Born February 22, 1930 to Huntsville natives, Davis Burwell Wilbanks and Lillie Mae Wilbanks. Sonny was a devoted son, loving husband and father and a dedicated civil servant. He graduated from Huntsville High School in 1948 and studied Electrical Engineering at both Auburn University and Florence State (UNA). He was a lifetime resident of Madison County, a former NASA engineer, an active Civitan, and a 20 year, multi-term Mayor of the city of Madison Alabama. He was a true patriot and served his country in the US Navy during the Korean War. He was a longtime, active member of Madison Church of Christ and also attended Lexington Church of Christ regularly for many years with his precious wife and love of his life, Jane Bradley Wilbanks. He was devoted to his 2 wonderful children, Jane Ellen Kennedy (Alan) and Brian Wilbanks (Emily) and their families and he enjoyed all the blessings that came with being their father. Mayor Wilbanks accomplished any number of impactful achievements for the City of Madison Alabama.
He served on the TARCOG Board, was a Representative of the Alabama League of Municipalities, a board member for the North Alabama Gas District, North Alabama’s Mayor Association, Heart Association of Madison County, as well as other appointments during his time in office. He was instrumental in the formation of Bob Jones High School, building of the Roundhouse, securing land for Palmer Park for generations to come, having I565 routed through Madison with proper exits to help bring commerce to our small city. Being a volunteer fireman himself in his early years in Madison, he recognized the need for full time firefighters and departments and while in office was instrumental in putting these departments in place. In his spare time, he enjoyed collecting and tinkering with anything that had moving parts! If you knew him, you knew he was a brilliant man with many interests and abilities. He loved to blacksmith, hunt, fish, create his own fly fishing lures, work on cars and John Deere mowers. He was never idle and spent many hours researching and learning as well as picking and prodding with a happy heart at those he loved!
Yes, he wore many hats in his 92 years, but his greatest joy and favorite title was that of “Poppie” to his 3 grandchildren, BJ Wilbanks (Liz Cartwright), Drew Kennedy and Gracie Machado (Emilio). He will be lovingly remembered for different things by different people, but by his family, he will be remembered, always…as their patriarch, their rock, their dad and their “Poppie.”
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
“The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him” Proverbs 20:7