Presidents & First Ladies home

2004-2005

Robert and Estella Wilkes

Robert and Estella Wilkes
Robert M. Wilkes

Robert M. Wilkes was born in Afton, Wyoming and grew on a farm in Star Valley. After serving in the Central States Mission, he received his bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in history and physical education and his master's of education degree in Educational Administration. He also studied at the University of Wyoming and University of Nevada at Reno.

Brother Wilkes began his employment at Ricks College in 1970 as a faculty member in the Department of Religion. He served five years as a chairman of the Department of Recreation Education, five years as chairman of the Division of Religious and Family Living, and four years as chairman of the Division of Education. Prior to retiring from BYU-Idaho in January 2004, Brother Wilkes served as the vice president of Student Life and was awarded the BYU-Idaho Man of Excellence Award in 2004.

Brother Wilkes has been a lecturer, seminary teacher, and an instructor in the Institutes of Religion. He has served as a bishop twice, a counselor in a stake presidency, a high counselor, stake president, Regional Representative, and as president of the Wisconsin Milwaukee Mission from 1995 to 1998.

In November of 2004 he was asked to return and serve as Interim President of BYU-Idaho. His love for the students and his wealth of experience and service served the university well. He was release from this position in August 2005. He and Sister Wilkes will serve as the temple president and matron for the Billings Montana Temple.
Estella Wilkes

Like her mother and grandmother before her, Estella Woodruff was born and raised in the small rural community of Holiday, Utah, located in the southeast part of the Salt Lake Valley. Her roots are there, and it is obvious from her subtle expressions that there is still joy for her in returning “home.” She is the middle child and only daughter in a family of five. Because of these circumstances, she developed a competitive spirit that will not allow her to accept defeat in any guise.

Sister Wilkes is the mother of six children, three girls and three boys. Her strength and goodness have been acquired by them--as well as her 20 grandchildren. This is fitting, since the entire investment of her life has been and continues to be for others.

President Wilkes paid his wife a tribute with the following story:

"Our family once visited a copper mine. They were blasting the hillside to loosen the dirt for hauling. Because we were inside a little theater looking out of a window, we could hardly hear the sound of the blast, but could instantly observe the huge chunk of earth affected by it. From our point of observation, the sound was small but the impact was great. So it is with Estella. She does not make much noise; but she exerts a powerful impact on family, friends, and associates."

Brother and Sister Wilkes are the parents of six children, three girls and three boys. At the present time, they have 20 grandchildren.
McKay Gallery Home SPACE McKay Library Home SPACE Presidents & First Ladies Homepage SPACE Photos