Lawrence Douglas Wilkerson died on September 21, 2022 at his Philadelphia home, comfortable in death and profoundly grateful for all of the blessings in his life: his family, his friends, his church, and the opportunity to practice medicine for many years. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Doug was the only child of Lawrence and Rebecca Wilkerson.
He earned his undergraduate degree from Davidson College and his medical degree from Emory University. He completed his Pediatrics Residency at Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, and a Neurology Residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He was a Special Fellow at the National Institute of Neurologic Disease and Stroke (Child Neurology), a Clinical Fellow at Children’s Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and completed a Fellowship in Neuroimmunology at the University of Pennsylvania. He had a private practice in child neurology in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, from 1981 to 2020. He held hospital affiliations at Bryn Mawr and Lankenau Hospitals and was Head of Pediatrics at Bryn Mawr Hospital from 1992 to 1998.
Challenged with limited eyesight from birth, Doug immersed himself in books and radio broadcasts as a child and, later in life, the study of medicine, and he learned to leverage this disability into his greatest strength: his extraordinary ability to listen, to give space for others to share their stories and express what truly mattered to them. As such, family, friends, patients, and caregivers developed a profound bond with him, which they would often share with family in heartfelt detail.
Doug was a man of immense faith who believed in service and the tenet that in giving, we receive. His faith and call to serve sustained him as a physician for five decades, a career that he cherished and ended only when he could no longer physically continue. As such, Doug made himself available to everyone and anyone, all the time, without exception or prejudice. From the late-night call from one of his children with a pressing parenting question to the aide caring for him in his final weeks of life who needed medical guidance, he always availed himself to others.
Diagnosed with end-stage cancer just a few weeks after his wife’s death, Doug remained resolute to live his life fully, with warmth and generosity, caring friendship, and tremendous love for his family. And until the end, he continued to delight friends and family with gourmet dishes of chocolate soufflé, cioppino, fruit galette, and farmer’s market scallops; discussed religion, politics, and a wide range of subjects with depth; read serious books and articles; and mentored and supported his children and grandchildren. When it came time for him to be cared for, he did so with utmost grace and considerable humor.
Doug was predeceased by his parents and his wife of thirty-four years, Ann. He is survived by his two sons, Jonathan and David Wilkerson; his two step-children, Sarah Davies Kim and Daniel Davies; and his eight grandchildren, Billy, Sonya, Tobias, Annaliese, Eleanor, Cyrus, Parker, and Piper.