E. Wilkins Health Unit in her honor. Additionally, Wilkins played a significant role in the formation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, the Character Bill, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Stadium Bill. Between the years 1997 and 1998, she presided over the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus as its chair.
We have been blessed with the opportunity to know such an iconic figure in our community,” said Jefferson County Judge Gerald Robinson. “We will never forget him.” “Dr. Josetta Wilkins has made significant contributions to the state of Arkansas…Pine Bluff and Jefferson County that will forever be remembered and forged in the minds of our citizens young and old that will make us so proud of Dr. Josetta Wilkins’ legacy.”
Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, a Surgical Oncologist, had this to say about Dr. Josetta Wilkins: “Dr. Josetta Wilkins was an incredible woman and a giant of a leader.” She revolutionized the way healthcare was provided to women in Arkansas and helped save countless lives in the process. I shall miss her, and so will Arkansas; but, her presence will be felt and remembered by Arkansans for many decades to come.
A memorial balloon release will be performed in memory of Dr. Josetta E. Wilkins on September 14, 2023 at six o’clock in the evening at the Dr. Josetta E. Wilkins Health Unit in Pine Bluff, which can be found at 3801 South Hickory Street. The funeral services are set to take place on September 16 at 12 p.m. at the New St. Hurricane Missionary Baptist Church in Pine Bluff.
A public visitation will be held on September 15 at 5 p.m. at the Amos Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Pine Bluff. Attendees are strongly urged to show their support for breast cancer awareness by donning pink attire. Graceland Cemetery in Pine Bluff, Arkansas is going to be the location of the interment.